The 2023 Stella Prize winner was announced tonight and, for the second year in a row, it’s a poetry collection …
Sarah Holland-Batt’ The jaguar
Darn it! I nearly bought it last weekend when I was at the National Library but with my move and having stuff everywhere, I put it back down again and thought, maybe later. I guess it’s now not “maybe” but “yes later”. However, I’m pleased to share that a couple of bloggers I know have already read and reviewed it – like Kim at Reading Matters and Jonathan at Me fail? I fly! Check their posts if you are interested.
The judges said that The jaguar “investigates the body as a site of both pleasure and frailty”. The panel chair, Alice Pung, expanded on this saying that
… This is a book that cuts through to the core of what it means to descend into frailty, old age, and death. It unflinchingly observes the complex emotions of caring for loved ones, contending with our own mortality and above all – continuing to live.
It’s a response, I understand, to the death of Holland-Batt’s father. Those who have followed my blog for a while will understand, then, why I really would like to read it. Stella CEO, Jaclyn Booton, describes it as “a gift of a book” that “examines questions of grief and memory and care”.
You can read more on the Stella website, including an excerpt from Sarah Holland-Batt’s acceptance. She commented that she was “thrilled to enter into the company of the extraordinary writers who have received the Stella” and also said:
“It’s both an indescribable joy and a deep honour to receive the Stella Prize for The Jaguar. I wrote this book during an intensely challenging period, as my father was dying, and just after. It was the friendship, generosity, and camaraderie of women that not only saw me through this difficult time, but that has been the sustaining armature of my writing life.
Just to remind you, the judges were author Alice Pung, in the chair, with her co-judges bibliophile and host of The Garrett podcast (among many other roles) Astrid Edwards; essayist and literary critic BeeJay Silcox; writer, editor, broadcaster, and Walkley award-winning journalist Jeff Sparrow; and First Nations poet, essayist and legal advisor Alison Whittaker.
I have read eight of the twelve previous winners: Carrie Tiffany’s Mateship with birds (2013, my review), Clare Wright’s The forgotten rebels of Eureka (2014, my review), Emily Bitto’s The strays (2015, my review), Charlotte Wood’s The natural way of things (2016, my review), Heather Rose’s The museum of modern love (2017, my review), Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s The erratics (2019, my review), Jess Hill’s See what you made me do (2020, my review), and Evelyn Araluen’s Dropbear (2022, my review).
7 thoughts on “Stella Prize 2023 Winner announced”
Well, you know what you need to do: go back and buy it! 😉
Thanks for the link to mine.
I do and I will Kim! I was so tempted … now I have an “excuse”!
What good news! Thanks for linking to my post. I’ll now go and read Kim’s
I have it on hold from the library.
I’ve just bought it …
I thought you had read Too Much Lip as well? I read that one. Or maybe that book won a different prize. All my people, even the two who are going to be 83 this year, are doing well, so I’m not sure how I feel about reading a book on mortality. I do volunteer for a hospice, though.
Yes, I did, Melanie, but you are right, it didn’t win the Stella. It won a few others though.
Hmm… why not a book on mortality? You’re too young for it to be confronting yet!
A book on