Winner of the 2017 Stella Prize

The Museum of Modern Love – Heather Rose

Fiction · Allen & Unwin

Museum of Modern Love

About the book

This novel is an unusual and remarkable achievement, a meditation on the social, spiritual and artistic importance of seeing and being seen, and listening for voices from the present and past that may or may not be easy to hear.

– 2017 Stella Prize Judges

Heather Rose

About the author

Heather Rose

The Museum of Modern Love is Heather Rose’s seventh book. Her work spans adult literary fiction, children’s literature, fantasy/sci-fi and crime. Her previous novels include White Heart (1999), The Butterfly Man (2005) and The River Wife (2009). She is co-author (with Danielle Wood) of the acclaimed Tuesday McGillycuddy series for children (written under the pen-name Angelica Banks and published internationally).

Heather won the Davitt Award in 2006, and her work has been shortlisted for the Nita B. Kibble Award and the Aurealis Awards, and longlisted for the IMPAC Award. She was a recipient of Varuna’s Eleanor Dark Fellowship and was the inaugural Writer in Residence at the Museum of Old and New Art (MoNA) in Hobart from 2012 to 2013 where she did much of the research for The Museum of Modern Love. Heather is currently studying Fine Arts at UTAS.

Further Reading


“From its conception to its last page, the book challenges our perceptions of where life ends and art begins (if they were ever separate to begin with). As readers, we sometimes find ourselves in the atrium, keenly observing from the periphery, or we find ourselves pulled along in the currents of all these connected lives. When the book is at its most powerful, we’re also invited into the centre, asked if we’d like to take a seat and meet the gaze.” Dominic Smith,The Australian

“The Museum of Modern Love is more than just that rare treat, a book that requires something of the reader – it is a book that painstakingly prepares you for its own requirements. In a playful way, this bold new novel by Heather Rose is an astute meditation on art, bravery, friendship, love, how to live, and on dying.” Louise Swinn, Sydney Morning Herald

“It’s true that the subject matter is fascinating in itself but Heather Rose deserves credit for taking the initial inspiration to create her own thoughtful, multi-layered work; deftly grabbing the reader’s attention right from the beginning and sustaining the multiple narrative threads throughout. The theme of connection is predominant and I found the most significant part of the novel to be how the characters respond to the exhibition and whether they are able to take that experience into their own lives (i.e. truly connect art to life).” Amanda Rayner, Readings


Read the full transcript of Heather Rose‘s beautiful acceptance speech upon winning the 2017 Stella Prize or listen on the Stella Podcast

Read Chair of Judges Brenda Walker’s speech announcing Heather as the winner.

Listen to Heather discuss Marina Abramovic and The Museum of Modern Love on Books and Arts

Read a review of Heather’s work to date and her ‘mischievous artistry’ on the Sydney Review of Books

Heather shares her five most cherished artworks on Radio National

Heather shares the creative process and inspiration behind The Museum of Modern Love in the Sydney Morning Herald

Heather’s tips on how to survive as a novelist, on ABC Hobart

Judges’ report

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