Announcing The Stella Prize
The winner of the 2015 Stella Prize is Emily Bitto for The Strays. This is the first time a debut work has won the Stella Prize. The inaugural winner, in 2013, was Carrie Tiffany for her second novel, Mateship with Birds,and last year’s winner was Clare Wright for her second work of history, The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka. The winner of the Stella Prize receives $50,000 in prize money.
Of the winning book, Kerryn Goldsworthy, chair of the 2015 Stella Prize judging panel, says: "Emily Bitto's debut novel The Strays is about families, art, isolation, class, childhood, friendship, and the power of the past. It's both moving and sophisticated; both well researched and original; both intellectually engaging and emotionally gripping.
"In its subject matter, its characters, and its sombre mood, this novel is reminiscent of Ian McEwan's Atonement, Sybille Bedford's Jigsaw, or A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book, and in this company it can hold its head high. The Strays is like a gemstone: polished and multifaceted, reflecting illuminations back to the reader and holding rich colour in its depths."
In accepting the award, Emily Bitto said: "It is an astounding, life-changing honour to be selected as the third recipient of the Stella Prize for my debut novel, The Strays. To be recognised alongside such an astonishingly talented long- and shortlist, including writers I revere as a reader, is the greatest honour.
"As a debut novelist, I cannot even begin to quantify the benefits this award will bring. I am incredibly grateful to the Stella board, the judging panel, and the generous donors who have contributed the prize money. In its three years of existence, the Stella Prize has had a huge impact on the Australian literary landscape and has initiated a vital dialogue about gender within the public domain. As a female writer, I have benefited from this award before even finding myself on the longlist, and I am so grateful for its existence."
The 2015 Stella Prize was announced on 21 April 2015 at an event in Melbourne. The winner received $50,000 and each of the shortlistees received $2000, courtesy of the Nelson Meers Foundation.
Read more about The Strays here.