It’s been another excellent year for female writers in Australia, with the Stella Prize announcing the six books shortlisted for its $50,000 prize, to be awarded on the 12th April.
The shortlist was chosen from an initial longlist featuring 12 books, selected from 70 entries. Judging panel chair Fiona Stager said this year’s list showcases the diverse range of talent on offer from Australian women writers today.
It’s the sixth year the $50,000 Stella Prize will be awarded, with previous winners including Carrie Tiffany for Mateship with Birds; Clare Wright for The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka; Emily Bitto for The Strays; and Charlotte Wood for The Natural Way of Things.
Heather Rose won the 2018 prize for The Museum of Modern Love.
Each of the 2018 shortlisted authors will receive $3000, thanks to the support of the Ivy H Thomas and Arthur A Thomas Trust managed by Equity Trustees. They’ll also receive a three week writing retreat supported by the Trawalla Foundation. Trawalla chair Carol Schwartz said they hope the residency will further nurture creativity for the female authors, noting that, “Virginia Woolf’s words about women needing “a room of one’s own” still ring true.”
The shortlisted books include:
The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar (pictured above) (Wild Dingo Press)
Written shortly after Azar’s release from Christmas Island, this moving magic-realist novel is narrated by a thirteen-year-old girl as she follows the fortunes of her family in the violent aftermath of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman (pictured above). (Hachette Australia)
This arresting and original novel addresses the legacy of Australia’s violent history by imagining a recolonised Australia in the near future.
The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser (Allen & Unwin)
Here individual stories are connected by one key character, the writer, to explore love, betrayal and loneliness. This is ultimately a novel that asks deep questions about responsibility: to ourselves, to each other, and to our national identity.
An Uncertain Grace by Krissy Kneen (Text Publishing)
This smart, frequently funny novel combines eroticism, science fiction and serious literary talent: With shifting points of view Kneen explores mismatched desires, mortality and the looming prospect of environmental disaster.
The Fish Girl by Mirandi Riwoe (Seizure)
Mirandi Riwoe is a powerful emerging voice in Australian fiction. Her novella plays with a classic short story by Somerset Maugham as well as Javanese mythology to tell the tale of Mina, a shy Indonesian village girl, who finds herself at the mercy of men who do not necessarily have her best interests at heart.
Tracker by Alexis Wright (Giramondo)
This is a remarkable biography of Tracker Tilmouth, charismatic Aboriginal leader, thinker, entrepreneur, visionary and provocateur. Wright follows an Aboriginal tradition of collective storytelling that she describes as a ‘practice for crossing landscapes and boundaries, giving many voices a part in the story’.