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Fiction dominates Stella Prize long list 2016 for great books written by female Australian author

StellaLonglist pix

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:

Alex Hammond’s The Unbroken Line reveals an intricate web of murky relationships

UnbrokenLineGood crime writers must frequently edge along an ethical tightrope. It balances things out a bit in a world where only one side is playing by the rules. But too much smudging of the line, and they risk undermining the good-guy bad-guy dynamic that in the end is so satisfying.

In The Unbroken Line, Alex Hammond’s hero, defence lawyer Will Harris, is heading home after a night out when he is attacked and beaten up, his girlfriend Eva deliberately slashed across the face. The menacing warning is “Back off.” Things don’t get better. His partner, barrister Chris Miller is arrested after the drug death of a young up-and-coming Aussie Rules Footballer. And he is still subject to an ethical tribunal investigation for his handling of a previous case, and the on-going representation of a known drug dealer, part of a brutal Serbian gang.

Women dominate shortlist for Australia’s Miles Franklin Literary Award

Women writers dominate the short list for the Miles Franklin, one of Australia’s most prestigious awards which was announced tonight.  Only one man, Craig Sherborne, who wrote Tree Palace, made it through. The short list for the $60,000 prize which celebrates “Australian life in all its glories” is:

  • Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett, Penguin.
  • The Eye of the Sheep by Sofie Laguna, Allen & Unwin (reviewed here).
  • The Golden Age by Joan London, Random House.
  • After Darkness by Christine Piper, Allen & Unwin.
  • Tree Palace by Craig Sherborne Text Publishing.

The judges’ spokesman, Richard Neville,  said the shortlisted novels had “a rich cast of unforgettable characters, and themes ranging from childhood

A very long long list for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction


How many books is too many? I confess there’s more than a little self interest involved in the question.  The long list for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction has just been announced and it’s a whopping 20 books long, albeit from 165 original applicants. The prize, which was previously known as the Orange, is for a full-length novel written in english by a woman of any nationality and published in the United Kingdom.

Of course a plus for having long lists longer than the customary 10 or 12 titles is that  many more authors are able to get their moment in the literary sunshine. This particularly applies to debut authors of which the long list has five including Emma Healey’s Elizabeth is Missing, which won the Costa Prize, and Laline Paull’s dystopian The Bees. It also gives the judges the opportunity to broaden the range of work celebrated beyond what might be viewed as more “conventional” subject and style.

On the downside,  I know I am not alone in liking to read as many of the contenders for

Longlist for Australia’s Stella Prize celebrating women authors, is announced


Joan London’s poignant The Golden Age and The House of Grief, Helen Gardner’s harrowing reportage of a crime that shocked the world, are standouts on the longlist for Australia’s prestigious $50,000 Stella Prize, which celebrates women authors, and which was announced yesterday. The longlist for the Prize, which was first awarded in 2013, also includes three debut writers.

Full long list is:

Is Joshua Ferris’s book the Catch-22 of Dentistry?

I am not sure whether I would have read To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by 9780316033978_custom-a2699ab7f8bf5dea9ab24e03c0410371a7497760-s2-c85Joshua Ferris if it hadn’t made it to the long list of this year’s Man Booker prize. That is probably the greatest benefit of paying attention to literary line-ups of all hue – they lead you off in new directions. My failure to have previously zeroed in on this book or Ferris’s earlier novels, The Unnamed and Then We Came To An End, is a little strange seeing as both were very highly praised and Ferris was on the recent Top 40 Authors Under 40. Another list. Stephen King clearly acknowledges on the back cover how much he loved To Rise Again at a Decent Hour: “One hesitates to call it the Catch-22 of dentistry but it’s sort of in that ballpark”. However for the first third of the book it was like being stuck in a loop of endless Seinfeld re-runs. Sort of fun, but much ado about nothing.

In brief, Paul O’Rourke is a highly successful and wealthy New York dentist, rabid
devotee of the Red Sox (the baseball team not footwear), who has developed a bit of a habit of falling madly, passionately, many would say obsessively, in love with the families of his Jewish girlfriends. Then his website gets hi-jacked, or to be more accurate, someone creates a website but hijack’s O’Rourke’s life to star on it. Soon O’Rourke has a Facebook and Twitter account plus a new email address. Only he doesn’t. And his unwanted alter ego is spouting some pretty incendiary stuff

E-book prices to fall

E-book prices are likely to fall after the US federal court approved a settlement between the US Department of Justice and three of the world’s biggest publishers charged with price collusion.

But inevitably many see the settlement as a double-edged sword fearing that it will endanger smaller booksellers.


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