From the author of Sex and the City we now have Killing Monica…

Candace Bushnell’s newest book is sure to be a killer but while you sit back and enjoy Killing Monica wouldn’t you love to do so with new Lovisa-Sunglasses, David Jones-Lindt Chocolate, a Myer-Daisy Chain Robe, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, a Dermalogica Face Maskn, a Pantene Hair Masque and a Myer-Mecca Makeup $100 Gift Card!

For you chance to win all this just pre-order Killing Monica by July 10th and you could win a Pamper Hamper, worth $272! *Terms and Conditions apply.

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isbn9781408703175Killing Monica

By Candace Bushnell

The new from Candace Bushnell, full of her trademark wit and style

In Killing Monica Bushnell spoofs and skewers her way through pop culture, celebrity worship, fame and even the meaning of life itself, when a famous writer must resort to faking her own death in order to get her life back from her most infamous creation – Monica. With her trademark humour and style, Killing Monica is Bushnell’s sharpest, funniest book to date.

This is Bushnell at her best – full of mordant wit, casual sex and highly conspicuous consumption.

Grab your copy of Killing Monica here


We’ve got so much more up for grabs, not to mention limited edition signed copies and 2 for 1 offers!
Head to our Promotions and Competitions page!

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How to Be Both by Ali Smith wins the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction

Ali Smith has won the 2015 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction for her incredible novel How To Be Both.

imageSmith was also one of the favourites to take out the Man Booker Prize, pipped at the post by Australia’s Richard Flanagan.

The novel tells the stories of two characters: a contemporary British teen and an Italian Renaissance artist. It was published in two versions, half of the copies beginning with the contemporary story and half with the Renaissance story.

How to Be Both was joined on the shortlist for the award by Rachel Cusk’s Outline, Laline Paull’s The Bees, Kamila Shamsie’s A God in Every Stone, Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread and Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guests.

Grab your copy of How to Be Both here

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How to Be Both

by Ali Smith

Passionate, compassionate, vitally inventive and scrupulously playful, Ali Smith’s novels are like nothing else.

How to be Both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s.

Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real – and all life’s givens get given a second chance.

Grab your copy of How to Be Both here

Are you a winner of an amazing prize in time for Mother’s Day?

In the lead up to Mother’s Day we’ve had some amazing prizes to give away, perfect for any Mum!

We’ve had a Pan Macmillan Mother’s Day hamper worth $500, 1 of 5 Liane Moriarty backlist packs and a $250 gift voucher from Leona Edmiston!


Wardrobe101forMums-Comp-PromoBannerLarge-1000x200px-FINAL

wardrobe-101-for-mumsAll you had to do to enter was order Wardrobe 101 for Mums by April 28th!

Wardrobe 101 for Mums: Fashion Formulas for Modern Mothers

by Dijanna Mulhearn

Following on from Wardrobe 101: How to Create Your Perfect Core Wardrobe, fashion guru Dijanna Mulhearn is offering style advice to time-poor mothers.

Wardrobe 101 for Mums is a go-to guide for women who long to look good with little effort. Between juggling young children and navigating a post-pregnancy figure, dressing stylishly can be overwhelming; and the last thing on the minds of many new mothers.

Don’t be tempted by the tracksuit or resort to simple jeans and t-shirt when this book is chock full of tips that show you how to look fabulous in a flash. Dijanna Mulhearn has devised helpful tricks for looking chic regardless of more…

…and the winner is:

D.Isackson, Cottesloe, WA

Grab a copy of Wardrobe 101 for Mums here


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All you had to do to enter was order a book from the Pan Macmillan Mother’s Day collection by April 28th!

Broken Juliet : The Starcrossed Series : Book 2broken-juliet

by Leisa Rayven

Some loves never let you go…Cassie swore she’d never forgive Ethan for breaking her heart when they were in acting school years ago. He was her one great love, and when he refused to love her back, a part of her died forever…or so she thought. Now she and Ethan are sharing a Broadway stage, and he’s determined to win her back.

Finally he’s able to say all the things she needed to hear years ago…but can she believe him? Has he really changed, and what makes this time different from all his other broken promises?The answer lies somewhere in the past, and now the truth will come to light. Will Cassie rediscover what it’s like to be trusting and open again–the way she more…

…and the winner is:

M.Gattone,  Brighton East, VIC

Grab a copy of Broken Juliet here


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big-little-lies

All you had to do to enter was order Big Little Lies by April 28th!

Big Little Lies

by Liane Moriarty

‘I guess it started with the mothers.’

‘It was all just a terrible misunderstanding.’

‘I’ll tell you exactly why it happened.’

Pirriwee Public’s annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. A more…

…and the winners are:

D.Webb, Orelia, WA
L.Tindall, Raworth, NSW
E.Nicholson, Wamuran, QLD
F.Worland, Forbes, NSW
S.Glyde, Leeming, WA

Grab a copy of Big Little Lies here


Congratulations to the winners!
Not a winner? Don’t worry, we have more prizes to giveaway! You could win an awesome Mother’s Day gift.
Check them out here.

Author Josephine Moon talks about her favourite chocolate recipe!

My favourite chocolate recipe: chocolate beetroot cake…

This recipe comes from The Saffron Girl.

10947253_422641974566135_8175922899149544241_oI talk about chocolate a lot. I think about it a lot. And, yes, I even eat it a lot. But what I’ve learned while doing research for The Chocolate Promise, is that you need to know how to eat it in order to get all the great health benefits without all the fat and sugar nastiness that comes with so much of the commercial confectionary on the market.

In this recipe, I take two of my favourite foods—chocolate and cake—add some awesome beetroot and get a delicious, healthy indulgence.

But before we get to the recipe, let’s take a quick look at where chocolate comes from.

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This is a fruit pod from Theobroma Cacao. Inside the pod are flesh-covered beans, and inside the beans are the cacao nibs. And that’s from where we derive cacao, which is fermented, dried and roasted, and artisans then combine it in varying quantities with cocoa butter, some sort of sweetener, and perhaps vanilla or other flavours.
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In its most natural state, cacao is ridiculously good for you, containing a plethora of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and a whopping great load of antioxidants—twice those found in red wine and three times that of green tea.

The problem is that most of what we know as ‘chocolate’ is really just cocoa-flavoured fat and sugar. Bummer! To get the absolute best out of chocolate, you need be consuming high-quality fare of at least 70% cacao.

Better yet, just do what I like to do and put raw cacao powder in whatever you can manage! Smoothies, goodie balls, cakes… go for it!

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So, here is my chocolate beetroot cake. In the first picture, it is still in the making while in the food processor. Look how amazingly red it is! You know it’s good for you when it’s naturally red. Just like tomatoes and red wine, beetroot is full of fantastic cancer-fighting properties because of that red colour.

Red beetroot + chocolate = awesome!

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And here it is out on a plate, with a sprinkle of coconut and a sprig of lavender (because lavender is my thing—seriously, I will put it in everything given half the chance).

My tips for this recipe:

Measure the beetroot accurately (otherwise it can turn out runny if you use too much) and watch it carefully as it’s baking. Anytime I’ve made it, it needs much longer in the oven than the recipe suggests. Every oven is different so use your best judgment.

Also, it goes really well with coconut milk yoghurt and grated dark chocolate on top for decoration.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

•    3 cups of grated, cooked beetroots
•    4 eggs
•    1/2 cup olive oil
•    1/2 cup raw honey
•    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
•    1 teaspoon baking soda
•    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
•    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
•    1/2 cup raw 100% cacao powder
•    1/3 cup coconut flour (for a slightly fluffier and dryer cake, use 1/2 cup coconut flour)*

Process

1    Preheat oven to 170C (350F).
2    In a food processor or blender, beat the beetroots, eggs and olive oil.
3    Add the honey, vanilla extract, baking soda, sea salt and spices. Blend well.
4    Add the cacao powder and coconut flour and mix until well incorporated.
5    Pour into a greased cake pan of choice. I used a 9-inch diameter tart pan.
6    Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
7    Cool completely before cutting and serving. Garnish as desired.


MoonThe Chocolate Promise

by Josephine Moon

For a limited time only, order a copy of The Chocolate Promise and get a free copy of My Little Chocolate Book. *Please note: offer available while stocks last and limit one free copy per order.

From Tasmania to Paris and beyond, an enchanting story of the proprietor of a specialist chocolate shop who must learn that some rules are meant to be broken – this real-life fairy godmother must learn to find her own magic. The new novel for readers who love Cathy Kelly and Monica McInerney from the bestselling author of The Tea Chest.

Christmas Livingstone has ten rules for happiness, the most important of which is ‘absolutely no romantic relationships’.

In The Chocolate Apothecary, her more…

Grab a copy of The Chocolate Promise here

The 2015 Stella Prize awarded to Emily Bitto!

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Tuesday night saw Melbourne writer Emily Bitto take out the Stella Prize for her incredible novel The Strays.

The Stella Prize, which Booktopia was honoured to be a major sponsor of, is fast becoming one of the most prestigious awards on the literary calendar, celebrating Australian women’s writing.

The prize is named after one of Australia’s iconic female authors, Stella Maria Sarah ‘Miles’ Franklin, and was awarded for the first time in 2013. Both nonfiction and fiction books by Australian women are eligible for entry.

 

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the-straysThe Strays – The Stella Prize 2015 Winner

by Emily Bitto

In The Strays, Evan Trentham is the wild child of the Melbourne art world of the 1930s. He and his captivating wife, Helena, attempt to carve out their own small niche, to escape the stifling conservatism they see around them, by gathering together other like-minded artists. They create a utopian circle within their family home, offering these young artists a place to live and work, and the mixed benefits of being associated with the infamous Evan. At the periphery of this circle is Lily Struthers, the best friend of Evan and Helena’s daughter Eva.

Lily is infatuated by the world she bears witness to, and longs to be part of this enthralling makeshift family. As Lily observes years later, looking back on events that she still carries painfully within her, the story of this groundbreaking circle involved the same themes as Evan Trentham’s art: Faustian bargains and terrible recompense; spectacular fortunes and falls from grace. Yet it was not Evan, nor the other artists he gathered around him, but his own daughters, who paid the debt that was owing.

Grab a copy of The Strays here


emily bittoEmily Bitto lives in Melbourne. She has a Masters in literary studies and a PhD in creative writing from the University of Melbourne, where she is also a sessional teacher and supervisor in the creative writing program. Her writing has appeared in various publications, including Meanjin, Heat, Harvest, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Literary Review. The manuscript of her debut novel, The Strays, was shortlisted for the 2013 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript.

BREAKING NEWS: 2015 Miles Franklin Longlist announced

The 2015 Miles Franklin longlist is one of the most exciting in recent memory, something of a changing of the guard on the Australian literary scene. A cavalcade of not just Australia’s finest writers, but also the nation’s freshest thinkers, find themselves competing for the $60,000 prize.

Debut authors Omar Musa, Suzanne McCourt and Vogel Award winner Christine Piper are joined by literary heavyweights Joan London and Sonya Hartnett, while Favel Parrett makes her second Miles Franklin longlist in as many books with the beautiful When The Night Comes.

Don’t miss the chance to grab a copy of these fantastic books and judge them for yourself.


9781922182968In Certain Circles

by Elizabeth Harrower

Zoe Howard is seventeen when her brother, Russell, introduces her to Stephen Quayle. Aloof and harsh, Stephen is unlike anyone she has ever met, ‘a weird, irascible character out of some dense Russian novel’. His sister, Anna, is shy and thoughtful, ‘a little orphan’.

Zoe and Russell, Stephen and Anna: they may come from different social worlds but all four will spend their lives moving in and out of each other’s shadow.

Set amid the lush gardens and grand stone houses that line the north side of Sydney Harbour, In Certain Circles is an intense psychological drama about family and love, tyranny and freedom.

328874-121027-rev-harrowerAbout the Author

Elizabeth Harrower was born in Sydney in 1928. She lived in Newcastle until her family moved back to Sydney when she was eleven.In 1951 Harrower travelled to London and began to write. Her first novel, Down In The City, was published there in 1957 and was followed by The Long Prospect a year later. In 1959 she returned to Sydney, where she worked in radio and then in publishing. Her third novel, The Catherine Wheel, appeared in 1960.Harrower published The Watch Tower in 1966. Four years later she finished a new novel, In Certain Circles, but withdrew it from publication at the last moment, in 1971. It remained unpublished until 2014. In Certain Circles is Harrower’s final completed novel, though in the 1970s and 1980s she continued to write short fiction. She is one of the most important postwar Australian writers – admired by many of her contemporaries, including Patrick White and Christina Stead. Her novels are now being acclaimed by a new generation of readers and writers. Elizabeth Harrower lives in Sydney.

Grab a copy of In Certain Circles here


9781926428611Golden Boys

by Sonya Hartnett

Sonya Hartnett’s third novel for adults is perfectly formed and utterly compelling, an unflinching and disquieting work from one of Australia’s finest writers.

Colt Jenson and his younger brother Bastian live in a world of shiny, new things – skateboards, slot cars, train sets and even the latest BMX. Their affluent father, Rex, has made sure that they’ll be the envy of the new, working-class suburb they’ve moved to. But underneath the surface of the perfect family, is there something unsettling about the Jensons? To the local kids, Rex becomes a kind of hero, but Colt senses there’s something in his father that could destroy their fragile new lives.

0000002793About the Author

Sonya Hartnett’s work has won numerous Australian and international literary prizes and has been published around the world. Uniquely, she is acclaimed for her stories for adults, young adults and children. Her accolades include the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Of A Boy), The Age Book of the Year (Of A Boy), the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize (Thursday’s Child), the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for both Older and Younger Readers (Forest, The Silver Donkey, The Ghost’s Child, The Midnight Zoo and The Children of the King), the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award (Surrender), shortlistings for the Miles Franklin Award (for both Of a Boy and Butterfly) and the CILP Carnegie Medal (The Midnight Zoo). Hartnett is also the first Australian recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (2008).

Grab a copy of Golden Boys here


9781743319598The Eye of the Sheep

by Sofie Laguna

Ned was beside me, his messages running easily through him, with space between each one, coming through him like water. He was the go-between, going between the animal kingdom and this one. I watched the waves as they rolled and crashed towards us, one after another, never stopping, always changing. I knew what was making them come, I had been there and I would always know.

Meet Jimmy Flick. He’s not like other kids – he’s both too fast and too slow. He sees too much, and too little. Jimmy’s mother Paula is the only one who can manage him. She teaches him how to count sheep so that he can fall asleep. She more…

1_LagunaSophia1About the Author

Sofie Laguna originally studied to be a lawyer, but after deciding law was not for her, she trained as an actor. Sofie is now an author, actor and playwright. Her books for young people have been named Honour Books and Notable Books in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards and have been shortlisted in the Queensland Premier’s Awards. She has been published in the US and the UK and in translation in Europe and Asia. Sofie’s first novel for adults, One Foot Wrong, was also published throughout Europe, the United States and the United Kingdom. Sofie has written the screenplay for the film of One Foot Wrong, scheduled for pre-production in 2014.

Grab a copy of The Eye of the Sheep here


9781741666441The Golden Age

by Joan London

This is a story of resilience, the irrepressible, enduring nature of love, and the fragility of life. From one of Australia’s most loved novelists.

He felt like a pirate landing on an island of little maimed animals. A great wave had swept them up and dumped them here. All of them, like him, stranded, wanting to go home.

It is 1954 and thirteen-year-old Frank Gold, refugee from wartime Hungary, is learning to walk again after contracting polio in Australia. At The Golden Age Children’s Polio Convalescent Hospital in Perth, he sees Elsa, a fellow-patient, and they form a more…

London, JoanAbout the Author

Joan London is the author of two prize-winning collections of stories, Sister Ships, which won the Age Book of the Year in 1986, and Letter to Constantine, which won the Steele Rudd Award in 1994 and the West Australian Premier’s Award for Fiction. These stories have been published in one volume as The New Dark Age. Her first novel, Gilgamesh, was published in 2001, won the Age Book of the Year for Fiction in 2002 and was longlisted for the Orange Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her second novel, The Good Parents, was published in April 2008 and won the 2009 Christina Stead Prize for fiction in the NSW Premier’s Literary awards. Joan London’s books have all been published internationally to critical acclaim. The Golden Age (2014) is her third novel.

Grab a copy of The Golden Age here


9781922147783The Lost Child

by Suzanne McCourt

From the headland, we look across to the lighthouse on Seal Island where Mr Hammett has to take the gas bottle to keep the light flashing at night. Aunt Cele says there is no land between us and the bottom of the world where everything is white ice and there are penguins as big as men, but I know this already because Dunc has told me.

Sylvie is five. It’s the 1950s and she lives in Burley Point, a fishing village south of the Coorong on Australia’s wild southern coast. She worships her older brother Dunc. She tries to make sense of her brooding mother, and her moody father who abandons the family to visit The Trollop, Layle Lewis, who lives across the lagoon.

It’s hard to keep secrets in a small town, but when Dunc goes missing, Sylvie is terrified that she is more…

SuzanneMcCourtAbout the Author

Suzanne McCourt was born in Millicent, on the South Australian coast, and now lives in Melbourne. After a career in teaching, marketing, public relations and private employment, she came late to creative writing. Suzanne has won prizes for her short stories, and several of her poems trundle around Melbourne on trains as part of the Moving Galleries project. She is the author of two books: Old Dogs: Lessons in Loving and Ageing and The Lost Child.

Grab a copy of The Lost Child here


9780670077090Here Come the Dogs

by Omar Musa

In small town suburbia, three young men are ready to make their mark.

Solomon is all charisma, authority and charm, down for the moment but surely not out. His half-brother, Jimmy, bounces along in his wake, underestimated, waiting for his chance to announce himself. Aleks, their childhood friend, loves his mates, his family and his homeland, and would do anything for them. The question is, does he know where to draw the line?

Solomon, Jimmy and Aleks: way out on the more…

0000008248About the Author

Omar Musa is a Malaysian-Australian rapper and poet from Queanbeyan, Australia. He is the former winner of the Australian Poetry Slam and the Indian Ocean Poetry Slam. He has released three hip hop albums, two poetry books (including Parang), appeared on ABC’s Q&A and received a standing ovation at TEDx Sydney at the Sydney Opera House. He is currently working on a play, ‘Bonegatherer’, and his first book, Here Come the Dogs, will be published in August 2014.

Grab a copy of Here Come the Dogs here


isbn9780733626586When the Night Comes

by Favel Parrett

The hauntingly beautiful story of a young girl transformed by the power of kindness from award-winning author Favel Parrett.

Running away from the mainland was supposed to make their lives better. But, for Isla and her brother, their mother’s sadness and the cold, damp greyness of Hobart’s stone streets seeps into everything.

Then, one morning, Isla sees a red ship. That colour lights her day. And when a sailor from the ship befriends her mother, he shares his stories with them all – of Antarctica, his home in Denmark and life onboard. Like the more…

Favel Parrett-detailAbout the Author

In 2011, Favel Parrett’s career was launched with the critically-acclaimed and award-winning debut Past the Shallows. A heart-breaking novel, it was sold internationally, shortlisted in the prestigious Miles Franklin Award and won the Dobbie Literary Award. Favel herself won the ABIA Newcomer of the Year Award in 2012.

Grab a copy of When the Night Comes here


9781760113117After Darkness

by Christine Piper

It is early 1942 and Australia is in the midst of war.

While working at a Japanese hospital in the pearling port of Broome, Dr Ibaraki is arrested as an enemy alien and sent to Loveday internment camp in a remote corner of South Australia. There, he learns to live among a group of men who are divided by culture and allegiance. As tensions at the isolated camp escalate, the doctor’s long- held beliefs are thrown into question and he is forced to confront his dark past: the promise he made in Japan and its devastating consequences.

0_piper_christine_smlAbout the Author

Christine Piper’s short fiction has been published in Seizure, SWAMP and Things That Are Found In Trees and Other Stories. She was the 2013 Alice Hayes writing fellow at Ragdale in the United States. Christine has studied creative writing at Macquarie University, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of Technology, Sydney, where she wrote a version of this novel as part of her doctoral degree. She has also worked as a magazine editor and writer for more than a decade. Both in South Korea in 1979 to an Australian father and a Japanese mother, Christine moved to Australia when she was one. She has previously taught English and studied Japanese in Japan, and currently lives in New York with her husband. Christine is also the 2014 recipient of the ABR Calibre Prize for an Outstanding Essay. The winner of The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Prize 2014. After Darkness is Christine Piper’s first novel. She was also shortlisted for the Readings New Australian Writing Award 2014.

Grab a copy of After Darkness here


9781922147325Tree Palace

by Craig Sherborne

They tried Mansfield but it was freezing and snowed and people like them don’t fit in because they don’t look prosperous. One time near Yellingbo they found a church no one prayed in and they lived there and for three weeks had stained glass for windows…They got chased out and went to Shepparton but Shane had a run-in and police said move.

Shane, Moira and Midge, along with young Zara and Rory, are ‘trants’—itinerants roaming the plains north-west of Melbourne in search of disused houses to sleep in, or to strip of heritage fittings when funds are low. When they find their Tree Palace outside Barleyville, things are looking up. At last, a place in which to settle down.

But Zara, fifteen, is pregnant and doesn’t want a child. She’d more…

About the AuthorCraigSherborne

Craig Sherborne’s memoir Hoi Polloi (2005) was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s and Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. The follow-up, Muck (2007), won the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Non-fiction. Craig’s first novel, The Amateur Science of Love, won the Melbourne Prize for Literature’s Best Writing Award, and was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and a NSW Premier’s Literary Award. Craig has also written two volumes of poetry, Bullion (1995) and Necessary Evil (2005), and a verse drama, Look at Everything Twice for Me (1999). His writing has appeared in most of Australia’s literary journals and anthologies. He lives in Melbourne.

Grab a copy of Tree Palace here


isbn9780733632341Nest

by Inga Simpson

Once an artist and teacher, Jen now spends her time watching the birds around her house and tending her lush sub-tropical garden near the small town where she grew up. The only person she sees regularly is Henry, who comes after school for drawing lessons. When a girl in Henry’s class goes missing, Jen is pulled back into the depths of her own past.

When she was Henry’s age she lost her father and her best friend Michael – both within a week. The whole town talked about it then, and now, nearly forty years later, they’re talking about it again. Everyone is waiting – for the girl to be found and the summer rain to arrive. At last, when the answers do come, like the wet, it is in a drenching, revitalising downpour.

Inga_Simpson-detailAbout the Author

Inga Simpson is a fresh new voice in Australian writing. She is inspired by regular people and the changing seasons of their lives. Inga began her career as a professional writer for government before gaining a PhD in creative writing. In 2011, she took part in the Queensland Writer’s Centre Manuscript Development Program and as a result, Hachette published her first novel, the acclaimed Mr Wigg, in 2013.

Grab a copy of Nest here


The 2015 Stella Prize Shortlist announced!

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The shortlist for the 2015 Stella Prize has just been announced, and what an exciting list of Australian authors it is!

Named after one of Australia’s most important female authors, Stella Maria Miles Franklin, The Stella Prize celebrates Australian women’s contribution to literature, awarded last year to Clare Wright for The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka.

Don’t miss the chance to grab a copy of these fantastic books and judge them for yourself with the help of Booktopia.

Executive Director of the Stella Prize, Aviva Tuffield, says:
‘We are thrilled with the strength and diversity of the 2015 Stella Prize shortlist. These six remarkable books explore themes of identity, family, displacement and belonging, with distinctly Australian resonances. Two of the books are debut works, which speaks to the talent of Australian women writers, even those just beginning their careers as authors. We are immensely  grateful for the determination and rigour of our judging panel, who selected these six excellent, original and engaging books.’

stella picThe 2015 Stella Prize will be awarded in Melbourne on the evening of Tuesday 21 April.


THE 2015 STELLA PRIZE SHORTLIST: JUDGES’ REPORT

The Golden Age

by Joan London

The time is the early 1950s, the place Perth. The Gold family, survivors and refugees from wartime Europe, have been blasted by the fates once more: their only child, Frank, has been caught up in the polio epidemic and is now recovering in a halfway house for convalescent children, a converted pub called The Golden Age.

Through the Gold family and their various acquaintances, London explores the social and emotional implications of her story with quiet power and precision, using the tale of one family at one moment in the social history of Australia to illustrate more abstract and general themes. It’s a story of exile, transition, and resilience; it shows the power of vocation and the fragility of love. And in its account of how it feels to belong to a displaced, marginalised and vulnerable race recently threatened with genocide, it has some delicate reverberations for the oldest Australians as well
as for the newest.

About the Author

Joan London is the author of two prize-winning collections of stories, Sister Ships, which won the Age Book of the Year in 1986, and Letter to Constantine, which won the Steele Rudd Award in 1994 and the West Australian Premier’s Award for Fiction. These stories have been published in one volume as The New Dark Age. Her first novel, Gilgamesh, was published in 2001, won the Age Book of the Year for Fiction in 2002 and was longlisted for the Orange Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her second novel, The Good Parents, was published in April 2008 and won the 2009 Christina Stead Prize for fiction in the NSW Premier’s Literary awards. Joan London’s books have all been published internationally to critical acclaim. The Golden Age (2014) is her third novel.

Grab a copy of The Golden Age here


The Strays

by Emily Bitto

Lily is an only child, and when she befriends the exotic Eva – daughter of artists and ‘old money’ – at school, it’s the beginning of the kind of love affair that solitary
children often have with large exuberant families. But this is bohemian Melbourne in the 1930s, and in many ways it’s not a good place for any child to be. As the girls
grow up their world gets darker and more complex, eventually imploding into scandal.

While it’s partly inspired by the real-life 1930s artists’ colony at Heide in Melbourne, this novel’s characters and plot are wholly fictional and the result is a satisfyingly cohesive vision and story. With its reflective tone, rhythmic style, and vivid scenes, Bitto’s novel illuminates the history of a particular time, place and way of living, but it also draws out the more abstract themes, common to all times and places, of friendship, memory, ambition, and family life.

About the Author

Emily Bitto lives in Melbourne. She has a Masters in literary studies and a PhD in creative writing from the University of Melbourne, where she is also a sessional teacher and supervisor in the creative writing program. Her writing has appeared in various publications, including Meanjin, Heat, Harvest, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Literary Review. The manuscript of her debut novel, The Strays, was shortlisted for the 2013 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript.

Grab a copy of The Strays here


Foreign Soil

by Maxine Beneba Clarke

Maxine Beneba Clarke is a performance poet, acutely aware of the accents, idioms and cadences of the spoken word, and her gift with voices – their origins, their meanings, their struggles and triumphs with alien English – is at the heart of this collection of stories. All ten stories deal with displacement in some form, and some of that displacement has been violent: there are stories of racial conflict in Brixton, of asylum seekers in flight from the Tamil Tigers, of psychological and physical violence between a naïve white-Australian wife in a strange land and her twice-displaced African husband.

Although these are stories about inequalities of power in the intersections of class and race, Beneba Clarke also uses narrative voices and the effects of dialogue to show characters attempting to create and assert a coherent self through the power of speech. Her work is profoundly political, but it is also more than that.

About the Author

Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent and the author of the poetry collections Gil Scott Heron Is On Parole (Picaro Press, 2009) and Nothing Here Needs Fixing (Picaro Press, forthcoming). As a spoken word performer, Maxine’s work has been delivered on stages and airways, and in festivals across the country. Her short fiction, essays and poetry have been published in numerous publications including Overland, The Age, Big Issue, Cordite Poetry Review, Harvest, Voiceworks, Going Down Swinging, Unusual Work and Peril. Maxine lives in Melbourne, Victoria.

Grab a copy of Foreign Soil here


The Invisible History of the Human Race

by Christine Kenneally

The sciences and the humanities are traditionally thought of as separate, or even as opposite, fields of study and endeavour, but Christine Kenneally moves on from this kind of thinking in her fascinating exploration of DNA and what it tells us about our individual, social, and anthropological pasts, bringing genetics and history together via the concepts of ancestry and inheritance. At every stage of this book, the data, the facts and the ideas are illustrated and enlivened by personal stories of individual lives and discoveries.

Kenneally uses the contemporary enthusiasm for genealogy and family history as an accessible entry point for the general reader, giving us a wonderful assortment of insights into the meaning and value of the past. To read this book is to be in the company of a dynamic, ardent mind, talking in a friendly authorial voice and never talking down.

About the Author

Christine Kenneally is Australian and received her Ph.D. in linguistics at Cambridge. She has written about language, science, and culture for publications such as the New Yorker, the New York Times, Scientific American, Discover, and Slate..

Grab a copy of Invisible History of the Human Race here


The Eye of the Sheep

by Sofie Laguna

Jimmy Flick isn’t an ordinary child, and as his story progresses we quickly realise that he has some unspecified condition, probably somewhere on the autism spectrum. He can’t slow down, he can’t calm down, and he can’t respond appropriately in difficult or even dangerous situations, but his world view is unique and full of unexpected insights. His father, defeated by the difficulties of living with such a child, takes to drink and domestic violence. And then things get worse.

Sofie Laguna faultlessly maintains the storytelling voice of Jimmy, who is oblivious in some ways and hauntingly knowing and observant in others. There are many places in which such a story could tip over into sentimentality or melodrama, but Laguna’s authorial control and intelligence keep the story on track and the reader engaged and empathetic, and she manages both the humour and the darkness of this story with great sensitivity and control.

About the Author

Sofie Laguna originally studied to be a lawyer, but after deciding law was not for her, she trained as an actor. Sofie is now an author, actor and playwright. Her books for young people have been named Honour Books and Notable Books in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards and have been shortlisted in the Queensland Premier’s Awards. She has been published in the US and the UK and in translation in Europe and Asia. Sofie’s first novel for adults, One Foot Wrong, was also published throughout Europe, the United States and the United Kingdom. Sofie has written the screenplay for the film of One Foot Wrong, scheduled for pre-production in 2014.

Grab a copy of The Eye of the Sheep here


Heat and Light

by Ellen Van Neerven

This unusually structured collection of stories is divided into three sections, each named for some elemental quality in nature: Heat, Water, Light. They are environmental metaphors that serve as rich touchstones for the layered meanings of individual stories. ‘Heat’ is a sequence of closely interlinked family stories; ‘Water’, a futuristic novella, is kind of ecological speculative fiction and a very unusual love story; ‘Light’ is a collection of stand-alone stories, though certain themes and subjects recur here as they do throughout the book.

Van Neerven moves with ease between realism and fantasy, using elements of myth and mysticism in her storytelling. From one story to the next, the content is always rich and suggestive and the writing is always beautiful and clever. Each of these stories is told with passion and conviction; van Neerven writes with the confidence, maturity, and subtlety of someone twice her age, and with startling originality.

About the Author

Ellen van Neerven is a writer of Mununjali and Dutch heritage. She belongs to the Yugambeh people of the Gold Coast and Scenic Rim. She won the David Unaipon Award for an Unpublished Indigenous Writer in the 2013 Queensland Literary Awards for Heat and Light.

Grab a copy of Heat and Light here

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