In the early hours of the morning London time, the shortlist for the 2016 Stella Prize was announced in Australia. I made a stab at guessing what would be on it beforehand — on the Reading Matters Facebook page — but I only guessed three out of the six.
- Six Bedrooms by Tegan Bennett Daylight (Random House)
- Hope Farm by Peggy Frew (Scribe)
- A Few Days in the Country And Other Stories by Elizabeth Harrower (Text)
- The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau (Bloomsbury)
- The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood (Allen & Unwin)
- Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger by Fiona Wright (Giramondo)
On first impressions, it looks like a relatively mixed list, but actually two books are about hippy communes (The World Without Us and Hope Farm) and two are short story collections (Six Bedrooms and A Few Days in the Country and Other Stories). The fifth book is a dystopian novel, the sixth a collection of essays. It seems to me that the judges will have their work cut out from them, because how do you compare oranges to apples?
The $50,000 prize is for Australian women writers and only books, both fiction and non-fiction, published between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2015 were eligible. You can read the full announcement on the official website.
The winner will be announced on 19 April.