The 2016 Stella Prize longlist...

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 The 2016 Stella Prize longlist has been announced! The short list will be announced on 10 March, and the winner will be announced in Sydney on 19 April.

The Stella Prize is presented for the best work of fiction or non- fiction by an Australian woman published in the previous calendar year.

The Women’s Pages by Debra Adelaide
Ellis, an ordinary suburban young woman of the 1960s, is troubled by secrets and gaps in her past that become more puzzling as her creator, Dove, writes her story fifty years later. Having read Wuthering Heights to her dying mother, Dove finds she cannot shake off the influence of that singular novel: it has infected her like a disease. Instead of returning to her normal life she follows the story it has inspired to discover more about Ellis, who has emerged from the pages of fiction herself - or has she? - to become a modern successful career woman. The Women's Pages is about the choices and compromises women must make, their griefs and losses, and their need to fill in the absent spaces where other women - especially those who become mothers - should have been. And it is about the mysterious process of creativity, about the way stories are shaped and fiction is formed. Right up to its astonishing conclusion, The Women's Pages asserts the power of the reader's imagination, which can make the deepest desires and strangest dreams come true.

The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop
Cambridge, 1963. Charlotte is struggling. With motherhood, with the changes marriage and parenthood bring, with losing the time and the energy to paint. Her husband, Henry, wants things to be as they were and can't face the thought of another English winter. A brochure slipped through the letterbox slot brings him the answer: Australia brings out the best in you. Despite wanting to stay in the place that she knows, Charlotte is too worn out to fight. Before she has a chance to realise what it will mean, she is travelling to the other side of the world. Arriving in Perth, the southern sun shines a harsh light on both Henry and Charlotte and slowly reveals that their new life is not the answer either was hoping for. Charlotte is left wondering if there is anywhere she belongs and how far she will go to find her way home.

Panthers and the Museum of Fire by Jen Craig
Panthers and the Museum of Fire is a novella about walking, memory and writing. The narrator walks from Glebe to a central Sydney cafe to return a manuscript by a recently-dead writer. While she walks, the reader enters the narrator's entire world: life with family and neighbours, narrow misses with cars, her singular friendships, dinner conversations and work. We learn of her adolescent desire for maturity and acceptance through a brush with religion, her anorexia, the exercise of that power when she was powerless in every other aspect of her life.


Six Bedrooms by Tegan Bennett Daylight
Six Bedrooms is about growing up; about discovering sex; and about coming of age. Full of glorious angst, embarrassment and small achievements. Hot afternoons on school ovals, the terrifying promise of losing your virginity, sneaking booze from your mother's pantry, the painful sophistication and squalor of your first share house, cancer, losing a parent. Tegan Bennett Daylight's powerful collection captures the dangerous, tilting terrain of becoming adult. Over these ten stories, we find acute portrayals of loss and risk, of sexual longing and wreckage, blunders and betrayals. Threaded through the collection is the experience of troubled, destructive Tasha, whose life unravels in unexpected ways, and who we come to love for her defiance, her wit and her vulnerability. Stunningly written, and shot through with humor and menace, Six Bedrooms is a mesmerizing collection of moments from adolescence through adulthood, a mix of all the potent ingredients that make up a life.

Hope Farm by Peggy Frew (Scribe)
'Hope Farm' is the masterful second novel from award winning author Peggy Frew, and is a devastatingly beautiful story about the broken bonds of childhood and the enduring cost of holding back the truth.
"It is the winter of 1985. Hope Farm sticks out of the raffed landscape like a decaying tooth, its weatherboard walls sagging into the undergrowth. Silver's mother, Ishtar, has fallen for the charismatic Miller, and the three of them have moved to the rural hippie commune to make a new start. At Hope, Silver finds unexpected friendship and at last, a place to call home. But it is also here that, at just thirteen, she is thrust into an unrelenting adult world - and the walls begin to come tumbling down, with deadly consequences.


A Few Days in the Country: And Other Stories by Elizabeth Harrower
"One day, Alice said, 'Eric Lane wants to take me to - ' For the first time, her mother attended, standing still. Eric was brought to the house, and Eric and Alice were married before there was time to say 'knife'. How did it happen? She tried to trace it back. She was watching her mother performing for Eric, and then (she always paused here in her mind), somehow, she woke up married and in another house." Internationally acclaimed for her five brilliant novels, Elizabeth Harrower is also the author of a small body of short fiction. A Few Days in the Country brings together for the first time her stories published in Australian journals in the 1960s and 1970s, along with those from her archives - including 'Alice', published for the first time earlier this year in the New Yorker. Essential reading for Harrower fans, these finely turned pieces show a broader range than the novels, ranging from caustic satires to gentler explorations of friendship.

A Guide to Berlin by Gail Jones
'A Guide to Berlin' is the name of a short story written by Vladimir Nabokov in 1925, when he was a young man of 26, living in Berlin. A group of six international travellers, two Italians, two Japanese, an American and an Australian, meet in empty apartments in Berlin to share stories and memories. Each is enthralled in some way to the work of Vladimir Nabokov, and each is finding their way in deep winter in a haunted city. A moment of devastating violence shatters the group, and changes the direction of everyone's story. Brave and brilliant, A Guide to Berlin traces the strength and fragility of our connections through biographies and secrets.

The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau
 After a fire destroys her family's commune home, Evangeline is forced to start afresh in the north coast rainforest town with her child, and partner, Stefan Muller. Years later, while tending the bees on their farm, Stefan discovers a car wreck, and not far off, human remains. While the locals speculate on who has gone missing from the transient hinterland town, Stefan's daughters Tess and Meg, have a more urgent mystery. Where does their mother go each day, pushing an empty pram and returning wet, muddy and dishevelled?

A Short History of Richard Kline by Amanda Lohrey
I woke with a gasp. And lay in the dark, open-mouthed, holding my breath. That feeling... that feeling was indescribable. For a moment I had felt as if I were falling... falling into bliss". All his life, Richard Kline has been haunted by a sense that something is lacking. He envies the ease with which others slip into contented suburban life or the pursuit of wealth. As he moves into middle age, Richard grows angry, cynical, depressed. But then a strange event, a profound epiphany, awakens him to a different way of life. He finds himself on a quest, almost against his will, to resolve the 'divine discontent' he has suffered since childhood. From pharmaceuticals to New Age therapies to finding a guru, Richard's journey dramatises the search for meaning in today's world. This audacious novel is an exploration of masculinity, the mystical, and our very human yearning for something more. It is hypnotic, nuanced and Amanda Lohrey's finest offering yet - a pilgrim's progress for the here and now.

Anchor Point by Alice Robinson
As her parents clash over unwashed dishes and unlit fires, ten year old Laura works hard to keep the household running. When her mother disappears into the bush, Laura finds a farewell note and makes an impulsive decision that alters the course of her family's life.


The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood
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.

Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger by Fiona Wright
Small Acts of Disappearance describes the author’s affliction with an eating disorder which begins in university, and escalates into life-threatening anorexia over the next ten years. Fiona Wright is a highly regarded poet and critic, and her account of her illness is informed by a keen sense of its contradictions and deceptions, and by an awareness of the empowering effects of hunger, which is unsparing in its consideration of the author’s motives and actions. The essays offer perspectives on the eating disorder at different stages in Wright’s life: at university, where she finds herself in a radically different social world to the one she grew up in, in Sri Lanka as a fledgling journalist, in Germany as a young writer, in her hospital treatments back in Sydney.

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