Stone Sky Gold Mountain by Mirandi Riwoe shortlisted for The 2021 Stella Prize
UQP are thrilled to celebrate the shortlisting of Stone Sky Gold Mountain by Mirandi Riwoe for The 2021 Stella Prize. Mirandi has previously been shortlisted for The Stella Prize with The Fish Girl in 2018. Set during the gold-rush era in Australia, Stone Sky Gold Mountain is a remarkable novel full of unforgettable characters, dealing with timeless questions of identity and belonging. The Stella Prize judges describe Mirandi's writing as 'clear-eyed and unsentimental', providing a 'lyrical, character-driven piece of historical fiction'.
Winners will be announced 22 April 2021.
See the full Judges' Report below:
In Stone Sky Gold Mountain, Mirandi Riwoe has subverted the historical Gold Rush-era novel and provided us with a lyrical, character-driven piece of historical fiction that explores identity, friendship, belonging, and what it means to exist on a land that is not your own.
Told from the perspective of two Chinese recent immigrants (siblings Mei Ying and Lai Yue) and Meriem, a white woman who works for for a sex worker on the outskirts of Maytown on Kuku-Yalanji land, Riwoe creates nuanced characters whose perspectives are often absent from this particular era of fiction or used as a footnote in history. In doing so, she has injected a unique exuberance to the genre and illuminated the experiences of people during that time beyond the pervasive white colonial narrative.
With lyricism and intelligence, Riwoe writes loyally to a period of history while simultaneously reminding the reader of the parallels between the 1870s and modern Australia: the violence and racism against First Nations people and new immigrants at the hands of white settlers; the casualised misogyny; and the varying experiences of people based on their class. Riwoe is clear-eyed and unsentimental in her approach – these comparisons are not made heavy-handedly, but presented as they are: an undeniable part of Australia, then and now.