The shortlist for the inaugural Stella Prize has been announced. This major new literary award celebrates Australian women’s writing. It’s named after Stella Maria ‘Miles’ Franklin, and rewards one writer with a significant monetary prize. Congratulations to the shortlisted authors! The winner will be announced in Melbourne on 16 April, and will receive a cash prize of $50,000.
The shortlisted titles are:
Chair of the judging panel Kerryn Goldsworthy said the shortlist ‘features a wide variety of subject matter and genre … The list contains a collection of short stories and a verse novel; it includes fantasy, speculative fiction, two historical novels and one that has been described as Australian Gothic,’ said Goldsworthy. ‘There are stories set in the past, the present and the future; there are stories set in both urban and rural Australia as well as in other countries and imagined places.’
Goldsworthy also commented that the judges noticed a strong common theme in a number of the shortlisted books. ‘Sea Hearts, The Sunlit Zone and Mateship with Birds all explore in thoughtful, imaginative and unexpected ways the relationships and the boundaries between the human and the non-human, showing where those boundaries are weakest and might be broken down.’ It is a great thrill to read this last comment. The theme of blurred boundaries between the human and non-human world is of great interest to me, and one that I explore in my own books.
It’s wonderful to see it coming into fashion!
I always wonder how many books are read to create a shortlist and where those books are found. I know of two brilliant Australian authors who are not on the list and have to ask myself if they were even considered.
The first, AC Flory has created a rare sci-fi story in which no homo-sapiens appear so you have to identify with the alien species being written about in their very alien environment.
The Second, Patti Roberts has written a series of YA books on fallen angels called the Paradox Series as well as a series of short story novellas called Witchwood,
These authors are fresh and hugely talented.
Any Australian woman author can enter. The only proviso is that books published only as ebooks are not eligible. A print book must be available if the judges request it.