The Stella Prize shortlist 2020

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 2019 by an Australian woman.

Louise Swinn, Chair of the judging panel, said: ‘The six books on this year’s shortlist are all outward-looking, and they tell stories – of illness, family life, friendship, domestic abuse, and more – in remarkable ways. If language is a tool, or a weapon, then these writers use their skills with tremendous courage. We found a lot to be hopeful about here, too – not just at the stories being told, but at the quality of the art being produced.’

Below are the six shortlisted books for the 2020 Stella Prize.


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See What You Made Me Do by Jess Hill

Domestic abuse is a national emergency: one in four Australian women has experienced violence from a man she was intimate with. But too often we ask the wrong question: why didn’t she leave? We should be asking: why did he do it? Investigative journalist Jess Hill puts perpetrators – and the systems that enable them – in the spotlight. Combining forensic research with riveting storytelling, See What You Made Me Do radically rethinks how to confront the national crisis of fear and abuse in our homes.

Read our review here


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Diving into Glass by Caro Llewellyn

Caro Llewellyn was living her dream life in her adopted home of New York, directing an international literary festival. Then one day, running in Central Park, she lost all sensation in her legs. Two days later she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. No stranger to tragedy – her father Richard contracted polio at the age of twenty and spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair – she was herself blindsided by illness, and unable to summon any of the grace and courage she’d witnessed growing up. An emotionally brutal memoir of family, vulnerability and purpose, Diving into Glass is a searing, often funny portrait of the realities of disability.


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There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett

Ludek and Liska are twin sisters, separated at fifteen by the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938 and then kept apart by the Cold War. In the 1980s, each sister raises a grandchild; Liska in Melbourne and Ludek in Prague. Based on the experiences of Parrett’s own grandparents, There Was Still Love spans timelines and locations, focussing on the strong women who bind families together and touching on themes of separation, exile and identity.

Read our review here


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Here Until August by Josephine Rowe

From the Catskill Mountains to Snowy Mountains, the abandoned island outports of Newfoundland to the sprawl of an Australian metropolis, this collection from one of Australia’s most gifted writers shows us how the places we inhabit shape us in ways both remote and intimate. These stories follow the fates of characters who, by choice or by force, are travelling beyond the boundaries of their known worlds. We meet them negotiating reluctant partings, navigating uncertain returns or biding the disquieting calm that often precedes decisive action.

Read our review here


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The Yield by Tara June Winch

Knowing that he will soon die, Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. His life has been spent on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains, and he is now determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered. His granddaughter, August Gondiwindi, is on the other side of the world when she learns of his death. At her bittersweet homecoming, she learns that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. The Yield is the story of a people and a culture dispossessed, but it also a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, storytelling and identity.

Read our review here


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The Weekend by Charlotte Wood

Four women in their seventies have shared a lifelong friendship of the best kind – loving and practical, frank and steadfast – but when Sylvie dies, her absence sends reverberations along the faultlines of the remaining bond between the other women. The three of them come together at Christmas, not to celebrate but to clean our Sylvie’s beach house before it’s sold. Over the next couple of days, tensions rise and tempers fray, and it becomes clear their friendship may not survive.

Read our review here


You can buy all six of these phenomenal titles in one specially priced pack (save 20%). This pack is available online and in all our shops (except Readings Kids).

The 2020 winner will be announced on Wednesday 8 April. Find out more about the Stella Prize and this year’s shortlist (including the full judges' report) here.

 Read review
The Yield

The Yield

Tara June Winch

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 Read reviewThe Yield

The Yield

Tara June Winch

The 2020 winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, Tara June Winch's The Yield is the story of a people and a culture dispossessed. But it is as much a celebration of what was and what endures, and a powerful...

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 Read reviewSee What You Made Me Do

See What You Made Me Do

Jess Hill

Combining exhaustive research with riveting storytelling, See What You Made Me Do dismantles the flawed logic of victim-blaming and challenges everything you thought you knew about domestic and family violence.

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 Read reviewThere Was Still Love

There Was Still Love

Favel Parrett

The profoundly moving new novel from the critically acclaimed and Miles Franklin shortlisted author of Past the Shallows and When the Night Comes. A tender and masterfully told story of memory, family and love.

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 Read reviewHere Until August: Stories

Here Until August: Stories

Josephine Rowe

A masterful collection of horizons and departures, heartbreak and seduction, from an internationally acclaimed Australian author.

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 Read reviewThe Weekend

The Weekend

Charlotte Wood

The brilliant new novel from Charlotte Wood, acclaimed author of The Natural Way of Things .

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Diving into Glass

Diving into Glass

Caro Llewellyn

An emotionally brutal memoir of family, vulnerability and purpose, Diving into Glass is a searing, often funny portrait of the realities of disability and an intimate account of two lives filled with vigour and audacity. ...

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