12 February 2016 | Adult Fiction

Stella list for 2016

The Stella longlist for 2016 came out this week, and it is a fantastic list of wonderful books by Australian women. So if you are a reader or belong to a bookclub or want to support Australian female authors, this list is for you!


The Stella Prize was set up three years ago to shine a light on contemporary Australian female writers, and showcase diversity and cultural change. It includes fiction and non-fiction books. Previous winners have included Carrie Tiffany for Mateship with birds (2013), Clare Wright for The forgotten rebels of Eureka (2014) and Emily Bitto for The strays (2015). As for the judges’ criteria – ‘the winning book will be excellent, original and engaging.’

The Stella prize is named after Stella Maria Sarah ‘Miles’ Franklin who worked hard during her lifetime to write and promote Australian literature, and left funds for a literary prize in her will.

This is the longlist for 2016. The shortlist will be announced on March 10, and the Stella Prize awarded on April 19.

  • The women’s pages by Debra Adelaide
  • The other side of the world by Stephanie Bishop
  • Panthers and the museum of fire by Jen Craig
  • Six bedrooms by Tegan Bennett Daylight
  • Hope Farm by Peggy Frew
  • A few days in the country: And other stories by Elizabeth Harrower
  • A guide to Berlin by Gail Jones
  • The world without us by Mireille Juchau
  • A short history of Richard Kline by Amanda Lohrey
  • Anchor Point by Alice Robinson
  • The natural way of things by Charlotte Wood
  • Small acts of disappearance: Essays on hunger by Fiona Wright

I have read three of the twelve shortlisted books – The women’s pages, The other side of the world and The natural way of things – and enjoyed all three of them. Think I will read Hope Farm soon because my friend Carolyn who is a prolific and savvy reader told me she had read and enjoyed it, and also Six bedrooms, a short story collection because I am a short story writer. Then I’ll see whether I can read the others throughout the year!

If you are interested in women writers, Nicole Melanson has a fabulous blog at Word Mothers with regular interviews with women writers. I love reading about how these women fit in writing among jobs and family, seeing photos of their writing spaces and reading about their journey to publication. It’s also a great place to find some new books to read. I admire the wide variety of authors and genres Nicole provides.

Have you read any of these Stella books? Do you have a prediction for the winner? Or do you have any favourite women writers for Nicole to interview?


In conversation with Hanya Yanagihara


Terri Dixon

Hi Karen,

Did you know Read with RAF on 774 radio will be discussing Hope Farm this month?


February 12, 2016 at 6:31 am

Karen Comer

Yes!Thanks for the reminder. For anyone else who’s interested, it’s on at Wednesday 24th at 3.30, 774 radio. And Peggy Frew, the author, will be chatting there as well. Thanks, Terri.

February 12, 2016 at 6:36 am

Nicole Melanson

Thanks for the mention, Karen. I am especially keen to read Fiona Wright’s collection as I have heard wonderful things about it and it’s very much outside the box for me in that I usually read literary fiction, YA, children’s lit and poetry. In any event, I look forward to seeing who wins!

February 14, 2016 at 6:03 pm


Thanks for the mention, Karen! Review of Hope Farm is coming!i must listen to the chat on Read with Raf. I loved The Other Side of the World. It is my favourite book of last year, I think. Did you like it? I must check out Nicole’s blog.

February 14, 2016 at 8:07 pm

Karen Comer

Pleasure, Carolyn! Look forward to your review of Hope Farm.

February 15, 2016 at 7:50 am

Graig Wynter

Themes of childhood and adolescence, another Australian literary tradition, also appeared in many of the books listed. “Children in these books are watchful, alert to adult tensions that may have extreme consequences for them, and this watchfulness makes for compelling reading,” Walker said.

March 13, 2016 at 2:06 pm

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