What are Stella Day Out speakers reading now?
We asked Stella Day Out speakers to share what they’ve been reading off the clock. We hope you’ll be inspired to read some of these books.
And don’t forget all of them will be on 9 November at Stella Day Out, a free literary festival for all who enjoy reading and writing. Register for tickets before it is too late.
Jo Case | The Story of the Stella Prize | 9 November, 2:30pm
I’m reading Lucy Treloar’s Days of Innocence and Wonder, an atmospheric, intricately characterised novel that brilliantly inhabits the othering effects of trauma, and how the people we’ve lost continue to shape us. It balances a caution about violence, control and toxic masculinity with a beautiful meditation on kindness and community.
Case is an Adelaide-based writer, editor and critic who is Deputy Editor, Books & Ideas at The Conversation. She has been associate publisher at Wakefield Press, deputy editor of Australian Book Review, books editor of The Big Issue and associate editor of Kill Your Darlings. A former program manager of Melbourne Writers Festival, Case was a co-founder of the Feminist Writers Festival and a founding board member of the Stella Prize.
Monica Dux | The Story of the Stella Prize | 9 November, 2:30pm
Christine Kenneally’s Ghosts of the Orphanage. I picked up a copy I had on my desk the other day and found myself engrossed in it for a second time. It’s an outstanding, meticulously researched, and profound book that delves into the worst parts of humanity.
Dux is the author of two memoirs: Lapsed: losing your religion is harder than it looks (2021) and Things I Didn’t Expect (when I was expecting) (2013). She is the co-author of The Great Feminist Denial (2008) and editor of the anthology Mothermorphosis (2015). Dux was a founding board member of the Stella Prize and the Feminist Writers Festival. From 2013 until 2022 she was a columnist for The Saturday Age. She is currently working on a third memoir and doing a PhD in Creative Practice at RMIT.
Astrid Edwards | Talking Graphic Novels and After The Jaguar | 9 November, 12:15pm and 4pm
I’ve just finished Charlotte Wood’s Stone Yard Devotional, and I’m finding the quiet power of that novel growing the more I ponder it. A brilliant, delightful and sobering read.
Edwards is a bibliophile, critic and academic. She hosts The Garret podcast, teaches writing at RMIT University, and is undertaking her PhD on barriers to publishing climate fiction in Australia. She was a judge for The Stella Prize in 2023.
Eloise Grills | Talking Graphic Novels | 9 November, 12:15pm
I’m currently reading Now and Other Dreams by Daryl Seitchik, a surreal and immersive collection of comics and short stories that blend reality and dream.
Grills is a writer and artist interested in comics and multimodal storytelling. Her work has been published widely, in places like the New Yorker, Meanjin, the Guardian and the Rumpus. Her illustrated memoir, big beautiful female theory, was shortlisted for the Stella Prize and the Indie Book Award for Illustrated non-fiction.
Sarah Holland-Batt | After The Jaguar | 9 November, 4pm
Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag (translated by Srinath Perur). Set in Bangalore, it follows the internecine squabbles and tensions of a family whose behaviour becomes demented by sudden and unexpected wealth. Shanbhag’s observations of human folly, misery and greed ring excruciatingly and hilariously true; every sentence is a gem.
Holland-Batt is an award-winning poet, editor, critic and academic, and the author of three books of poems — most recently The Jaguar (2023) which won the 2023 Stella Prize and the 2023 Queensland Premier’s Award for a work of State Significance — and a book of essays, Fishing for Lightning, a collection of her columns on contemporary Australian poetry written for The Australian. Educated at New York University and the University of Queensland, she is the recipient of a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship, the W.G. Walker Memorial Fulbright Scholarship, residencies at Yaddo and MacDowell colonies in the United States, and an Australia Council Literature Residency at the B.R. Whiting Studio in Rome, among other honours.
Nadia Niaz | The Language of Poetry | 9 November, 10:30am
I’m currently reading Edenglassie by Melissa Lucashenko. There are lots of synopses out there so what I will say is based on what I’ve read so far: Lucashenko is a master of creating and conveying complex relationships in just a few sentences. As with her other books, the characters feel real from the moment you meet them, and the context — early colonial in the first story and near-future in the second — lives and breathes alongside them. I’ve only just started it, but I am loving it so far.
Niaz is the author of The Djinn Hunters (2023) and the founder and editor of the Australian Multilingual Writing Project. Her academic and creative work explores multilingual creative expression, the practicalities and politics of translation, and the idea of ‘belonging’ in multiple contexts. She has been a Wheeler Centre Fellow and a member of the West Writers Group, has worked collaboratively with visual artists to produce original work, and has been a commissioned poet for the School of Anatomy’s Body Donation Program at the University of Melbourne. Nadia teaches creative writing at the University of Melbourne.
Thuy On | The Language of Poetry | 9 November, 10:30am
I have just picked up a copy of Emergence, edited by Alice Pung and Christos Tsiolkas. I look forward to diving into the stories by 30 new voices, the shortlist of SBS’s Emerging Writers’ Competition in 2022.
On is an arts journalist, critic, editor and poet. She’s the reviews editor for online publication, ArtsHub. She has two poetry collections published by University of Western Australia Publishing (UWAP). Turbulence (2020) and Decadence (2022).
Mandy Ord | The Language of Poetry | 9 November, 10:30am
I’m reading Stone Yard Devotional by Charlotte Wood. I’m a die-hard fan of Charlotte’s writing since reading The Weekend so I dove straight into this book. I just love her humour and how her words make me feel. I’m drawn in by the voice of the narrator and I’m also really intrigued by nuns.
Ord is a Naarm (Melbourne) based illustrator and cartoonist with a long history of self-publishing. Her book When One Person Dies The Whole World Is Over (2019) was longlisted for the Stella Prize in 2020 and shortlisted for the Small Press Book Network Book of the Year in 2021. Her first illustrated children’s book Chalk Boy, published by Allen & Unwin and written by Margaret Wild was shortlisted for Picture Book of the Year in 2019 by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Her most recent book of short stories Bulk Nuts is published by Gazebo Books.
Fiona Sweet | The Story of the Stella Prize | 9 November, 4pm
I’ve just finished The Lovers by Yumna Kassab. Her use of language and the imagery is simply beautiful. Every time I have read this book, I have found something new to cherish — and I’m sure I’ll read it again before the year ends.
Sweet is the Executive Director and CEO of Stella. She is the former Artistic Director and CEO of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale. Fiona is the founder of Sweet Creative, and co-founder of Melbourne’s Acland Street Projection Festival. She is a former Board Director of the Australian Graphic Design Association, the Melbourne Fringe, and is a current board member of the Melbourne Jewish Book Week.
Stella Day Out is proudly supported by Bonsoy, Creative Victoria, MECCA M-POWER and Readings.