Showing all posts tagged: Stella Prize

Entries for 2024 Stella Prize for Australian literature now open

26 August 2023

It seems like only last week the winner of the 2023 Stella Prize — Sarah Holland-Batt with her poetry collection The Jaquarwas announced, when in fact that happened four months ago.

The year is marching on.

Entries are now open for the 2024 prize, but only for about the next month and a half. There are a few cut-off dates for submissions, but Friday 13 October 2023 is the final day an entry can be made.


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The Jaguar by Sarah Holland-Batt wins 2023 Stella Prize

27 April 2023

The Jaguar by Sarah Holland-Batt, book cover

It’s been a good couple of years for poetry at the Stella Prize. And for the University of Queensland Press (UQP). This evening Queensland born Australian author Sarah Holland-Batt was named winner of the 2023 award, with her collection of poetry, The Jaguar, published by UQP, in May 2022. Holland-Batt follows Evelyn Araluen, winner of the 2022 Stella with her collection of poetry, Dropbear, also published by UQP.

The Jaguar is Holland-Batt’s third book, and was written in the wake of her father being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and his later death in 2020:

With electrifying boldness, Sarah Holland-Batt confronts what it means to be mortal in an astonishing and deeply humane portrait of a father’s Parkinson’s Disease, and a daughter forged by grief. Opening and closing with startling elegies set in the charged moments before and after a death, and fearlessly probing the body’s animal endurance, appetites and metamorphoses, The Jaguar is marked by Holland-Batt’s lyric intensity and linguistic mastery, along with a stark new clarity of voice.

Alice Pung, chair of this year’s judging panel, describes Holland-Batt’s prose as “unexpected and unforgettable“:

In The Jaguar, Sarah Holland-Batt writes about death as tenderly as we’ve ever read about birth. She focuses on the pedestrian details of hospitals and aged care facilities, enabling us to see these institutions as distinct universes teeming with life and love. Her imagery is unexpected and unforgettable, and often blended with humour. 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.

The Stella Prize is not the only accolade The Jaguar has garnered. It was named The Australian’s, 2022 Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the 2023 Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize, which is part of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

Update: see Holland-Batt’s Stella Prize acceptance speech here.


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Bad Art Mother by Edwina Preston rejected by 25 publishers

30 March 2023

Bad Art Mother by Edwina Preston, book cover

Melbourne based Australian musician and author Edwina Preston took her manuscript for Bad Art Mother, which was today shortlisted for the 2023 Stella Prize, to twenty-six book publishers before finding one who accepted it:

Thankfully her agent, Jenny Darling, was sending out the book. “I was a bit shielded in that sense, I don’t know if I would have sent it out 25 times off my own bat. But having that support behind me, I can’t tell you how important that was. It felt very lonely, and I felt very much like I was a bit deluded about myself and my work, but she believed in it.”

It’s kind of surprising, though maybe it isn’t, but Preston already had two books to her name, The Inheritance of Ivorie Hammer, a novel published in 2012, and Not Just a Suburban Boy, a biography of late Australian artist Howard Arkley, published by Duffy & Snellgrove, in 2002.

Unpublished authors are not the only ones who struggle to get their work into print.


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The 2023 Stella Prize shortlist

30 March 2023

The 2023 Stella Prize shortlist was unveiled this morning on RN Breakfast, an ABC radio station. The following six titles have been selected:

The winner will be announced on Thursday 27 April 2023.


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Australian literary prizes convert to sales, some sales

8 March 2023

In the ten years since its establishment, winners of the Stella Prize have seen pleasing increases in sales of their books, says Jaclyn Booton, executive director of the Australian literary award:

She says the impact of the Stella, on writers and readers, grows exponentially over time. The criteria for the prize are to recognise original, excellent, and engaging books; it is open to works of fiction, nonfiction and, as of last year, poetry. Worth $60,000 to the winner, short-listed authors receive $4000 each. Analysis of data in the week after the prize winner is announced shows a 200 per cent increase in sales.

Literary prizes have always been a great form of book promotion, maybe the best in my view, and I’ve always thought every nominee, from the time they’re included on a prize longlist, is a winner. This is why it would be great if there were more excitement, more profile around local literary prizes, as is the case with the Booker Prize in the United Kingdom.

I read last week that Grimmish, originally a novel self-published by Michael Winkler, which was shortlisted in the 2022 Miles Franklin award, sold fifteen hundred books, as a result of being listed. While any sales of a book are good news, fifteen hundred units seems to be on the lower side. Is Australia really a nation averse to books?


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The 2023 Stella Prize longlist

2 March 2023

The 2023 Stella Prize longlist was announced this evening by Melbourne based Australian author Alice Pung. The twelve books are:

Created ten years to recognise the work of Australian women writers, the Stella Prize is one of Australia’s most prestigious literary awards. The shortlist of six titles will be announced on Thursday 30 March 2023.


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Julia Gillard talks to Stella winners Evelyn Araluen and Evie Wyld

13 May 2022

Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard talks to the 2022 Stella Prize winner Evelyn Araluen, in her podcast A Podcast of One’s Own. Also joining the discussion is Evie Wyld, winner of the 2021 Stella, and Jaclyn Booton, executive director of the Stella Prize.

To celebrate the 2022 prize, Julia sits down with Evelyn Araluen, this year’s prize winner, to discuss her award-winning debut book, Drop Bear, which weaves together past and present, her personal history and the story of indigenous Australia through powerful lyrical verse. Evelyn shares her writing experience, her journey into poetry and what it’s been like being recognised by the prize.

Julia also speaks with Jaclyn Booton, the Executive Director of the Stella Prize, about how it was established and why it is so important to spotlight Australian women’s writing. Evie Wyld also joins this bumper episode to share her experience as the 2021 prize winner and talk about her critically acclaimed novel, The Bass Rock.


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Evelyn Araluen in conversation with Jeanine Leane

10 May 2022

Some late news to hand… Australian poet Evelyn Araluen, winner of the 2022 Stella Prize, will speak with Wiradjuri writer Jeanine Leane, at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne, this Thursday evening, 12 May 2022.


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Evelyn Araluen’s Stella Prize acceptance speech

3 May 2022

In a passionate and moving acceptance speech after winning the Stella Prize last week, Evelyn Araluen implores Australian governments to do more to fund the arts in Australia.

Artists, in this country anyway, are used to instability, we’re used to two or three jobs, we’re used to paltry super, and the constant fear of illness and accident faced by all precarious workers. We’re used to living one pay check away from poverty. Despite this slap in the face, this blunt dismissal of the clear social and cultural good the arts provides to all Australians, artists were still advocating and organising throughout the pandemic, and the fires and the floods. They were still working through the isolation of endless lockdowns in the hope that their creative efforts, their work, would help someone else survive.


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Dropbear by Evelyn Araluen wins the 2022 Stella Prize

28 April 2022

Dropbear by Evelyn Araluen, bookcover

Dropbear, the debut collection of poetry by Melbourne based Australian writer Evelyn Araluen, has been named winner of the 2022 Stella Prize.

Melissa Lucashenko, chair of the 2022 Stella Prize judges, says Dropbearannounces 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.


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