Gabriella Kelly-Davies came to Hawkeye’s attention when she long-listed in the Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Prize in 2019. After actioning feedback provided by judges, and with the help of an editor, she entered the Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Prize again in 2020 and this time short-listed, going on to place third. Those competition credits in addition to the profound impact her biography subject has had on many people, resulted in Gabriella being offered a traditional publishing contract in 2021.
Biographer Gabriella Kelly-Davies has been writing stories ever since she mastered the alphabet—now that passion has seen her win three writing prizes. Gabriella has studied life writing at Oxford University, Sydney University and the Australian National University and she is a doctoral student in biography. She is the founder of Share your life story and has written over thirty self-published memoirs, life stories and family histories for her clients. Gabriella is President of Life Stories Australia Association and believes the art of biographical storytelling is a particular writing genre—it’s not fiction, but it requires the weaving of someone’s life story into a form that compels readers to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next.
‘I’m passionate about storytelling and helping people share their story,’ Gabriella said. ‘Life writing is a powerful way of communicating what you stand for, the lessons you’ve learned in life, the exciting journeys you’ve embarked upon, and the knowledge you’ve gained through life’s ups and downs. From an early age, my dad took me to the local library every week to borrow biographies of musicians, writers, artists and political leaders. I love getting to know fascinating and inspiring people through their life stories—what it’s like to be them living their life; their motivations, experiences, relationships, passions and struggles. It’s a great privilege to read someone’s biography and an even greater privilege to write them.’
Breaking Through the Pain Barrier is available from all good bookstores, libraries, or directly from Hawkeye Books.
Author Q & A:
Writing and reading biographies and fiction and going to early music, jazz, and writers’ festivals.
I have dozens of favourites, especially biographies of the Bloomsbury Group members, musicians, writers and artists. At the moment I’m enthralled by Hermione Lee’s biographies of Virginia Woolf, Edith Wharton, and Tom Stoppard as well as her books on the art and craft of life writing.
What drives you to write?
I live to write and have lived and breathed storytelling all my life, both as a career and a hobby. Everyone has a story to tell and I’m happiest sitting at my computer crafting these stories.
Would you like readers to contact you?
Yes, absolutely! I love talking about biographies and sharing tips on life story writing. The best way to contact me is through the Hawkeye contact page. And please follow Hawkeye Books Facebook, or Hawkeye Publishing Instagram to keep informed about my appearances.
Hawkeye began offering traditional publishing contracts in March 2020. We thank you for your support of our talented writers and dedicated publishing staff and volunteers.
The team that Gabriella Kelly-Davies joins… other recommended reads by Hawkeye authors include:
- Welcome to Blackwood – as winner of Queensland Writers Centre Adaptable Competition, author Khaiah Thomson pitched to 7 film producers from all over Australia. Fingers crossed!
- Where There is a Will – gripping Australian surfing fiction with a twist.
- Lament – short-listed in the Hawkeye Manuscript Development Prize 2019.
- Winning Short Story Competitions – a writing guide – an essential tool for serious writers.
- Hunt for the Virgin Rainbow – a pulp fiction mashup that thrusts you into the Australian outback, and beyond.
- Just Nat – biography of the inimitable Natalie Lowndes.
- Freedom & Hope – the immigrant woman, a divided self. An absorbing collection of fictional vignettes that explore how lives intersect.