Inaugural Stella Prize Shortlist

Mateship With BirdsThe 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:

  • The Burial (Courtney Collins, A&U)
  • Questions of Travel (Michelle de Kretser, A&U)
  • The Sunlit Zone (Lisa Jacobson, Five Islands Press)
  • Like a House on Fire (Cate Kennedy, Scribe)
  • seaHearts_353-200x0Sea Hearts (Margo Lanagan, A&U)
  • Mateship with Birds (Carrie Tiffany, Picador).

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.’

The Sunlit ZoneGoldsworthy 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!

Lighthouse Literary Festival

The Lighthouse Literary Festival will be held in Victoria over the weekend of Friday 20th, Sat 21st, Sunday 22nd April, 2012 at the Aireys Inlet Pub. Writers workshops will be at the Lightkeepers Inn conference rooms. The festival will introduce a stellar line-up of award-winning authors, poets, playwrights, publishers, editors, essayists, broadcasters, cartoonists and actors to the community on the surf coast of Victoria. It will showcase authors who have published new books within the past twelve  months. The wonderful and inspiring Julian Burnside QC will give the keynote address.


Congratulations to guest speakers Favel Parrett and Charlotte Wood for their nomination for the prestigious 2012 Miles Franklin Literary Award! – Charlotte Wood for Animal People and Victorian novelist Favel Parrett for Past The Shallows.

Two legends of Australian publishing and literature, Hilary McPhee and Rodney Hall will address the issue of whether Australianness in the world of books is an affliction or a privilege.



The creator of The Age’s Naked Man comic strip will reveal all and panellists, including much loved authors Cate Kennedy, Carrie Tiffany, Charlotte Wood, Favel Parrett, Paddy O’Reilly and Chris Womersely will discuss a range of topics including what makes a great character, drawing inspiration from the wild and melancholy landscape of Australia, whether or not literature is ‘improving’, the role of the sin in modern consciousness, and the place of activism in contemporary Australia.

Friday 20 – Sunday 22 April 2012 @ Aireys Inlet Pub 45 Great Ocean Rd, Aireys Inlet VIC 3231 Email or call (03) 5289 7052 Full weekend program $110 (Concession for Seniors/Students $95.00) Saturday Day and Keynote Address Pass $85.00 (No Concession) Sunday Day Pass $65 (No Concession) Festival Workshops $45 – $65.00
Bookings:  Tickets are now available for the Lighthouse Literary Fest at Great Escape Books in Aireys Inlet. This is a ticketed, seated event and there are limited numbers.