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Hayley Singer's 'Abandon Every Hope' makes the Stella Prize longlist

Local publisher Upswell is celebrating as one of their releases, Hayley Singer’s Abandon All Hope: Essays for the Dead is included on the longlist for the 2024 Stella Prize.

The Stella Prize is a major literary award celebrating Australian women’s writing, they describe themselves as an organisation that champions cultural change.

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The awards which were established in 2012 to promote Australian women’s writing take their name from author Miles Franklin, whose full name was Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin.  Franklin found success with her 1901 book My Brilliant Career. When she died in 1954 Franklin bequeathed her estate to create the Miles Franklin Literary Award – which celebrated Australian authors.

When it was noted that women were under-represented in literary awards, the Stella Awards were created to highlight female authors.

The awards begin by listing 12 books that have made the longlist, a month later this is culled down to just six who will be in the running for the final award which is handed out at the beginning of May.

Chair of the prize committee Beejay Silcox said while it took the judges five months to read all 224 entries for this year’s awards, picking the longlist took judges just 20 minutes.

“It took less than 20 minutes for us to lock down our finalists, so fervent was our consensus. The books on this list have emphatically – joyfully – earned their place.”

“The books on our longlist distinguished themselves with their irrepressible ambition. They are books that rattle our cages and dismantle our cultural scripts – books that brim with ideas and desires. Some are genre-bending and genre-busting; others are genre masterclasses.

“Some are quietly potent; others are bombastic and irrepressible. But they all demand – command – our full-hearted, full-minded attention. Tales of recalibration and reckoning.” Silcox said.

Judges for this year’s awards included Silcox alongside Cheryl Leavy, Eleanor Jackson, Bram Presser and Dr Yves Rees.

The books in contention for this year’s award alongside Singer’s work include Graft by Maggie MacKellar, Body Friend by Katherine Braboon, Feast by Emily O’Grady, Hospital by Sanya Rushdi, Edenglassie by Melissa Lucashenko, She is the Earth by Ali Cobby Eckermann, West Girls by Laura Elizabeth Woollett, The Hummingbird Effect by Kate Mildenhall, The Anniversary by Stephanie Bishop, Praiseworthy by AlexisaWright, and The Swift Dark Tide by Katia Ariel.

Singer’s wok was praised by the judges for its; “Experimental and jostling in its use of poetic, lyric, academic and reflective writing styles, this book grapples with the industrial meat complex.”

The book is the first in Singer’s career which to date has seen her write essays about literature and ecologies, queer embodiment and activism for a wide range of publications.

Terri-Ann White spent 14 years as the head of UWA Publishing, when the university decided to scale back it’s publishing arm in 2019, White decided to set up her own publishing entity and Upswell Publishing was born.

OIP Staff


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