Stella is a major voice for gender equality and cultural change in Australian literature.
Founded in 2012, the organisation’s flagship program is the annual Stella Prize – a major literary award celebrating Australian women’s writing.
Stella also delivers a suite of year-round initiatives which actively champion Australian women writers, tackle gender bias in the literary sector, and connect outstanding books with readers.
Through a series of strategic initiatives, Stella strives to promote books by Australian women and non-binary writers, support greater participation in the world of literature, and create a more equitable and vibrant national culture. We do this by:
Supporting women writers
At Stella, we know women need two precious resources to write: time and space. Each year, Stella awards significant funds directly to women writers through the Stella Prize, which can literally buy them time to write their next book – as well as writing residencies that offer a much-needed break from daily life to dedicate to creative projects.
To read our statement on gender please click the following link https://stella.org.au/2022/08/reflections-and-resources-on-gender/
Growing readership for women writers
Women writers make an invaluable contribution to Australian literature and cultural life. Through our public events and digital platforms, Stella raises the profile of women writers, drives significant book sales, and connects them to an ever-growing community of readers.
Driving systemic change
Stella recognises that high-quality research is critical to tackling gender bias and promoting positive change. Our data-driven initiatives – including our long-running Stella Count – collect, analyse, and distribute research on gender bias in the Australian literary sector in order to inform, and ultimately, shift approaches towards equal representation in the arts.
Increasing access to and participation in literature
We believe storytelling and reading are essential tools by which to understand ourselves, foster connections with others, and learn about the world around us. Through Stella’s work with teens and teachers, we seek to engage and inspire the next generation of readers and writers, and create lasting pathways to participation in the world of literature.
Cultural safety, equity and inclusion
Stella celebrates women and non-binary writers’ place in Australian literature to create a vibrant and equitable national culture. Stella drives significant cultural change by elevating the work of Australian women and non-binary writers. Storytelling and reading are tools to understand ourselves, foster connections with others, and create a better world. We promote greater access to, and participation in, the world of books and writing to combat gender bias in society.
Across our programs, Stella works with both women and non-binary writers. We recognise that what it means to be a woman is not static and that rigid gender binaries reinforce inequality. Stella advocates for a nuanced and respectful conversation about gender and gender bias – a complex and evolving cultural issue. Further resources and reflections on gender are available here.
Sexism and gender-bias don’t occur in isolation. Discrimination based on gender, race, age, class, socioeconomic status, disability, sexuality, religion, and ethnicity intersects and overlaps in complex ways. Women and non-binary people face structural barriers and societal biases in relation to their unique lived experiences of these – and other – factors. Stella opposes all forms of discrimination and takes an intersectional feminist approach to privilege and discrimination. We are committed to actively dismantling structural barriers to inclusion for women and non-binary writers, and acknowledge the overlapping barriers faced by women and non-binary writers with intersectional lived experience.
In pursuing our cultural change agenda, we are committed to creating a culturally safe, equitable and inclusive environment. Stella relies on and actively engages with a broad community, including our staff, board, judges, volunteers, partners, donors, sponsors, and other supporters. It is critical that this engagement in founded on respect; recognising each other’s essential human dignity in the context of differing lived experience and perspectives. All members should feel that they are safe in their identity, are treated equitably, and are a valued part of our Stella community. We are committed to promoting the well-being of all members of our community. We recognise that we are all responsible for engaging with respect, openness, nuance, humility, curiosity, and a willingness to listen. Doing so will strengthen our understanding of one another, cultivate greater respect and nurture deeper connections. This approach aligns with Stella’s commitment to celebrate women and non-binary writers’ place in Australian literature, and ultimately, to create a vibrant and equitable national culture.