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The Stella Prize
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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History

The Stella Prize is named after Stella Maria 'Miles' Franklin, and was first awarded in 2013. It is a prize for women authors (cis, trans, and non-binary inclusive) of fiction or nonfiction, and was developed in response to the under-representation of women as literary award winners.

In 2021, the organisation announced that from 2022, the prize would also be open to single-author poetry collections in addition to fiction and non-fiction.

In December 2021, philanthropist Paula McLean made a $1 million donation to the Stella Prize's Forever Fund, which aims to secure the prize for perpetuity.

Note:

Also longlisted in 2015 was Christine Kenneally's The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures (which, as science writing, falls outside AustLit's scope).

Notes

  • 'The Stella Prize will be an annual literary prize for Australian women's writing. It will raise the profile of women's writing, and will reward one writer with a $50,000 prize. The shortlisted and winning books will be widely publicised and marketed in order to bring readers to the work of Australian women writers.'

    Organisers of the award expect to announce full details in 2012, with the first award being offered in 2013.

    Source: The Stella Prize website, http://thestellaprize.com.au/
    Sighted: 19/09/2011

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2022

winner y separately published work icon Dropbear Evelyn Araluen , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2021 20534089 2021 selected work poetry essay

'I told you this was a thirst so great it could carve rivers.

'This fierce debut from award-winning writer Evelyn Araluen confronts the tropes and iconography of an unreconciled nation with biting satire and lyrical fury. Dropbear interrogates the complexities of colonial and personal history with an alternately playful, tender and mournful intertextual voice, deftly navigating the responsibilities that gather from sovereign country, the spectres of memory and the debris of settler-coloniality. This innovative mix of poetry and essay offers an eloquent witness to the entangled present, an uncompromising provocation of history, and an embattled but redemptive hope for a decolonial future.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2021

winner y separately published work icon The Bass Rock Evie Wyld , Sydney : Vintage Australia , 2020 17537370 2020 single work novel historical fiction

'In 1720s Scotland, a priest and his son get lost in the forest, transporting a witch to the coast to stop her from being killed by the village.

'In the sad, slow years after the Second World War, Ruth finds herself the replacement wife to a recent widower and stepmother to his two young boys, installed in a huge house by the sea and haunted by those who have come before.

'Fifty years later, Viv is cataloguing the valuables left in her dead grandmother's seaside home, when she uncovers long-held secrets of the great house.

'Three women, hundreds of years apart, slip into each other's lives in a novel of darkness, violence and madness.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2020

winner y separately published work icon See What You Made Me Do Jess Hill , Melbourne : Black Inc. , 2019 18640451 2019 multi chapter work criticism

'Domestic abuse is a national emergency: one in four Australian women has experienced violence from a man she was intimate with. But too often we ask the wrong question: why didn’t she leave? We should be asking: why did he do it?

'Investigative journalist Jess Hill puts perpetrators – and the systems that enable them – in the spotlight. See What You Made Me Do is a deep dive into the abuse so many women and children experience – abuse that is often reinforced by the justice system they trust to protect them. Critically, it shows that we can drastically reduce domestic violence – not in generations to come, but today.

'Combining forensic research with riveting storytelling, See What You Made Me Do radically rethinks how to confront the national crisis of fear and abuse in our homes.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2019

winner y separately published work icon The Erratics Vicki Laveau-Harvie , Sydney : Finch , 2018 15542580 2018 single work autobiography

'The family secrets are only just beginning to unravel... 

'When her elderly mother is hospitalised after an accident, Vicki is summoned to her parents' isolated and run-down ranch home in Alberta, Canada, to care for her father. She has been estranged from her parents for many years (the reasons for which become quickly clear) and is horrified by what she discovers on her arrival.

'For years her mother has suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness but carefully hidden her delusions and unpredictable behaviour behind a carefully guarded mask, and has successfully isolated herself and her husband from all their friends. But once in hospital her mask begins to crack and her actions leave everyone baffled and confused ... and eventually scared for their lives.

'Meanwhile Vicki's father, who has been systematically starved and harruanged for years, and kept virtually a prisoner in his own home, begins to realise what has happened to him and embarks upon plans of his own to combat his wife.

'The ensuing power play between the two takes a dramatic turn and leaves Vicki stuck in the middle of a bizzare and ludicrously strange family dilemma. All this makes for an intensely gripping, yet black-humoured family drama which will leave you on the edge of your seat.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2018

winner y separately published work icon Tracker Tracker : Stories of Tracker Tilmouth Alexis Wright , Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2017 11570382 2017 single work biography

'The legendary Indigenous activist ‘Tracker’ Tilmouth died in Darwin in 2015. Taken from his family as a child and brought up on a mission on Croker Island, he returned home to transform the world of Aboriginal politics. He worked tirelessly for Aboriginal self-determination, creating opportunities for land use and economic development in his many roles, including Director of the Central Land Council. He was a visionary and a projector of ideas, renowned for his irreverent humour and his colourful anecdotes. The memoir was composed by Wright from interviews with Tracker before he died, as well as with his family, friends and colleagues, weaving his and their stories together into a book that is as much a tribute to the role played by storytelling in contemporary Aboriginal life as it is to the legacy of a remarkable man.'  (Publication summary)

Works About this Award

y separately published work icon The Garret, The Stella and March 2023 Astrid Edwards , Astrid Edwards (presenter), Melbourne : Bad Producer Productions , 2022 25081418 2022 single work podcast
Here’s Your Reading Guide to the Best New Writing by Australian Women and Non-binary Writers Kate Evans , Claire Nichols , Sarah L'Estrange , 2022 single work column
— Appears in: ABC News [Online] , April 2022;

'For the first time, poetry and a graphic novel make up the bulk of the unconventional and transgressive Stella Prize shortlist.'

Watch Out for Prize-Winning Dropbear 2022 single work column
— Appears in: Koori Mail , 14 May no. 776 2022; (p. 37)
'First Nations poet Evelyn Araluen has taken out the 10th annual Stella Prize with her debut collection of poetry and prose, Dropbear.'
First Nations Poet Evelyn Araluen Wins the 2022 Stella Prize with a Wild Ride’ Skewering Colonial Mythologies Camilla Nelson , 2022 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 28 April 2022;

'First Nations poet Evelyn Araluen has won the 10th annual Stella Prize with a debut poetry collection that confronts the cultural evasions of an unreconciled Australia with a tender fury.'  (Introduction)

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