The Stella Prize shortlist 2018

Congratulations to the six authors shortlisted for this year’s Stella Prize. This $50,000 prize is awarded for the best work of literature, fiction or non-fiction, published in 2017 by an Australian woman.

Fiona Stager, Chair of the Stella Prize judging panel, says: ‘The six titles shortlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize showcase the incredible breadth of talent in the writing by women in Australia today. The personal interweaves seamlessly with the political as these authors investigate the past, examine the present and re-imagine our future. Ideas about family, identity in all its forms, and politics at both its most profound and intimate levels are themes that connect these six diverse, engaging and original books.’

Below are the six shorlisted books for the 2018 Stella Prize.

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar

This extraordinary novel is set in Iran during the period immediately after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Using the lyrical magic realism style of classical Persian storytelling, Shokoofeh Azar draws the reader deep into the heart of a family caught in the maelstrom of post-revolutionary chaos and brutality that sweeps across an ancient land and its people.

Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman

This is not the Australia of our history… The Natives of the Colony are restless. The Settlers are eager to have a nation of peace, and to bring the savages into line. Families are torn apart, reeducation is enforced. This rich land will provide for all. In her stunning fiction debut, Claire Coleman reimagines Australia’s colonial settlement, moving between perspectives and weaving in futuristic elements.

Read our review here

The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser

Pippa is a writer who longs for success. Celeste tries to convince herself that her feelings for her married lover are reciprocated. Ash makes strategic use of his childhood memories whenever possible, but blots out the memory of a tragedy from that time. Set in Sydney, Paris and Sri Lanka, The Life to Come is a dazzling meditation on intimacy, loneliness and our flawed perception of other people.

Read our review here

An Uncertain Grace by Krissy Kneen

A novel told in five parts, An Uncertain Grace asks provocative questions about how the relationship between technology and sex will evolve and shape relationships. The story opens with university lecturer Caspar receiving a gift from a former student called Liv: a memory stick containing a virtual narrative. Hooked up to a virtual reality bodysuit, he becomes immersed in the experience of their past sexual relationship. But this time it is her experience.

Read our review here

Fish Girl by Mirandi Riwoe

Sparked by the description of a ‘Malay trollope’ in W. Somerset Maugham’s story, ‘The Four Dutchmen’, Mirandi Riwoe’s award-winning novella tells of an Indonesian girl whose life is changed irrevocably when she moves from a small fishing village to work in the house of a Dutch merchant. There she finds both hardship and tenderness as her traditional past and colonial present collide.

Tracker by Alexis Wright

Tracker is a collective memoir of the charismatic Aboriginal leader, political thinker and entrepreneur Tracker Tilmouth, who died in Darwin in 2015 at the age of 62. The book is as much a testament to the powerful role played by storytelling in contemporary Aboriginal life as it is to the legacy of an extraordinary man.

Read our review

The winner of the 2018 Stella Prize will be announced on 12 April and will receive $50,000 in Prize money. Find out more about this year’s Prize (including judges’ comments for each of the shortlisted books) here.

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Cover image for An Uncertain Grace

An Uncertain Grace

Krissy Kneen

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