Australian Booksellers’ Association Breakfast
On Monday The Stella Prize took centre stage at a special breakfast held as part of the Australian Booksellers’ Association 2012 Conference, kindly sponsored by Melbourne University Publishing and Allen & Unwin.
Celebrated novelist Michelle de Kretser opened the event with a discussion of Gwen Harwood’s poetry and career, reminding us of the famous sonnets that Harwood published in the Bulletin in 1961 after she was fed up with having her work rejected: each one formed an acrostic, spelling out “So long Bulletin” and “Fuck all editors” when the first letters of each line were put in order.
It was good to be reminded of the long line of women in Australian literary history who have successfully raised their voices against exclusion and bias. In the panel discussion that followed, Chris Gordon and Kirsten Tranter talked about the goals of The Stella Prize and what we have achieved so far in terms of building a wide-ranging, inclusive conversation about gender in literary culture, and author Ailsa Piper spoke movingly about how much difference it made to her to have won a prestigious literary award, the Patrick White award for playwriting.
The event was extremely well attended and it was great to see such strong support for The Stella Prize among booksellers.