Today I am being thankful for two things that have inspired me and I hope many other women and girls – The Stella Prize and the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2012.
The Stella Prize will be an annual literary prize for Australian women’s writing. It will raise the profile of women’s writing, and will reward one writer with a $50,000 prize. The shortlisted and winning books will be widely publicised and marketed in order to bring readers to the work of Australian women writers. In short, the Stella Prize will celebrate and recognise Australian women’s writing, encourage a future generation of women writers, and significantly increase the readership for books by women.
But it’s not just about a prize for women’s writing. There is also a list of events you can attend (sorry if you see something you would have loved to go to today, I’m a bit late posting this but bookmark it for later events), ways you can support the Stella Prize, news of what is going on, who is arguing with who [again and again and again] about the need for prizes recognising women, where the statistics come from that spawned the realisation for the need for the Stella Prize, and much more.
But why is Australian Women’s writing so important you might ask. Well, that’s where the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2012 comes in. You may have noticed a few reviews popping up here on books various Hoydens have been reading and reviewing for this challenge.
Australian Women Writers website and 2012 Reading and Reviewing Challenge was created by Elizabeth Lhuede in response to the gender bias debates of 2011, to participate in the National Year of Reading and to raise awareness for The Stella Prize.
The Australian Women Writers website has fantastic lists of authors and books separated into genres so you can start with something you are comfortable with, or choose a genre that you don’t usually read to try something different. You can also find a list of reviews to by other bloggers to go and read first if you aren’t sure or would just like to see what someone else thought. On Wednesdays reviewers and readers are invited to choose a review and make a comment which is a lovely way of not only finding new books and blogs but also to value the time someone has taken to read and write about the book they chose.
I can’t speak for the other Hoydens, but for me I have found that engaging in this challenge has opened up a whole new world of authors and genres that I had previously been unaware of and I have found new books to love. Plus it made me realise that there are some bloody good books out there being overlooked for literary prizes. This challenge has really cemented for me the idea that we do need a women’s only prize to illustrate the quality of Australian women authors’ writing.
My local library is participating in the National Year of Reading and putting up a range of different genres and authors every month or so, so I’m going to email them and suggest that they might like to put up the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012 as well.
You can follow the Stella Prize and the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012 on Twitter @TheStellaPrize and @AusWomenWriters. There are also lots of great Australian Women Writers on Twitter to follow as well.
You can find Hoyden reviews written for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012 here.