The 2020 Stella Prize saw over 150 powerful entries. Stella’s judges — publisher, writer and reviewer Louise Swinn (Chair), award-winning journalist Monica Attard, senior editor and journalist Jack Latimore, memoirist and editor Zoya Patel and poet and educator Leni Shilton — have selected the 12 outstanding books for the 2020 Stella Prize longlist.

The 2020 Stella Prize longlist is:

Explore the longlist

Executive Director of the Stella Prize, Jaclyn Booton, says of this year’s longlist:

“The 2020 Stella Prize Longlist is, as always, a testament to the quality and diversity of women’s writing in Australia. These remarkable works — both fiction and non-fiction, from Australian authors at all stages of their careers, and backed by our vibrant publishing sector — demonstrate how essential the voices and perspectives of women are. It’s all here: family, gender, politics, history, place, language, culture, and community – making the longlist as a whole both deeply local, and ambitiously global.”

Chair of the 2020 Stella Prize judging panel, Louise Swinn, says of the longlist:

“It would be easy, given the dismal present state of affairs, for our writers to be too angry to pen anything but bleak treatises on world disorder, but we found quite the opposite — at a time of great global and national dissent, our writers are voices of reason with bold, original stories to remind us precisely what it is, and what it takes, to be human. There was a keen sense that all of these writers have something important to say, and that we would do well to listen. As is always the case, we were bolstered and enriched by books that do not appear in lights here.

This longlist is varied: it includes a graphic memoir, a young adult novel, Aboriginal songspirals, personal memoir, history, short stories and novels. We’ve been given a sense of just how influential our newspapers have been on public policy; we’ve learnt some history of our land; and we’ve been given the lowdown on both the dire statistics and the real-life stories of domestic abuse. We’ve been transported: we were sixteen years old all over again (gulp!).

All of the writers we longlisted are finding innovative ways to communicate their stories, and there is a very real sense when opening these books that an honest dialogue is being entered into. These authors are craftspeople serious about their intention and dedicated to the art. We were educated and entertained by these twelve longlisted books and we recommend them heartily.”


The Stella Prize is grateful to the ongoing support of the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund allowing each longlisted author to receive $1,000 in prize money. The Copyright Agency’s CEO,  Adam Suckling, says:

“The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund is proud to back the Stella Prize again this year with $1,000 for each longlisted author. Australia has a thriving literary culture and the Stella is now a key part of that culture. It recognises extraordinary talent, lifts the profile of Australian women writers and helps them find audiences. Being named on the longlist is an enormous achievement. Congratulations everyone!”

The 2020 Stella Prize shortlist will be announced on Friday 6 March, and the 2020 Stella Prize will be awarded in Sydney on the evening of Wednesday 8 April.

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