books

The outstanding books to add to your ever-growing reading list.

If you’ve spent the warmer months burrowing into some great reads only to come up for air and realise you’ve run out of recommendations – last night’s Stella prize nominations are the perfect place to start.

Twelve kickarse Australian women, picked out of a pool of 170 are going into the running to win a competition created purely to feature female literature. How bloody great.

The winning writer will pocket $50,000 and the youngest nominee is 21 years old (what are we doing with our lives?).

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“Many of the names on the list will be new to many readers,” the co-founder of the Prize said to those who attended the announcement.

“They’re not necessarily the books getting all the press and being talked about, but they are attempting something big, something new, something, bold,” said Louise Swinn.

They delve into themes of trauma, violence, the body and family relationships across a range of topics.

Without further adieu here are the nominees….

Little Gods, by Jenny Ackland

This is about a child trapped in the “savage act of growing up” as the blurb reads. It’s set in regional Victoria and has been described as bringing up childhood moments with “poignant almost-painful recognition.”

Jenny is a writer and teacher based in Melbourne, and this is her second book.

Man Out Of Time, by Stephanie Bishop

About a man suffering from mental illness, honing in on themes of nostalgia, memory, and migration. The story follows the relationship between the man and his daughter.

Described as “mesmerising” by some critics, Stephanie had once decided to shelve this novel after two failed attempts.

Bluebottle, by Belinda Castles

Set on Sydney’s Barrenjoey peninsula the ocean plays a constant role in this “physiologically complex” novel. It follows the tale of a dysfunctional family haunted by its past.

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Belinda is an English born Australian author, who is already award winning. Along with her husband and two children she lives in the same city this book is set.

The Bridge, by Enza Gandolfo

The Bridge brings to life the story of the 1970 West Gate bridge collapse and the deaths of 35 workers in Australia’s worst industrial accident.

Melbourne based Enza has spoken of her desire to keep writing stories that “aren’t being told.”

The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire, by Chloe Hooper

We’ve just commemorated 10 years since Black Saturday, and Chloe’s novel looks at the firebug behind the horrific blazes.

Chloe has been a published writer since the age of 23, and now has decades of experience under her belt.

The Arsonist is a stark and cleverly written reminder that in the age of fire, all of us are gatekeepers.

The Death of Noah Glass, by Gail Jones

An art historian is found dead in his Sydney apartment swimming pool after returning from a trip to Italy. The story encapsulates love, art, grief happiness and the mystery of time.

Gail lives in Sydney and has been the winner of numerous literary awards in Australia, having written seven books.

Pink Mountain on Locust Island, by Jamie Marine Lau

This debut novel is the story of a teenager living in Chinatown in an unnamed city with her artist father.

Described as a “surprise delight” the novel is the work of 21 year old Jamie who has written five other unpublished books.

The Erratics, by Vicki Laveau-Harvie

This book is a memoir, which starts with the unexpected hospitalisation of Vicki’s mother. It involves a power-play between her parents that sees her embroiled in ridiculous situations.

Vicki is a former academic and translator, who has always believed in the power of the written word.

Eggshell Skull, by Bri Lee

This is a non-fiction memoir that details Bri’s experiences as a judge’s associate in Brisbane’s District Court.

Too Much Lip, by Melissa Lucashenko

A dark comedy set in the fictional Australian town of “Durrongo” that follows stories of generations of an Aboriginal family.

Melissa is well known for opening conversations about feminism culture and land rights through her work.

Axiomatic, by Maria Tumarkin

A non-fiction work that explores trauma, literature and the past. It encompasses a series of open-ended essays about different people.

The World Was Whole, by Fiona Wright

In 13 essays this non-fiction book delves into spaces we “inhabit” – our bodies and our homes – to explore what happens when these spaces are destabilised.

Fiona is a poet as well as a writer, based in Sydney.

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