Stella is delighted to announce Jess Hill’s four-year investigation into domestic abuse, See What You Made Me Do, as the 2020 Stella Prize winner.
Watch the full announcement — a celebration of the vibrancy and quality of Australian women’s writing and our rich literary community:
Our 2020 online announcement was hosted by Patricia Karvelas and featured guest speaker, the Hon. Julia Gillard AC. We were offered insight from Louise Swinn, Chair of the Stella judging panel, along with reflections and messages of support from the shortlisted authors, and the winner herself.
Now in its eighth year, the Stella Prize awards one author with a $50,000 prize, thanks to the generous support of the Wilson Foundation. This buys a writer some measure of financial independence and thus time – that most undervalued yet necessary commodity for women – to focus on their writing.
Presented in partnership with the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing & Ideas and Guardian Live.
This year, the Stella Prize reading took us through a litany of serious topics and across a host of different places. While first-time authors wowed us, established authors brought out satisfying exhalations. Publishers big and small showed their excellent taste and continued their commitment to publishing a vast range of voices. Whether we were looking for diversity or not, it was there smack-bang in front of us — so many rich influences, so many distinct points of view, so many ways of depicting the current landscape. The world is in crisis but our artists are expressing themselves as powerfully and eloquently as ever as they courageously grapple with the wild mess of it all.
The writing that we read for this year’s Stella Prize was an education in and of itself, and there were easily twelve more books we could have added to this list. Our writers continue to attempt to tell stories big and bold, as well as those small yet significant. The differences across the reading, in style and content were reassuringly reflective and disruptive.
The 2020 Stella Prize Longlist is exciting and varied. It includes a graphic memoir, a young adult novel, indigenous stories told in traditional Aboriginal songspirals, a personal memoir that extends out to social history, plentiful tight and absorbing short stories, fiction with historical context, and some hefty nonfiction. Like many Australians, so many of these stories traverse continents. There are numerous moments of grace.
The twelve books we’ve chosen are all ambitious texts — bold and unapologetic. This is more than just a snapshot of this time and place, it is an off-road adventure that will force you to think and rethink. These voices are extraordinarily rich, and these writers are wielding language powerfully. We are lucky to have them.