• arts & culture

16 April 2018

Melbourne-based author Alexis Wright has been awarded the 2018 Stella Prize for her biography of Aboriginal leader, visionary and entrepreneur Tracker Tilmouth.

Alexis Wright

2018 Stella Prize winner, Alexis Wright

Alexis has been commended for creating a new way of writing memoir, embedding Aboriginal traditions of oral and collective storytelling. Tracker weaves a multitude of first-person accounts about the legendary figure.

Fiona Stager, Chair of the judging panel, says of the winning book: “This extraordinary, majestic book has been composed by Wright from interviews with family, friends, foes and Tilmouth himself. It is one man’s story told by many voices, almost operatic in scale. With a tight narrative structure, compelling real-life characters, the book sings with insight and Tracker’s characteristic humour. Wright has crafted an epic that is a truly rewarding read.”

About the author

Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Her previous books include Grog War, a study of alcohol abuse in Tennant Creek, and the novels Plains of Promise, The Swan Book and Carpentaria, which won the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Victorian and Queensland Premiers’ Literary Awards, and the ALS Gold Medal, and was published in the US, UK, China, Italy, France, Spain and Poland.

Alexis is currently the Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne.

About the prize

In 2018, the Stella Prize marks its sixth year of celebrating Australian women’s contribution to literature.This year’s Stella Prize judges include – co-owner of bookshop Avid Reader, Fiona Stager (Chair); author Julie Koh; editor and writer and poet Ellen van Neerven; writer and critic James Ley, and writer, editor and publisher Louise Swinn.

The judges considered over 170 entries which were narrowed down to a shortlist of six, including:

  • The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar (Wild Dingo Press)
  • Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman (Hachette Australia)
  • Tracker by Alexis Wright (Giramondo)
  • The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser (Allen & Unwin)
  • An Uncertain Grace by Krissy Kneen (Text Publishing)
  • The Fish Girl by Mirandi Riwoe (Seizure)

Each of the shortlistees received $3000 and a three-week writing retreat supported by the Trawalla Foundation. Alexis has been awarded $50,000 for the overall prize.

More about the prize