On Thursday 8 February, the 2018 Stella Prize longlist was announced in Melbourne. For the very first time, each longlisted author received $1000 in prize money, courtesy of the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.
The Copyright Agency’s CEO, Adam Suckling, said, ‘The Copyright Agency is delighted to support Australia’s leading women writers and the Stella Prize with $60,000 for the next three years from our Cultural Fund. This prize gives authors career-making exposure, helps them reach existing readers and find new ones, and it also supports writers practically, with valuable income.’
12 outstanding books were selected from more than 170 entries by this year’s Stella Prize judges: co-owner of the award-winning Avid Reader bookshop Fiona Stager; author Julie Koh; editor and award-winning writer and poet Ellen van Neerven; writer and critic James Ley; and writer, editor and publisher Louise Swinn.
In a year when women’s voices are demanding to be heard, the 2018 Stella Prize longlist showcases the power and diversity of writing by women in Australia. Chair of the judging panel, Fiona Stager, said: ‘Our longlist challenges the reader to experience the pleasures of reading different forms of writing: speculative fiction, novella, memoir, biography, non-narrative nonfiction, history, short stories and work in translation.’
The 2018 Stella Prize longlist is:
- The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar (Wild Dingo Press)
- A Writing Life: Helen Garner and Her Work by Bernadette Brennan (Text Publishing)
- Anaesthesia: The Gift of Oblivion and the Mystery of Consciousness by Kate Cole-Adams (Text Publishing)
- Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman (Hachette Australia)
- The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser (Allen & Unwin)
- This Water: Five Tales by Beverley Farmer (Giramondo)
- The Green Bell: A Memoir of Love, Madness and Poetry by Paula Keogh (Affirm Press)
- An Uncertain Grace by Krissy Kneen (Text Publishing)
- The Choke by Sofie Laguna (Allen & Unwin)
- Martin Sharp: His Life and Times by Joyce Morgan (Allen & Unwin)
- The Fish Girl by Mirandi Riwoe (Seizure)
- Tracker by Alexis Wright (Giramondo)
‘Included on the longlist are authors who have inverted genres through imaginative and subversive literary techniques and by incorporating traditional storytelling practices of mythology and magic realism,’ said Ms Stager.
‘Reflected also is the power of contemporary Aboriginal storytelling as well as the truly international life experiences of our writers as we travel with characters through Indonesia, Iran and Sri Lanka. Other selected titles are books where science and art intersect to provoke solutions to the challenges facing society today.’
The judges have a difficult task ahead of them as they narrow down this longlist to a shortlist. The shortlist will be announced at 12pm AEDT on Thursday 8 March.
Read the full judges’ report on the Stella website.