The 2018 Stella Prize – my prediction

Today’s the day of the 2018 Stella Prize announcement. I’m excited (especially because I’m going!).

I haven’t managed to read all of the shortlisted books this year (I haven’t started on the 694 page Tracker and I’m cross at myself for not having read it. I also haven’t written a review for The Life to Come – yet). Nevertheless, I’m putting myself in the judges’ shoes.

Find my reviews here:

Although there are elements of An Uncertain Grace that will never leave me, and likewise the tragic endings of both Greengage Tree and Fish Girl, I think Terra Nullius will take the prize – it’s topical, it’s timely, and it’s incredibly creative.

Thoughts?

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18 responses

  1. The Life to Come is the only one out of that collection I have read. I did enjoy it. In all honesty, I’m underwhelmed by the shortlist this year and even though I haven’t read Terra Nullius, I agree with you that it might be the winner.

    • Underwhelmed Theresa? I love the look of it, though I’ve only read two, Terra nullius and The fish girl. Azar’s should land in the door today. I’m not qualified to guess given my lack of reading, but my gut feeling is Terra nullius (even if my reading group didn’t think it was clever/creative at all!)

      • I can’t put my finger on it, but I really don’t feel any pull to read the other four. I’ve been keeping an eye on reviews, but they seem to be so split, it’s not helping me at all. Maybe I’m just having a tantrum because The Choke got left out of the shortlist.

    • I’ve just finished The Life to Come and although I enjoyed it, I didn’t feel like she explored new themes – much of it read like Questions of Travel (although no question that she does Australia cultural cringe very well!).

  2. The first thing to say is that it’s the first time I’ve ever seen two books by Indigenous authors on a shortlist, and that shows, whether either of them wins, that Indigenous writing has come of age, a long way from when every book that came along was a heart-wrenching memoir of the Stolen Generations.
    The other thing that’s notable is that four of the books are from small presses, and that’s the legacy of Barry Scott’s Transit Lounge winning the Miles Franklin with Black Rock White City. It’s so good to see judges looking beyond the big conglomerates and their (mostly) commercial fiction because small publishers, IMO, are where the most innovative books are coming from.

    • Yes, good points Lisa. I noted that re indigenous writers too when the shortlist came out but thanks for articulating it. Re small presses, I wouldn’t put it down simply to Black Rock White City as the small presses have been increasingly shortlisted for prizes in recent years I believe. (Wasn’t Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria win of the MF done with Giramondo?) But certainly Patric’s win is a highlight in that trajectory.

      I’d also say Theresa that The fish girl is well worth your reading, as is Terra Nullius (though as you say there are mixed feelings about that one!) I’d in fact be keen to read them all – but, as usual, I’m not likely to!

    • Totally agree and particularly heartening about smaller publishers – the fact remains that it’s not without cost to enter these prizes and by keeping a variety of publishers ‘in the game’, it’s good for everyone.

      • Yes, I was interested to see yesterday that there is no entry fee for the PM’s Prize. I’m not sure how long this has been in place… I think the Vic Premier’s is the same but am not 100% sure.

  3. I have picked this post up after the announcement – I hope you had a marvellous time at the ceremony. It will be great to hear your thoughts on the outcome when you have time to post.

  4. I’d only heard of one of these, the de Kretser — I’ve read two of her books but wouldn’t be particularly keen to try more by her.

    Where is the hub of Australian publishing? The capital, or elsewhere? Is that where all the awards ceremonies take place, too?

    • Dare I say we are lucky not to have a hub? There’s a few large publishers (based in Melbourne and Sydney) but we also have a bunch of small, independent publishers, some associated with universities, in various places. That said, the award ceremonies are in either Melbourne or Sydney.

      • Ok, I’d lost track of where you were based. I feel lucky to live within striking distance of London so that I can attend some literary events and prize ceremonies.

        So the enormous biography won! I’ll be interested to see what you think of it.

  5. Pingback: And the winner is… | booksaremyfavouriteandbest

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