“The world is in crisis but our artists are expressing themselves as powerfully and eloquently as ever…”
That’s the message from the judging panel tasked with the unenviable duty of selecting the winner of the 2020 Stella Prize. This year, journalist Jess Hill took home the $50,000 prize for See What You Made Me Do, her ground-breaking work exploring domestic violence in Australia.
Hill has been writing on the subject since 2014, and the non-fiction work is the result of investigations into the victims, the perpetrators and the systems that ignore the former and protect the latter. Since it’s publication last year, See What You Made Me Do has been popping up on award longlists all over, lauded for its handling of a deeply tragic and deeply shameful part of Australian culture.
“…I wrote this book because it needed to be written,” Hill said. “I was tired of hearing victim survivors say that their friends and family couldn’t understand what they’ve been through, why they’ve made the choices they’ve made. And in the forty years since the first shelter had opened in Australia, nobody had written a book that revealed the private and public phenomenon of domestic abuse, and I felt like that had to be rectified.”
Hosted by Patricia Karvelas, and featuring Julia Gillard as guest speaker, the announcement was streamed through Guardian Live. You can watch the full announcement, including Hill’s acceptance speech, below!
First awarded in 2013, the Stella Prize was created to help counter the lack of female authors seen on award lists. Celebrating the very best in Australian women’s writing, the Stella Prize covers both fiction and non-fiction, with the yearly winner taking home a $50,000 prize.
This year’s judging panel was chaired by writer and publisher Louise Swinn, and consisted of NITV News editor and Guardian columnist Jack Latimore, memoirst and Feminartsy founding editor Zoya Patel, poet and educator Leni Shilton, and Walkley Award winning journalist Monica Attard.
For more info on the prize, including the full shortlist and longlist, see the Stella Prize website.
Header image: ABC (Jack Fisher)