The 2021 Stella Prize is now in full swing! The longlist was announced on Thursday evening in a special event online, featuring Executive Director of Stella, Jaclyn Booton, in conversation with Chair of the judging panel, Zoya Patel. All twelve authors shared the inspiration behind their remarkable books.
Since it was first awarded in 2013, the Stella Prize has become an influential and much-loved feature of the Australian literary calendar, significantly boosting sales and raising the profile of individual women and women’s writing in this country. This year, we’re thrilled to welcome a further twelve masterful books to the ever- expanding ‘Stella bookshelf’.
This year’s longlist explores aspects of human nature and the natural world, as well as our place within the natural world. They make space for: untold histories and stories; systemic flaws within the Australian justice system; tales of retribution, grief and loss, self-expression and interrogation; Yuwaalaraay language and culture, experiences unique to women and queer women; the concept of ‘borders,’ both real and imagined; as well as the role of family, community and inheritance.
The 2021 Stella Prize longlist is:
- Fathoms: the world in the whale by Rebecca Giggs (Scribe Publications)
- Revenge: Murder in Three Parts, by S.L. Lim (Transit Lounge)
- The Animals in That Country, by Laura Jean McKay ((Scribe Publications)
- Witness, by Louise Milligan (Hachette Australia)
- Metal Fish, Falling Snow, by Cath Moore (Text Publishing)
- The Wandering, by Intan Paramaditha (Penguin Random House)
- Stone Sky Gold Mountain, by Mirandi Riwoe (University of Queensland Press)
- Blueberries, by Ellena Savage (Text Publishing)
- Song of the Crocodile, by Nardi Simpson (Hachette Australia)
- Smart Ovens for Lonely People, by Elizabeth Tan (Brio Books)
- A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing, by Jessie Tu (Allen & Unwin)
- The Bass Rock, by Evie Wyld (Penguin Random House)
Executive Director of the Stella Prize, Jaclyn Booton, says of this year’s longlist:
“The past year saw the world change in myriad ways. Yet the acts of reading and writing endured, providing much-needed refuge against the uncertainty we all faced. As Australians sheltered in place across the country for stretches of time, we turned to writers — to comfort us, to enlighten us, and to galvanize us — even while the battle for our attention was greater than ever. And wow did Australian women and non-binary authors deliver!
The 2021 Stella Prize longlist exemplifies the talent, imagination, and dedication of the twelve authors; I congratulate them and thank them for these outstanding books. The stories contained traverse genres, form, language, and landscape. They invite readers to explore new perspectives, question our social and political systems, and connect to the natural world. I urge everyone to visit their local independent bookstore or library to join us in celebrating these books.”
Chair of the 2021 Stella Prize judging panel, Zoya Patel, says of the longlist:
“The 2021 Stella Prize longlist demonstrates the breadth of expression present in Australian literature, and the importance of raising the profile of women and non-binary voices in celebrating this expansive talent. In reading these titles, we pondered what might be lost or overlooked should a prize such as the Stella not exist to specifically examine the output of Australian women and non-binary writers.
In years as uncertain as 2020 and 2021, it is fitting that the Stella Prize longlist includes titles that span the gamut of human enterprise and experience.
This year’s reading presented a diversity of talent and expression, with books exploring people and animals through the lens of fiction and non-fiction, and with a common objective to reach into the heart of what it means to exist in the world today.”
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 support the Stella Prize again this year. Australia has a thriving and diverse literary culture and the Stella Prize recognises and rewards extraordinary writing, lifts the profile of Australian women’s writing, and helps to find new audiences. Being named on the longlist is an enormous achievement. Congratulations everyone!”
The 2021 Stella Prize shortlist will be announced on Thursday 25th March.