The Stella Prize shortlist 2019

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 2018 by an Australian woman.

Louise Swinn, Chair of the judging panel, said: ‘This is an incredibly diverse knot of books, with broad subjects showing that identity is shaped across many continents and informed by many cultures. Non-fiction and fiction works stray from their formal constraints as authors give authentic voices to those who are otherwise under-represented. The books on this shortlist inform and entertain, and while they speak absolutely to our moment, their insights are timeless.’

Below are the six shortlisted books for the 2019 Stella Prize.


Little Gods by Jenny Ackland

Olive Lovelock knows that the adults in her hometown of Mallee aren’t very good at keeping secrets and makes it her mission to uncover as many as she can. When she learns that she once had a baby sister who died, Olive becomes convinced it was murder. But her relentless quest to find out what happened may have seismic repercussions. Little Gods is a novel about the mess of family, about vengeance and innocence lost.

Read our review here.


The Bridge by Enza Gandolfo

In 1970s Melbourne, 22-year-old Italian migrant Antonello is working as a rigger on the West Gate Bridge. When the bridge collapses one October morning, his world crumbles. In 2009, Jo is on the verge of finishing high school, flush with the possibilities for her future. But one terrible mistake sets Jo’s life on a radically different course. The Bridge is a profoundly moving novel that examines class, guilt, and moral culpability.


Pink Mountain on Locust Island by Jamie Marina Lau

An exciting, electrifying new voice in Australian fiction. Teenager Monk and her father live in Chinatown, when a mysterious stranger – possible boyfriend, potential accomplice – appears in their lives, unleashing in both an intoxicating all-consuming hunger. In bursts of fizzing, staccato and claustrophobic prose, this modern Australian take on the classic hard-boiled novel depicts a heady world of art, casino resorts, drugs, pixelated tutorial videos, and senseless violence.

Read our review here.


The Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie

An intensely gripping, yet black-humoured family drama. When her elderly mother is hospitalised unexpectedly, Vicki travels to her parents' isolated ranch home in Canada to help. She has been estranged from her parents for many years (the reasons for which rapidly become clear) and is horrified by the neglect she discovers on her arrival. What ensues is power play between her parents that takes a dramatic turn and leaves Vicki stuck in the middle of a bizzare and ludicrously strange family dilemma.


Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko

Kerry is on the run. When she returns back home to visit her dying Pop, she’s not planning on staying for long, but Bundjalung country has different plans for her. Lucashenko is a masterful storyteller, and this hilarious, feminist and thought-provoking novel touches on serious issues like rage and inherited trauma with humour and compassion. Gritty and darkly hilarious, Too Much Lip offers redemption and forgiveness where none seems possible.

Read our review here.


Axiomatic by Maria Tumarkin

This boundary-defying book combines narrative reportage and storytelling to examine five axioms as applied to stories from the margins of society. Axiomatic is Maria Tumarkin’s fourth book of non-fiction, and her most pioneering. More than seven years in the making, it actively seeks to reset the non-fiction form in Australia.

Read our review here.

The 2019 winner will be announced on Tuesday 9 April. Find out more about the Stella Prize and this year’s shortlist (including the full judges' report) here.

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Pink Mountain on Locust Island

Pink Mountain on Locust Island

Jamie Marina Lau

$27.99Buy now

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