Dropbear by Evelyn Araluen wins the 2022 Stella Prize
28 April 2022
Melissa Lucashenko, chair of the 2022 Stella Prize judges, says Dropbear “announces the arrival of a stunning new talent to Australian literature.”
“When you read Evelyn Araluen’s Dropbear you’ll be taken on a wild ride. Like the namesake of its title, this collection is simultaneously comical and dangerous. If you live here and don’t acquire the necessary local knowledge, the drop bear might definitely getcha! But for those initiated in its mysteries, the drop bear is a playful beast, a prank, a riddle, a challenge and a game. Dropbear is remarkably assured for a debut poetry collection, and I think we can safely say it announces the arrival of a stunning new talent to Australian literature. Congratulations, Evelyn.”
At twenty-nine, Araluen is the youngest recipient of the literary prize that celebrates the writing of Australian women, and says she may never have become a poet had she not studied her great-grandfather’s language:
Araluen, a descendant of the Bundjalung Nation born in Dharug Country and now based in Naarm/Melbourne, began writing poetry while she was studying her great-grandfather’s language at TAFE, becoming attuned to poetic techniques like fragmentation and different sentence structures. “I honestly don’t think I would have become a poet if I hadn’t started learning that language,” she told ABC Arts in 2021.