Novels and collections of short stories including work by Elizabeth Harrower, Charlotte Wood and Amanda Lohrey dominate the long list $50,000 annual Stella Prize which celebrates great books, fiction and non-fiction, by female Australian authors. The only non-fiction book to make the list is Small Acts of Disappearance : Essays on Hunger by Fiona Wright. The full long list is:
Joan London (right) wanted to write about the 1950s, “the time of her childhood.” Emily Biffo wanted to write about a group of people attempting to separate themselves from mainstream culture. And Elen Van Neervan wanted to ask questions about Indigenous governance in Australia, and issues like land rights, identity and love. Each of the six finalists for the Stella Prize for Fiction, the winner of which will be announced next week, has explained the inspiration behind their shortlisted books in a series of revealing interviews with The Guardian.
Maxine Beneba Clark whose collection of short stories Foreign Soil is published by Hachette, said she was looking at “people trying to find a place for themselves in the world – about the search for a true place to call home, about the things we gain when we migrate, and the all-consuming heartache of our leaving, even as we find the very things we’re looking for”.
Journalist and author Christine Keneally is the only non-fiction author to make it onto the shortlist of Australia’s prestigious The Stella Prize for women writers announced today. Her The Invisible History of the Human Race looks at the role of DNA in shaping us, and our world.
The other five finalists are:
- Joan London’s The Golden Age (Random House)
- Emily Bitto’s The Strays (Affirm Press)
- Ellen van Neerven’s Heat and Light (UQP) ,
- Sofie Laguna’s The Eye of the Sheep (Allen & Unwin)
- Maxine Beneba Clarke’s Foreign Soil (Hachette)
In announcing the shortlist, Stella Prize executive director Aviva Tuffield said: “These six remarkable books explore themes of identity, family, displacement and belonging, with distinctly Australian resonances.’’ The winner will be announced on Tuesday 21 April. Previous recipients of the prize are Carrie Tiffany’s Mateship with Birds (2013) and Clare Wright for The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka (2014).
Below is the Stella Award’s synopsis of each of the finalists.