Announcing the winner of the 2022 Stella Prize:
Evelyn Araluen for Dropbear
27 April 2022
Stella is delighted to announce Evelyn Araluen’s innovative debut collection of poetry and prose, Dropbear (University of Queensland Press), as the winner of the tenth annual Stella Prize.
Claudia Karvan, acclaimed film and television actor and producer, hosted the evening. The prize was presented by award-winning Bundjalung author and the 2022 Stella Prize Chair of Judges, Melissa Lucashenko.
The $50,000 Stella Prize, generously supported by the Wilson Foundation, was awarded to Evelyn Araluen for her debut collection of poetry and prose Dropbear. With 2022 marking the first year that poetry publications have been eligible for the Stella Prize, it is particularly significant that Dropbear has been selected as the most original, excellent, and engaging work by an Australian woman or non-binary writer.
2022 Stella Prize Winner, Evelyn Araluen (left) pictured with Chair of the 2022 Stella Prize Judges, Melissa Lucashenko (right) at the 2022 Stella Prize Award Night. Evelyn holds her trophy courtesy of Design Awards. Photo credit: Marie-Luise Skibbe.
The 2022 Stella Prize judges described the winning book as:
"...a breathtaking collection of poetry and short prose which arrests key icons of mainstream Australian culture and turns them inside out, with malice aforethought. Araluen's brilliance sizzles when she goes on the attack against the kitsch and the cuddly: against Australia's fantasy of its own racial and environmental innocence."
Chair of the 2022 Stella Prize Judges, Melissa Lucashenko, says of the winning book:
"When you read Evelyn Araluen's Dropbear you'll be taken on a wild ride. Like the namesake of its title, this collection is simultaneously comical and dangerous. If you live here and don't acquire the necessary local knowledge, the drop bear might definitely getcha! But for those initiated in its mysteries, the drop bear is a playful beast, a prank, a riddle, a challenge and a game. Dropbear is remarkably assured for a debut poetry collection, and I think we can safely say it announces the arrival of a stunning new talent to Australian literature. Congratulations, Evelyn."
Host, Claudia Karvan, on stage at the 2022 Stella Prize Award Night. Photo credit: Marie-Luise Skibbe.
Of winning this year's prize, Evelyn Araluen says:
"Winning the Stella Prize is literally a dream come true. I've been following the prize for years – for the length of my own writing aspirations. I hoped that one day I'd be able to write a novel good enough to be considered, and when I wrote Dropbear I never imagined it would be considered for such a celebrated award. I'm deeply interested in the lives, histories, and dreams of women and gender diverse writers in Australian publishing, and it's an honour to be recognised by a prize designed to champion those stories. There aren't words to explain how thrilled I am to win."
Executive Director of Stella, Jaclyn Booton, says of the winning book:
"I'm delighted to congratulate Evelyn Araluen on winning the 2022 Stella Prize. Dropbear is an extraordinarily powerful book that has been crafted by a fiercely intelligent writer with stylistic excellence. It offers readers the opportunity to see this country, and the stories it tells about itself, with a newfound clarity and veracity. It's not often that a poetry collection sits in the storefronts of bookstores, but I'm thrilled to soon see this incredible collection front and centre – and in the hands of countless readers – upon its announcement as this year's winner."
Pictured from left: Clare Wright (2014 Stella Prize Winner), Evelyn Araluen (2022 Stella Prize Winner), Aviva Tuffield (Publisher at the University of Queensland Press and Stella Founder), Jess Hill (2020 Stella Prize Winner), Emily Bitto (2015 Stella Prize Winner), Sophie Cunningham (author and Stella Founder) at the 2022 Stella Prize Award Night. Photo credit: Marie-Luise Skibbe.
The 2022 Stella Prize is generously supported by the Wilson Foundation.
Chair of the Wilson Foundation, Karen Wilson, says:
"The Stella Prize has made an extraordinary impact on the Australian literary scene. It showcases and celebrates incredibly talented authors who are willing to share brave, provocative and original stories, inspired by diverse experiences and perspectives that are uniquely Australian. The Wilson Foundation is delighted to support the 2022 Stella Prize."
The evening concluded with a special announcement regarding Stella's ambitious fundraising campaign, the Stella Forever Fund.
Thanks to the collective generosity of major philanthropists and Stella's grassroots community, Stella is thrilled to announce it has successfully reached its endowment target of $3 million – securing prize money for the annual Stella Prize in perpetuity.
In recognition of achieving this milestone, Stella has awarded a further $10,000 to Araluen – bringing the total prize money for the winner of the 2022 Stella Prize to $60,000.