Alexis Wright wins Stella prize for ‘majestic’ biography of Tracker Tilmouth

Book combining interviews, anecdotes and testimony from friends of Indigenous activist wins $50,000 award

Alexis Wright knew there was no way she could capture a personality as significant as that of Indigenous activist Leigh Bruce “Tracker” Tilmouth in a conventional biography, so she didn’t try.

Instead, over the course of six years, before his death in 2015 and afterwards, Wright compiled a mosaic of interviews, anecdotes and testimony from those who knew the man, and brought it all together in a volume of close to 600 pages.

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The many tongues of Lost in Books, the only bookstore in Fairfield

Most of Fairfield, in Sydney’s west, speaks a language other than English – and now it has a bookstore to match

Walking into Lost in Books is a little like walking into a daydream. Models of hot air balloons float near a ceiling covered in billowing white fabric. Bookshelves line one wall, murals adorn another. The gently sloping floor is carpeted in bright colours. A pile of cushions and soft toys is heaped in a corner beside some armchairs and a piano sits opposite. It’s a stark contrast to the hot concrete and brick of the Fairfield street on which it sits.

The multilingual children’s bookstore is the only one of its kind in the western Sydney suburb – the only bookstore, that is. The area hasn’t had a bookshop at all since Angus and Robertson turned its back on bricks-and-mortar outlets, and Kmart aside, the closest storefronts dedicated to ...

Stella prize: longlist for $50,000 award includes Alexis Wright and Michelle de Kretser

Ten books in running for award for writing by women showcase ‘a cornucopia of literary riches’, says chair of judging panel

A literary portrait of Helen Garner, a memoir of poetry and mental illness, and a novel about the erotic encounters of a robot feature in the books in contention for this year’s $50,000 Stella prize.

Previous Miles Franklin award winners Alexis Wright, Michelle de Kretser and Sofie Laguna are among the 10 authors who have been longlisted for the prize, which was founded partly to redress the gender imbalance in Australian literary awards. Wright was nominated for her biography of Indigenous activist Tracker Tilmouth, while De Kretser and Laguna were nominated for their most recent novels, The Life to Come and The Choke respectively.

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Peter Carey: ‘You wake up in the morning and you are the beneficiary of a genocide’

Booker prize-winning novelist explains why he’s finally confronting Australia’s colonial past – and how it should be done

Peter Carey has one key piece of advice for white novelists attempting to write about Indigenous Australia: “Do not make a dick of yourself.”

It’s all anyone wants to talk to him about at the moment. Carey’s new novel, A Long Way From Home, is his first attempt at tackling the living legacies of colonialism in Australia head-on, including genocide, slavery, rape, the Stolen Generation – things he admits he’s been silent about for most of his life.

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Richell prize: Sam Coley wins literary award for ‘captivating’ road trip tale

Judges describe the 32-year-old law student’s novel, State Highway One, as ‘a gripping read’ about grief and home

• Read the opening chapter of State Highway One by Sam Coley

Sam Coley has won the 2017 Richell prize for emerging writers for his novel about siblings dealing with grief while road-tripping along New Zealand’s main highway.

Coley’s manuscript, titled State Highway One, stood out among 579 entries to win $10,000 prize money and a year-long mentorship with Hachette Australia.

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See What I Have Done review – Lizzie Borden case reimagined in grisly detail

Australian author Sarah Schmidt’s debut novel is a vivid, claustrophobic retelling of the infamous 19th-century axe murders Lizzie Borden may have been acquitted for the 1892 murder of her father and stepmother but popular consciousness still brands her as guilty. Borden has been immortalised not only in nursery rhyme – “Lizzie Borden took an axe / Gave her mother forty whacks / When she saw what she had done / She gave her father forty-one” – but in a ballet, an opera, a podcast, a television miniseries starring Christina Ricci, and a host of other cultural products. Even the house in Fall River, Massachusetts, in which the family lived and where the gruesome murders occurred, is now a bed-and-breakfast museum – yes, people actually spend money to sleep over at the scene of the crime. The Australian author Sarah Schmidt is one of them. The writer spent more than ...

Stella prize 2017: Heather Rose’s The Museum of Modern Love wins award

$50,000 prize for Australian women writers goes to novel based on Marina Abramović’s performance of The Artist is Present Heather Rose has won the 2017 Stella prize for Australian women writers for her novel, The Museum of Modern Love, based on the artwork of Serbian-born performance artist Marina Abramović. “It’s by far the biggest thing that’s ever happened in my career,” Rose told Guardian Australia.
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Stella prize 2017: Heather Rose’s The Museum of Modern Love wins award

$50,000 prize for Australian women writers goes to novel based on Marina Abramović’s performance of The Artist is Present Heather Rose has won the 2017 Stella prize for Australian women writers for her novel, The Museum of Modern Love, based on the artwork of Serbian-born performance artist Marina Abramović. “It’s by far the biggest thing that’s ever happened in my career,” Rose told Guardian Australia.
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Richard Flanagan on lies, literature, and Australia’s greatest conman

The Booker prize-winning author’s next novel draws from his first book: a ghost-written memoir of the Australian criminal John Friedrich In 1991, as a young writer trying to finish his first book, Richard Flanagan found himself faced with an offer he couldn’t refuse. “I was offered $10,000 to write [an autobiography] in six weeks,” Flanagan told Guardian Australia. The book, ghostwritten by Flanagan, was Codename Iago: the autobiography of John Friedrich, one of Australia’s most notorious conmen. “I was labouring at the time, broke, and my wife was pregnant with twins, and we were in pretty desperate straits. So I took the job. In the third week, John Friedrich shot himself dead and I had to finish the book.”
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Jessa Crispin is right to critique modern feminism – but her book is a missed opportunity | Stephanie Convery

Why I Am Not a Feminist’s arguments are frequently on target but it falls short of a concrete strategy for meaningful change

For women on the left who have felt increasingly dispirited with the tenor of contemporary feminist discourse, Jessa Crispin’s polemical book, Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto, initially comes across as a breath of fresh air.

Inside the slender volume, published last month, is a furious rant. The book was borne of the frustration of trying to engage with a movement the aims of which seem to have become, if not identical with the patriarchal capitalist status quo, then so perfectly compatible as to be indistinguishable from it.

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Unemployed Indigenous poet Ali Cobby Eckermann wins $215,000 literary prize

Australian writer who lives in a caravan in Adelaide says surprise Windham-Campbell award will ‘change my life completely’ Now unemployed and living in a caravan in Adelaide, the Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann says she “pretty much just cried a lot” when she received an email on Thursday notifying her that she had won a literary prize of US$165,000 (A$215,000). “It’s going to change my life completely,” she told Guardian Australia after being awarded a Windham-Campbell prize. “I’m pretty emotional.” Continue reading...

Books on the Rail: the guerrilla library infiltrating Melbourne’s Metro

Inspired by London’s Books on the Underground, two women decided to start their own travelling book club in Australia’s city of literature The first book that Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus deliberately left behind on a train was the historical love story The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. “This is Ali and my all-time favourite book,” says Kalus. The pair credit The Bronze Horseman for turning them into “totally obsessed bookworms”. They left a secondhand copy on the train in the hope that someone else would pick it up, read it and be likewise transformed. Continue reading...