The 2022 Stella Prize shortlist was announced, yesterday. But, as I had just posted my review of Gabrielle Carey’s Only happiness here, I decided to hold my announcement post over for a day. Those of you keenly interested will have seen it, but at least I will have it for my records.
Just to remind you, the judges are author Melissa Lucashenko, in the chair, with her co-judges being writer, poet, essayist Declan Fry; author-across-all-forms Cate Kennedy; memoirist and activist Sisonke Msimang; and essayist and screenwriter Oliver Reeson.
And remember, this year poetry was added as a form eligible for the prize – and, it seems to have been a popular decision because, well, look at the …
- Eunice Andrada, Take care (poetry)
- Evelyn Araluen, Dropbear (poetry) (TBR, Brona’s review)
- Anwen Crawford, No document (memoir) (Lisa’s review)
- Jennifer Down, Bodies of light (novel)
- Lee Lai, Stone fruit (graphic novel)
- Elfie Shiosaki, Homecoming (memoir) (Lisa’s review)
So, two books of poetry, two memoirs and two novels (one being a graphic novel.) Three of the four I thought might have made it to the longlist – Araluen, Crawford, and Down – have now made it through to the shortlist. The announcement email I received from Stella said the list spanned “fiction, nonfiction, social history, a book-length essay, a graphic novel, and – eligible for the first time in 2022 – poetry”. It also noted that “half of the shortlisted books written by debut authors.”
I will try to read at least the one I have on my TBR before the winner is announced, but I’d actually like to read all of these.
Melissa Lucashenko says that the shortlist:
is big on emerging voices writing in unconventional ways – from regions, positions, and literary forms that transcend the mainstream. These authors are writing back, insisting that ‘other’ lives – First Nations lives, poor women’s lives, queer lives, and Filipina lives – matter on the page just as they do in everyday affairs. Although the shortlisted authors vary widely in location, gender, and culture, they all share two things. First, all six shortlistees undertake the essential work of any artist: paying attention to what is happening around them, and interrogating that experience. Second, the authors have produced powerfully beautiful literature, sacrificing no art in their unflinching focus on justice, inclusion, and truth-telling. It has been a great pleasure as well as an honour, to shine a light on these six brilliant talents.”
There’s more on the shortlist on the Stella website.
The winner on 28 April.