The longlist for the $60,000 Stella Prize has been announced at a ceremony at Adelaide Festival as part of Writers’ Week.

Twelve books have been longlisted for the 2024 prize, including Alexis Wright’s “abundant odyssey” Praiseworthy, Edenglassie by Melissa Lucashenko (which won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for fiction), and the acclaimed book about chronic illness and friendship, Body Friend by Katherine Brabon.

Established in 2012, the Stella Prize celebrates the best fiction, non-fiction and poetry by women and non-binary writers from Australia.

Past winners include Charlotte Wood, who won in 2016 for The Natural Way of Things, and Heather Rose, who won in 2017 for The Museum of Modern Love. Alexis Wright previously won the prize in 2018 for her collective memoir, Tracker.

This year’s judging panel includes critic and writer Beejay Silcox (the 2024 Stella Prize Chair), poets Eleanor Jackson and Cheryl Leavy, writer Bram Presser and writer and historian Dr Yves Rees, who reviewed the 227 entries submitted for the prize.

A shortlist of six books will be announced on April 4, and the winner of the prestigious prize will be announced at a ceremony in Melbourne on May 2.

A return to prose

In the past two years, the prize has been won by works of poetry: Sarah Holland-Batt’s The Jaguar in 2023 and Evelyn Araluen’s Dropbear in 2022.

However, prose dominates the 2024 longlist, with just one poetry collection — She Is the Earth by Ali Cobby Eckermann — making the cut.

Silcox said in a statement:

“With one exception, the longlisted books take narrative form: novels, memoirs, essays. Even the dyed-in-the-wool poets on our panel agreed that this was a mighty year for prose.

“The future of the Australian narrative is retina-burning bright.”

In 2023, small and independent publishers dominated the shortlist, a trend that looks set to continue in 2024, with nearly half of the longlisted books coming from small publishing houses.

“[It’s] testament to the vital role these publishers play in diversifying the Australian literary landscape — our cultural conversation is so profoundly enriched by their risk-taking,” Silcox said.

The following 12 longlisted authors each receive $1,000 in prize money provided by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund:

The 2024 Stella Prize longlist

  • Praiseworthy by Alexis Wright (Giramondo Publishing)
  • She Is the Earth by Ali Cobby Eckermann (Magabala Books)
  • Feast by Emily O’Grady (Allen & Unwin)
  • Abandon Every Hope: Essays for the Dead by Hayley Singer (Upswell Publishing)
  • The Hummingbird Effect by Kate Mildenhall (Scribner Australia)
  • Body Friend by Katherine Brabon (Ultimo Press)
  • The Swift Dark Tide by Katia Ariel (Gazebo Books)
  • West Girls by Laura Elizabeth Woollett (Scribe Publications)
  • Graft: Motherhood, Family and a Year on the Land by Maggie MacKellar (Penguin Random House)
  • Edenglassie by Melissa Lucashenko (University of Queensland Press)
  • Hospital by Sanya Rushdi (Giramondo Publishing)
  • The Anniversary by Stephanie Bishop (Hachette Australia)