Griffith University history lecturer Professor Fiona Paisley has won the prestigious 2014 Magarey Medal for Biography forher book The Lone Protestor: AM Fernando in Australia and Europe (Aboriginal Studies Press, 2012).

The book follows the life of Aboriginal activist Anthony Martin Fernando, who lived in Europe during the first half of the 20th century, and ranges from his internment in World War I to his remarkable street activism in Rome, Bern and London.

Professor Paisley said winning the Magarey Medal was a great honour.

“I am most grateful for the award initiated through the generosity of Professor Susan Magarey, and for the kind words of the judges, especially given the quality of the books shortlisted,’’ she said.

“Thank you also to Aboriginal Studies Press. Writing a book about this extraordinary Aboriginal activist meant drawing together wide-ranging archives from several countries and at the same time working around the many gaps in the record.

“I learned a great deal in the process: about Australian and world history, about historical research, and about the process of writing.”

The Magarey Medal for biography is a biennial prize of at least $10,000 and is awarded to the female author who has published work judged to be the best autobiographical writing on and Australian subject in the preceding two years.

The awarding of the prize is administered and judged by a panel set up by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature and the Australian Historical Association.