The Stella Prize, a brand new major literary award celebrating Australian Women’s writers, has just announced its first shortlist. Named after Miles (Stella) Franklin, one of Australia’s greatest literary treasures, the prize is awarded to contemporary women’s writing that is considered “outstanding and engaging”. The inaugural jury, that includes internationally acclaimed authors such as Kate Grenville, read through almost 200 entries before selecting a shortlist of six books.
Chair of the judges, Kerryn Goldsworthy, said: “The shortlist features a wide variety of subject matter and genre: the list contains a collection of short stories and a verse novel; it includes fantasy, speculative fiction, two historical novels and one that has been described as Australian Gothic. There are stories set in the past, the present and the future; there are stories set in both urban and rural Australia as well as in other countries and in imagined places. We noticed a strong common theme in several of the books on the shortlist: Sea Hearts, The Sunlit Zone and Mateship with Birds all explore in thoughtful, imaginative and unexpected ways the relationships and the boundaries between the human and the non-human, showing where those boundaries are weakest and might be broken down.” Check the shortlist of titles below to discover some great fiction written by Australian women writers. The inaugural Stella Prize will be awarded in Melbourne on the evening of Tuesday 16 April, 2013 The Burial by Courtney Collins