The Stella Prize is a major literary award celebrating female authors in Australia. The prize is named after one of Australia’s most iconic female authors, Stella Maria Sarah ‘Miles’ Franklin and was first awarded in 2013, to grow and become one of the most respected women’s prizes around.
The award seeks to recognise and celebrate Australian women’s writer’s contribution to literature, bring more readers to books by woman, equip young readers with the skills to question gender disparities and challenge stereotypes in publishing. Each year one female writer receives a $50,000 prize and the 2019 winner has been announced.
The 2019 winner is Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie. Here’s the blurb:
When her elderly mother is hospitalized unexpectedly, Vicki travels to her parents’ isolated ranch home in Alberta, Canada, to help her father. She has been estranged from her parents for many years (the reasons for which rapidly become clear) and is horrified by what she discovers on her arrival. Her mother has always been mentally unstable, but for years camouflaged her delusions and unpredictability. Over the decades she has managed to shut herself and her husband away from the outside world. Vicki’s father, who has been systematically starved and kept virtually a prisoner in his own home, begins to realize what has happened to him and embarks upon plans of his own to combat his wife. Vicki quickly realizes how dangerous, and potentially life-threatening, her mother’s behavior is. She fears for her father’s life and her own safety if her mother returns home. The power play between her parents takes a dramatic turn and leaves Vicki embroiled in situations that are ludicrous, heart-breaking, and frightening.
Congratulations to Vicki Laveau-Harvie, who beat these brilliant shortlisted books to win the prize.