The shortlist for the Stella Prize for Australian women’s writing was announced on International Women’s Day last week. Four of the six titles are published by small, independent presses—Jamie Marina Lau’s Pink Mountain on Locust Island and Maria Tumarkin’s Axiomatic from Brow Books, Enza Gandolfo’s The Bridge from Scribe and Melissa Lucashenko’s Too Much Lip from the University of Queensland Press—while Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s memoir The Erratics was originally published by small press Finch Publishing before it was acquired by HarperCollins imprint Fourth Estate (see rights news). The sixth shortlisted title, Little Gods by Jenny Ackland, is from Australian independent Allen & Unwin.
Inspired by the UK’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Stella Prize has a significant impact on book sales in Australia—and overseas rights buyers are starting to take notice. The 2017 winner, Heather Rose’s The Museum of Modern Love (Allen & Unwin), sold into the US, UK and numerous translation territories following its win.
In other news, the Australia Council for the Arts has announced the 12 publishers, editors and literary agents who will be attending this year’s Visiting International Publishers program. The popular VIPs program, which is held during the Sydney Writers’ Festival, brings together international and Australian publishers to promote rights sales.