Announcing the Winner of the 2020 Stella Prize
The Stella Prize is delighted to announce Jess Hill’s four-year investigation into domestic abuse, See What You Made Me Do (Black Inc), as the 2020 winner.
The $50,000 prize, sponsored by the Wilson Foundation, was awarded tonight during the 2020 Stella Prize Announcement broadcast, presented in partnership with The Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas and Guardian Live.
Hosted by Patricia Karvelas and featuring special guests, the Hon. Julia Gillard AC, Lou Swinn (Chair of the Stella Judging panel), the shortlisted authors: Jess Hill, Caro Llewellyn, Favel Parrett, Josephine Rowe, Tara June Winch, and Charlotte Wood. This is the first time the prize has been awarded online.
See What You Made Me Do breaks new ground in the public understanding of domestic abuse and has ignited a nationwide debate on the causes and solutions to a devastating problem.
Louise Swinn, Chair of the 2020 Stella Judging Panel, says of the winning book:
“Jess Hill is a journalist whose clarity of expression and thought are of the highest order. What she has done with her incredibly powerful book, See What You Made Me Do, is meticulously dismantle all of the lazy old lies we associate with domestic abuse. In scrutinising both cause and response from every angle, Hill addresses each question head-on – even the most challenging aspects. Using forensic investigation, and highlighting personal stories, this book does much more than draw attention to this crisis – it offers solutions for reform. The statistics are utterly horrifying, and Hill’s extraordinary call to action cannot be ignored.”
“To be honoured by a prize that operates with the highest integrity is such a thrill. I feel like I’ve been initiated into a circle of writers at the height of their craft, and for that I am just so grateful. My hope is that the Stella Prize will get more international publishers interested, and that people who never thought they’d read a book about domestic abuse will be persuaded to pick it up. To these future readers, I want to say: you won’t regret it. This book has taught me so much about life, love and power – it is not a book about other people, it is a book about all of us, and the world we live in. To all the victim-survivors out there, I hope you feel that this is a win for you, too. I couldn’t have written the book without your expertise and courage.” Jess Hill
Jess Hill is an investigative journalist who has been writing about domestic violence since 2014. Prior to this, she was a producer for ABC Radio, a Middle East correspondent for The Global Mail, and an investigative journalist for Background Briefing. She was listed in Foreign Policy’s top 100 women to follow on Twitter, and her reporting on domestic violence has won two Walkley awards, an Amnesty International award and three Our Watch awards.
Jaclyn Booton, Executive Director of Stella, says of the 2020 Stella Prize:
“The Stella Prize exists to ensure that books by Australian women and non-binary writers receive due recognition in our national literary landscape. We believe in the strength and complexity of women’s writing and the deeply human power of storytelling to connect people with new ideas and perspectives. At this point in our collective history – as the world changes around us in ways we can’t fully anticipate or perhaps yet fathom – Jess Hill’s extraordinary book See What You Made Me Do is a study in how to confront a crisis head-on. I’m awed by the rigour, humanity, and clarity Jess brings to the project and wholeheartedly congratulate her on winning the 2020 Stella Prize with this landmark book.”
“The Wilson Foundation is delighted to sponsor the Stella Prize. We were greatly impressed by the bravery of the authors and inspired by the diversity of their stories. The Wilson Foundation congratulates all the nominees of this year’s Prize for enriching Australian literature.” Karen Wilson, Wilson Foundation
The 2020 Stella Prize judges—publisher, writer and reviewer Louise Swinn (Chair), award winning journalist Monica Attard, senior editor and journalist Jack Latimore, memoirist and editor Zoya Patel and poet and educator Leni Shilton—selected their shortlist of six books from a longlist of twelve and more than 150 powerful entries.
This year’s six extraordinary shortlisted books by Australian women are:
See What You Made Me Do by Jess Hill (Black Inc.)
Diving Into Glass by Caro Llewellyn (Penguin Random House)
There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett (Hachette Australia)
Here Until August by Josephine Rowe (Black Inc.)
The Yield by Tara June Winch (Penguin Random House)
The Weekend by Charlotte Wood (Allen & Unwin)
Each shortlisted author received $2,000, in addition to the longlist announcement award of $1,000. The latter is thanks to the generous support of the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.
In 2020, the Stella Prize marks its eighth year celebrating Australian women’s contribution to literature. Over the years, the $50,000 prize funds have been awarded to:
2013 Carrie Tiffany for Mateship with Birds (Pan Macmillan)
2014 Clare Wright for The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka (Text Publishing)
2015 Emily Bitto for The Strays (Affirm Press)
2016 Charlotte Wood for The Natural Way of Things (Allen & Unwin)
2017 Heather Rose for The Museum of Modern Love (Allen & Unwin)
2018 Alexis Wright for Tracker (Giramondo)
2019 Vicki Laveau-Harvie for The Erratics (Fourth Estate)
Over these past eight years, the Stella Prize has become a flagship feature of the Australian literary calendar, significantly boosting book sales and raising author profiles.