Former Glenbrook resident Kate Hennessy won the Walkley-Pascall Award for Arts Criticism in July.
Ms Hennessy was awarded the honour for her review of The Drover’s Wife in the culture section of Guardian Australia.
The 40-year-old, who now lives in Earlwood, credits her secondary education at Blaxland High School for sparking her writing career.
“My high school English teacher Mr Taylor got the ball rolling. He was so passionate about the texts we studied,” she said.
Ms Hennessy said her mother can also take some of the credit. “I won the Walkley for a theatre review and I can thank my mother, Denise Hennessy, for that. She's been taking me to see great Sydney theatre since I was about 12-years-old. I haven't stopped since - and neither has she.”
Ms Hennessy did a double degree at Wollongong University - a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Creative Writing, and a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Political Science and History – before winning a scholarship to the University of California, Berkeley.