The Stella Prize is named after Stella Maria 'Miles' Franklin, and was first awarded in 2013. It is a prize for women authors of fiction or nonfiction, and was developed in response to the under-representation of women as literary award winners.
Also longlisted in 2015 was Christine Kenneally's The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures (which, as science writing, falls outside AustLit's scope).
'In 1720s Scotland, a priest and his son get lost in the forest, transporting a witch to the coast to stop her from being killed by the village.
'In the sad, slow years after the Second World War, Ruth finds herself the replacement wife to a recent widower and stepmother to his two young boys, installed in a huge house by the sea and haunted by those who have come before.
'Fifty years later, Viv is cataloguing the valuables left in her dead grandmother's seaside home, when she uncovers long-held secrets of the great house.
'Three women, hundreds of years apart, slip into each other's lives in a novel of darkness, violence and madness.' (Publication summary)
'Domestic abuse is a national emergency: one in four Australian women has experienced violence from a man she was intimate with. But too often we ask the wrong question: why didn’t she leave? We should be asking: why did he do it?
'Investigative journalist Jess Hill puts perpetrators – and the systems that enable them – in the spotlight. See What You Made Me Do is a deep dive into the abuse so many women and children experience – abuse that is often reinforced by the justice system they trust to protect them. Critically, it shows that we can drastically reduce domestic violence – not in generations to come, but today.
'Combining forensic research with riveting storytelling, See What You Made Me Do radically rethinks how to confront the national crisis of fear and abuse in our homes.' (Publication summary)
'The family secrets are only just beginning to unravel...
'When her elderly mother is hospitalised after an accident, Vicki is summoned to her parents' isolated and run-down ranch home in Alberta, Canada, to care for her father. She has been estranged from her parents for many years (the reasons for which become quickly clear) and is horrified by what she discovers on her arrival.
'For years her mother has suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness but carefully hidden her delusions and unpredictable behaviour behind a carefully guarded mask, and has successfully isolated herself and her husband from all their friends. But once in hospital her mask begins to crack and her actions leave everyone baffled and confused ... and eventually scared for their lives.
'Meanwhile Vicki's father, who has been systematically starved and harruanged for years, and kept virtually a prisoner in his own home, begins to realise what has happened to him and embarks upon plans of his own to combat his wife.
'The ensuing power play between the two takes a dramatic turn and leaves Vicki stuck in the middle of a bizzare and ludicrously strange family dilemma. All this makes for an intensely gripping, yet black-humoured family drama which will leave you on the edge of your seat.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
'The legendary Indigenous activist ‘Tracker’ Tilmouth died in Darwin in 2015. Taken from his family as a child and brought up on a mission on Croker Island, he returned home to transform the world of Aboriginal politics. He worked tirelessly for Aboriginal self-determination, creating opportunities for land use and economic development in his many roles, including Director of the Central Land Council. He was a visionary and a projector of ideas, renowned for his irreverent humour and his colourful anecdotes. The memoir was composed by Wright from interviews with Tracker before he died, as well as with his family, friends and colleagues, weaving his and their stories together into a book that is as much a tribute to the role played by storytelling in contemporary Aboriginal life as it is to the legacy of a remarkable man.' (Publication summary)
''If this was a dream, then he wanted to know when it would end. Maybe it would end if he went to see Lydia. But it was the one thing he was not allowed to do.'...
Arky Swann is a film composer in New York separated from his wife, who has made him promise to keep a terrible secret. One day he finds his way to The Atrium at MOMA and sees Marina Abramovic in her performance The Artist is Present. The performance continues for seventy-five days and, as it unfolds, so does Arky as he considers marriage, art and the nature of commitment and love over a long-term union. The Museum of Modern Love is the story of one of the world's greatest art events and a man in search of connection.' (Publication summary)
'She hears her own thick voice deep inside her ears when she says, 'I need to know where I am.' The man stands there, tall and narrow, hand still on the doorknob, surprised. He says, almost in sympathy, 'Oh, sweetie. You need to know what you are.'
'Two women awaken from a drugged sleep to find themselves imprisoned in a broken-down property in the middle of a desert. Strangers to each other, they have no idea where they are or how they came to be there with eight other girls, forced to wear strange uniforms, their heads shaved, guarded by two inept yet vicious armed jailers and a 'nurse'. The girls all have something in common, but what is it? What crime has brought them here from the city? Who is the mysterious security company responsible for this desolate place with its brutal rules, its total isolation from the contemporary world? Doing hard labour under a sweltering sun, the prisoners soon learn what links them: in each girl's past is a sexual scandal with a powerful man. They pray for rescue - but when the food starts running out it becomes clear that the jailers have also become the jailed. The girls can only rescue themselves.
'The Natural Way of Things is a gripping, starkly imaginative exploration of contemporary misogyny and corporate control, and of what it means to hunt and be hunted. Most of all, it is the story of two friends, their sisterly love and courage.
'With extraordinary echoes of The Handmaid's Tale and Lord of the Flies, The Natural Way of Things is a compulsively readable, scarifying and deeply moving contemporary novel. It confirms Charlotte Wood's position as one of our most thoughtful, provocative and fearless truth-tellers, as she unflinchingly reveals us and our world to ourselves.' (Publication summary)
'On her first day of school, Lily Struthers meets Eva, one of the daughters of the infamous avant-garde artist Evan Trentham. He and his wife are attempting to escape the stifling conservatism of 1930s Australia by inviting other like-minded artists to live and work with them at their family home. As Lily’s friendship with Eva grows, she becomes infatuated with this artist colony, longing to truly belong to this makeshift family.
'Looking back on those years later in life, Lily realises that this utopian circle involved the same themes as Evan Trentham’s art: Faustian bargains and terrible recompense; spectacular fortunes and falls from grace. Yet it was not Evan, nor the other artists he gathered around him, but his own daughters, who paid the debt that was owing.
'The Strays is an engrossing story of ambition, sacrifice and compromised loyalties from an exciting new talent.'
Source: Publisher's blurb. (Sighted: 30/1/2014)
'The Eureka Stockade. The story is one of Australia’s foundation legends, but until now it has been told as though only half the participants were there.
'What if the hot-tempered, free-wheeling gold miners we learnt about in school were actually husbands and fathers, brothers and sons? And what if there were women and children inside the Eureka Stockade, defending their rights while defending themselves against a barrage of bullets?
'As Clare Wright reveals, there were thousands of women on the goldfields and many of them were active in pivotal roles. The stories of how they arrived there, why they came and how they sustained themselves make for fascinating reading in their own right. But it is in the rebellion itself that the unbiddable women of Ballarat come into their own.
'Groundbreaking, absorbing, crucially important—The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka is the uncut story of the day the Australian people found their voice.' (Publisher's blurb)
'On the outskirts of an Australian country town in the 1950s, a lonely farmer trains his binoculars on a family of kookaburras that roost in a tree near his house. Harry observes the kookaburras through a year of feast, famine, birth, death, war, romance and song. As Harry watches the birds, his next door neighbour has her own set of binoculars trained on him.
'Ardent, hard-working Betty has escaped to the country with her two fatherless children. Betty is pleased that her son, Michael, wants to spend time with the gentle farmer next door. But when Harry decides to teach Michael about the opposite sex, perilous boundaries are crossed.
'Mateship with Birds is a novel about young lust and mature love. It is a hymn to the rhythm of country life - to vicious birds, virginal cows, adored dogs and ill-used sheep. On one small farm in a vast, ancient landscape, a collection of misfits question the nature of what a family can be.' (From the publisher's website.)