The $50,000 prize was awarded last night (Tuesday 14 April) during the 2020 Stella Prize Announcement broadcast. Hosted by Patricia Karvelas and featuring special guests, the Hon. Julia Gillard AC, Louise 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.
In announcing the prize, Chair of the 2020 judging panel, Louise Swinn said: “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,” she said.
“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,” said Ms Swinn.
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.
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.
“To be honoured by a prize that operates with the highest integrity is such a thrill,” said Jess Hill. “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.”
This year’s Stella Prize Judges include: writer, editor and publisher 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.
Previous winners of the Stella Prize include: Carrie Tiffany, 2013 (Mateship with Birds); Clare Wright, 2014 (The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka); Emily Bitto, 2015 (The Strays); Charlotte, 2016 (The Natural Way of Things); Heather Rose, 2017 (The Museum of Modern Love); Alexis Wright, 2018 (Tracker); and Vicki Laveau-Harvie, 2019 (The Erratics).
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. For more information, visit: www.thestellaprize.com.au for details.
Image: Jess Hill – courtesy of the Stella Prize