We are delighted to announce that the winner of the 2017 Stella Prize is Heather Rose for her novel The Museum of Modern Love.
The prize was awarded at the Arts Centre in Melbourne on Tuesday 18 April. Heather receives $50,000, sponsored this year by National Australia Bank.
“The Museum of Modern Love is an unusual and remarkable achievement, a meditation on the social, spiritual and artistic importance of seeing and being seen. It is rare to encounter a novel with such powerful characterisation, such a deep understanding of the consequences of personal and national history, and such dazzling and subtle explorations of the importance of art in everyday life.”
The 2017 Stella Prize longlist recognises exceptional writing in a year of especially fine literature by Australian women. This year’s longlist is notable for the strength and diversity of investigative, biographical and autobiographical work, as well as for highly accomplished fiction and stories. All of the books are topical and many of them address urgent national issues with particular relevance to women, at a time when women are fighting to be politically seen and heard, and to secure their positions in the public sphere.
The writing on this longlist takes a strong stand against issues such as racism, offshore incarceration, violence against women and alcohol abuse. Two of the books on the longlist explore the dying process, a couple of others address the role of the media in reporting tragedy, while the question of the ownership of a woman’s story is at the forefront of another. The role of art in enlarging and acknowledging the inner life of individuals is directly addressed by one novel and exemplified in others. Painstaking research is a characteristic of many of the books on the 2017 Stella Prize longlist, whose writers have conducted extensive investigations into subjects that are not necessarily widely understood. These are important contributions to the national conversation, and help us to move towards a more inclusive and empathetic Australian society. In fiction and in nonfiction, the titles on the 2017 longlist emphasise the value of the individual, and many demonstrate the capacity of personal disclosure to illuminate broader social concerns.
The 12 titles on this longlist are outstanding examples of the literature that the Stella Prize values: original, excellent and engaging. Women’s writing is flourishing in this country, and the Stella Prize, now in its fifth year, is dedicated to the recognition and celebration of the growth and continuity of Australian women’s literature.