The 2018 Stella Prize

Stella is delighted to announce the 2018 Stella Prize shortlist of extraordinary books by Australian women.

In a year when women’s voices are demanding to be heard, the 2018 Stella Prize shortlist showcases the power and diversity of writing by women in Australia. The determination required to create change, and the political necessity of telling our own stories, shines through in the fiction and nonfiction of this year’s list. The prominence of books by smaller independent publishers speaks to the vibrancy of Australian publishing, and the shortlist as a whole is a testament to the potency of women’s writing in Australia today.

Fiona Stager, chair of the 2018 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.”

Enjoy discovering the 2018 Stella Prize shortlist – click the covers below to learn more about each title.

The 2018 Stella Prize winner will be announced on the evening of Thursday 12 April.

2018 Stella Prize Shortlist

2018 Stella Prize Longlist

Judges' report

The complete list of books entered for this year’s Stella Prize, showcasing as it does much of Australian women’s writing for 2017, reflects the sheer volume of high-quality books that are being published in Australia. What a cornucopia of literary riches! As judges we were impressed with the strength of submissions from so many fine writers. The value of the book as artefact was evident in the attention publishers and designers invest to make books attractive to read and to hold in our hands. Noticeable was the calibre of books from small publishers as is reflected in our longlist.

Many of the books entered look to the future and to the past in order to deepen our understanding of the present. The books submitted reflect the importance of imagination in all of our lives. It is also apparent that writers are increasingly conscious of whose story they are telling and who has a right to tell that story, and how to do so respectfully.

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. 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. 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.

Authors on our longlist also pay tribute to the legacy of some of our great thinkers, writers, artists and poets. The biographies and memoirs longlisted offer the reader, to paraphrase Bernadette Brennan, a way to more fully understand the ‘how’ of people such as Tracker Tilmouth, Helen Garner, Martin Sharp and Michael Dransfield. What came through powerfully in these books – and in others – is the struggle to create and the struggle to be true to oneself.

Significant and, oftentimes, critical issues are covered in the writings of our chosen authors. As judges we invite you to immerse yourself in this impressive and diverse list.  As readers we acknowledge the great and generous gift our writers have given us.

2018 Stella Prize Judges