As a team-member of the Australian Women Writers’ Challenge, I’m particularly interested in the Stella Prize, which, as you probably know, is a prize limited to Australian women writers. The great thing about it, though, is what it isn’t limited to – and that is form and genre. The first winner in 2013 was a novel, Carrie Tiffany’s Mateship with birds (my review), and the second, last year, was a history, Clare Wright’s The forgotten rebels of Eureka (my review). What will it be this year?
Well, it could be a book of short stories or a memoir, or it could be true crime or, yes, a novel, or it could even be a young adult novel or a book about the human race. Here, if you are interested, is this year’s longest (the shortlist to be announced on March 12):
- Maxine Beneba Clarke’s Foreign Soil: a collection of short stories which has been receiving positive reviews.
- Emily Bitto’s The Strays: a debut novel set around the 1930s and published by small publisher, Affirm Press
- Ceridwen Dovey’s Only the Animals: a collection of short stories giving, I understand, a animal’s-eye-view of humans, at our best and worst.
Helen Garner’s This House of Grief: a sort-of true-crime-cum-courtroom story which I reviewed last year.
- Sonya Hartnett’s Golden Boys: novel by one of our well-established well-regarded writers
- Christine Kenneally’s The Invisible History of the Human Race: non-fiction about the development of the human race, looking at DNA and historical factors.
- Sofie Laguna’s The Eye of the Sheep: second novel from an author whose first novel was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award.
- Joan London’s The Golden Age: I loved London’s Gilgamesh, and also enjoyed her The good parents (which I’ve reviewed here) so why haven’t I yet read this one?
- Alice Pung’s Laurinda: debut novel, for young adults, by acclaimed memoirist Pung whose second memoir I’ve reviewed here).
- Inga Simpson’s Nest: second novel by an author proving to be popular with AWW Challenge reviewers. She’s on my radar.
- Ellen van Neerven’s Heat and Light: debut novel which won the 2013 David Unaipon Award, and it’s on my TBR.
- Biff Ward’s In My Mother’s Hands: memoir by the daughter of historian Russell Ward, which I’ll be reading in March, as it’s been scheduled for my reading group.
This year’s stellar (couldn’t resist that) judges are critic and writer Kerryn Goldsworthy (chair), journalist and broadcaster Caroline Baum, writer and lecturer Tony Birch, singer–songwriter Sarah Blasko, and author Melissa Lucashenko. You can read the judge’s full report on the Stella Prize website.