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UQP authors longlisted for the 2022 Stella Prize
Posted 01.03.2022

UQP authors longlisted for the 2022 Stella Prize

The 2022 Stella Prize longlist was announced at The Wheeler Centre last night, and included three UQP authors out of the 12 longlisted titles; genres across the list includes novels, short fiction, memoir, social history, a book-length essay, a graphic novel and poetry. This years' judging panel includes Melissa Lucashenko (Chair), Declan Fry, Cate Kennedy, Sisonke Mismang and Oliver Reeson.

We are thrilled to share the following longlisted titles and their judges' reports.

Dropbearby Evelyn Araluen

Dropbear is a breathtaking collection of poetry and short prose which arrests key icons of mainstream Australian culture and turns them inside out, with malice aforethought.

Judges' report:

Dropbear is 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. She revels in difficult questions like “Can’t be lyric if you’re flora, right/Can’t be sovereign if you’re fauna, right?” And “Humans…did you really think all the Bad Banksia men were deadibones when they went to the bottom of the sea…?” Acerbic, witty, and with no reverence at all for the colony, Araluen remembers those dispossessed and voiceless, just as she predicts a hard-won future for her children – “look at this earth we cauterised/the healing we took with flame/I will show them a place/they will never have to leave”.

Another Day in the Colonyby Chelsea Watego

In marking out this space, free from the gaze of white Australia and the systems it has created, Another Day in the Colony creates its own borders and in this way it is brave, and free.

Judges' report:

Chelsea Watego has delivered a work that is part anthem, part love story. In a series of essays about the difficult – often backbreaking – labour involved in surviving the colonial logics and systems that determine everyday life in Australia, Watego refuses to pander to the needs of readers who aren’t Aboriginal. It is unapologetically written for her community.
Watego’s descriptions of the institutional and physical violence Aboriginal people are forced to endure in contemporary Australia are clear, urgent, and white hot with rage. At the same time, her portraits of moments with family, community, and ancestors are tender, vulnerable, and joyous.
Watego creates a Black intellectual republic through her words. Indeed, this assertion of independence is the foundation upon which her work rests. In marking out this space, free from the gaze of white Australia and the systems it has created, Another Day in the Colony creates its own borders and in this way it is brave, and free.

Permafrostby SJ Norman

SJ Norman’s narrators are lonely, anonymous figures. Norman’s prose has a rhythm that captures their narrators’ sense of solitude and wry humour, not to mention – as in the poetic, circuitous rhythms that open ‘Unspeakable.’ – travel’s meditative repetitions.

Judges' report:

SJ Norman’s narrators are lonely, anonymous figures. Norman’s prose has a rhythm that captures their narrators’ sense of solitude and wry humour, not to mention – as in the poetic, circuitous rhythms that open ‘Unspeakable.’ – travel’s meditative repetitions. The product of a unique, and uniquely original, voice, the stories in Permafrost move at a lateral angle, with an undercurrent of erotic unease, evoking places and experiences in an impressionistic, dreamlike manner. Each builds an atmosphere that stays with the reader. Norman has a real talent for creating a sense of disquiet – as in one of the collection’s highlights, ‘Playback.’ – that is both eerie and restless, and not often found today in fiction.
Permafrost recalls the haunted atmosphere of traditional uncanny stories and gothic narratives, not to mention the politically charged autofiction and dreamscapes of authors like Tove Ditlevsen and Anna Kavan. What makes Norman’s achievement so successful is that their narrative manoeuvres occur without any particularly lurid or explicit affect; in stories like ‘Stepmother.’, the narrator’s anxiety is both absolutely ordinary – the passage from childhood to pubescence – and yet entirely nightmarish, too.

Congratulations to our authors. The 2022 Stella Prize shortlist will be announced Thursday 31 March and winners announced Thursday 28 April.