Showing all posts tagged: Stella Prize

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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Nicholas Wasiliev speaks to Stella Prize shortlist writers

19 April 2022

Sydney based author and podcaster Nicholas Wasiliev, and host of Booktopia’s podcast, Tell Me What To Read, speaks to Evelyn Araluen, Lee Lai, Eunice Andrada, Jennifer Down, and Anwen Crawford, who are five of the six authors to have work shortlisted for the 2022 Stella Prize.


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The 2022 Stella Prize shortlist

3 April 2022

The shortlist for the 2022 Stella Prize was announced on Thursday 31 March 2022. The six titles, the work of Australian women and non-binary writers, along with an excerpt of the judges’ comments for each book are as follows:

Bodies of Light, by Jennifer Down.

This is an ambitious novel, spanning decades and locales, that sees Down demonstrate her imaginative range and take risks following the success of her previous two books. The result is a daring and compelling work, suffused with pathos and an impressive degree of empathic vulnerability.

Dropbear, by Evelyn Araluen.

Dropbear is a breathtaking collection of poetry and short prose which arrests key icons of mainstream Australian culture and turns them inside out, with malice aforethought. Araluen’s brilliance sizzles when she goes on the attack against the kitsch and the cuddly: against Australia’s fantasy of its own racial and environmental innocence.

Homecoming, by Elfie Shiosaki.

Homecoming is both a genre-defying book, and a deeply respectful ode to the persistence of Noongar people in the face of colonisation and its afterlives… Shiosaki has delivered a work of poetic and narrative genius and can be read either as an ensemble of poems or as a single piece that moves seamlessly between the elegiac and the joyful.

No Document, by Anwen Crawford.

No Document is a longform poetic essay that considers the ways we might use an experience of grief to continue living, creating, and reimagining the world we live in with greater compassion and honour… This work is a complex, deeply thought, and deeply felt ode to friendship and collaboration.

Stone Fruit, by Lee Lai.

Lee Lai’s Stone Fruit is a moving graphic novel in which queer couple, Bron and Ray, find themselves at a tense crossroads in their relationship. Throughout scenes rendered in Lai’s signature art style – simple lines and a muted blue and grey colour palette – and featuring spare, perfectly articulated dialogue… Stone Fruit beautifully reflects a tender domesticity that is affecting and atmospheric.

TAKE CARE, Eunice Andrada.

Andrada’s collection adroitly combines the personal, the political, and the geopolitical, narrated by a voice that is at once hip, witty, and deeply serious. Andrada has the imaginative ability to move between the memories of poet-narrators, historical asides, reflections on the nature of race and feminism in Australia, and questions of colonisation both locally and in the Philippines. Formally remarkable, stylistically impressive, and often surprising, TAKE CARE is a collection that understands the ways in which ‘There are things we must kill / so we can live to celebrate.’

If the Stellas are about finding writing that mixes it up and shakes it around a bit, then the contest for this year’s Prize is going to be fascinating.

In the past novels, non-fiction, biographies, and memoirs have won, but in 2022 works of poetry have a better than average chance of prevailing, with the work of three poets in the shortlist.

Then of course there is Stone Fruit, Lee Lai’s graphic novel. Bring on Thursday 28 April, the day the winner is announced I say.


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The Stella Prize and the difference it has made

21 March 2022

The winners of Australian literary award, the Stella Prize, which recognises the work of Australian women and non-binary writers, talk about how the now decade old prize transformed their writing careers, and Australian literature.

Clare Wright is an academic at La Trobe University, and she says winning the Stella was invaluable to her burgeoning career as an author. “Stella really gave me a platform, and it gave me a microphone, and people wanted to hear the things that I had to say – about not only the subject of that book, but also about women in history, about history writing, about gender relations more broadly,” she says.


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Do large book reviews result in more book sales?

4 March 2022

Since 2012 the Stella Count has been analysing the number, and length, of book reviews published across twelve Australian publications. These periodicals include regional and national newspapers, magazines, and journals.

Reporting of the counts for the two most recent years — being 2019 and 2020 — has been delayed by COVID imposed restrictions, but they have shown for the first time that reviews of books written by women, has exceeded the fifty percent mark for the first time since the Stella Count commenced.

While on the surface it appears there is finally some parity in book reviews between the genders, being published in the twelve surveyed publications, there is a significant caveat. This comes down to the length of the reviews. While more than half of small and medium sized reviews critiqued the work of women in the 2019 and 2020 period, when it came to large reviews, books by men remained in the majority.

As far as I can tell, the Stella Count only looks at print publications, though I assume these reviews are cross-posted to their online counterparts. While using established periodicals makes for a consistent benchmark to measure comparisons over time, I’m guessing these numbers would be quite different if social media reviews were — somehow — to be included.

The value — and prestige even — of large reviews cannot, and should not, be dismissed, but I wonder what the conversion rate, if you like, of large reviews to book purchases is, compared to small and medium reviews. Research tell us people take more time to assimilate longer articles (consisting of a thousand words or more), than they do shorter, or small and medium, sized write-ups.

This is possibly because large reviews contain more information, and readers perhaps feel better informed if they are making a decision to spend money. If I were making a big purchase, such as a car, I would read as many long-form, in depth articles, about the vehicle I was interested in as I could, but buying a novel would be different.

I tend to read several small book reviews published on social media, and possibly a couple of small to medium periodical articles, before deciding what to do. That way I’m able to get a range of opinions, and quickly, rather than relying on the thoughts of a single reviewer.

Might others of the TL;DR generation agree with me?


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Stella Prize longlist 2022, a good year for poetry

1 March 2022
Dropbear by Evelyn Araluen, book cover

Unlike the Miles Franklin Literary Award, which honours only works of fiction by Australian writers, the Stella Prize recognises writing across all genres, be it fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, graphic novels, biographies, historical writing, short story collections, novellas, and poetry.

In addition to the fiction and non-fiction works named on the Stella Prize longlist for 2022, Stone Fruit by Montreal, Canada based Australian cartoonist Lee Lai becomes the first graphic novel to be included on the longlist.

But it is the poets who have a made a mark this year, claiming four of the twelve slots on the longlist. Take Care by Eunice Andrada, Dropbear by Evelyn Araluen (cover featured above), Homecoming by Elfie Shiosaki, and The Open by Lucy Van, are all in contention for the prize.

If one of the poetry titles wins, or Lai’s graphic novel, it will be a first for the Stella. A shortlist consisting of six titles will be unveiled on 31 March 2022.


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The 2022 Stella Prize longlist

28 February 2022

The 2022 Stella Prize longlist was announced today, and includes the following twelve books:

The Stella Prize, which was established in 2013, is a literary award celebrating the writing of Australian women. The shortlist will be announced on 31 March 2022.


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Paula McLean’s Stella Forever Fund donation

2 December 2021

Future recipients of the Stella Prize, a literary award recognising the work of Australian women writers, can except to see their efforts acknowledged for years to come, following a one-million dollar donation to the Stella Forever Fund by former Stella Deputy Chair Paula McLean.

McLean’s donation is a part of the Fund’s objective to secure a total of $3 million in prize money by April 2022, when the next Stella award winner will be announced. The announcement is being presented as a ‘matched funding’ initiative, meaning that every donation made up to $1 million will be matched by McLean, as a way to kick-start an even greater circle of giving around this important literary prize.


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Stella Prize 2022 entries close tomorrow

20 October 2021

Well, that was fast. Entries for the Stella Prize 2022 close tomorrow, Thursday, 21 October 2021. It seems like only a week or two ago when I wrote that entries had opened, but it’s more like six weeks.


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Now and Then: Ten Years of Stella

7 October 2021

Although the inaugural award was not made until 2013, it is ten years since the inception of the Stella Prize. To mark the occasion, Stella co-founder Chris Gordon will host an online discussion with past winners and shortlisted authors about the impact the award has had, and its outlook over the next decade, this evening at 6:30PM (AEDT). Details on how to be involved are here.

Join Stella co-founder Chris Gordon in conversation with Carrie Tiffany (winner of the inaugural Prize in 2013 for Mateship with Birds), Emily Bitto (winner of the 2015 Prize for The Strays), and Claire G Coleman (shortlisted in 2018 for Terra Nullius) as they discuss Stella’s impact thus far, and what might be achieved over the next decade.


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Stella Prize 2022

6 September 2021

Along with a swish new website, and identity, the Stella Prize – which recognises the work of women writers in Australia – is open for entries for the 2022 award. For the first time the Prize is accepting works of poetry, in addition to fiction and non-fiction titles. The longlist will be announced on 3 March 2022, the shortlist a few weeks later on 31 March, with the winner being named on 28 April 2022.


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