Stellar Stella: And The Winner Is…

Stellar Stella: And The Winner Is…

It has just been announced that a fascinating memoir about a damaged family has won one of publishing’s biggest awards…

Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s memoir The Erratics has been announced as the winner of the 2019 Stella Prize. The $50,000 Stella prize is a major literary award that celebrates Australian women’s writing and champions cultural change.

The Erratics tells Laveau-Harvie’s story of returning to her ageing, estranged parents halfway across the world and the conflict of loyalty, love, obligation and damage that ensues.

Louise Swinn, Chair of the 2019 Stella Judging Panel, says of the winning book: “Set against the bitter cold of a Canadian winter, Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s The Erratics mines the psychological damage wrought on a nuclear family by a monstrous personality. Despite the dark subject matter, this book has a smile at its core, and Laveau-Harvie shows constant wit when depicting some harrowing times. The narrator somehow manages to see all viewpoints, and we are rewarded with an evocative and expansive view of a family that has more than its fair share of dysfunction. The writing throughout is of a consistently high standard and we were constantly delighted by this surprise of a book.”

The titles on the shortlist served as a response to the under-representation of female voices in society as well as within the literary landscape, each book exploring a host of unique ideas, ranging from identity and family, to disaster and trauma. This year’s six extraordinary shortlisted books by Australian women were:
• Little Gods by Jenny Ackland (Allen & Unwin)
• The Bridge by Enza Gandolfo (Scribe Publishing)
• Pink Mountain on Locust Island by Jamie Marina Lau (Brow Books)
• The Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie (Fourth Estate)
• Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko (UQP)
• Axiomatic by Maria Tumarkin (Brow Books)

To read more about the Stella Prize, visit the website

 

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              Synopsis

              ‘We've been disowned and disinherited: there's not changing it, I say. When something bad happens to them, we'll know soon enough and we'll deal with it together. I don't realise it at the time, but when I say that, I imply I care. I imply there may be something to be salvaged. I misspeak. But I'm flying out anyway. Blood calls to blood; what can I tell you.’This is a memoir about a dysfunctional family, about a mother and her daughters. But make no mistake. This is like no mother-daughter relationship you know.When Vicki Laveau-Harvie's elderly mother is hospitalised unexpectedly, Vicki and her sister travel to their parents' isolated ranch home in Alberta, Canada, to help their father. Estranged from their parents for many years, Vicki and her sister are horrified by what they discover on their arrival. For years, Vicki's mother has camouflaged her manic delusions and savage unpredictability, and over the decades she has managed to shut herself and her husband away from the outside world, systematically starving him and making him a virtual prisoner in his own home. Vicki and her sister have a lot to do, in very little time, to save their father. And at every step they have to contend with their mother, whose favourite phrase during their childhood was: 'I'll get you and you won't even know I'm doing it.'A ferocious, sharp, darkly funny and wholly compelling memoir of families, the pain they can inflict and the legacy they leave, The Erratics has the tightly coiled, compressed energy of an explosive device - it will take your breath away.
              Vicki Laveau-Harvie
              About the author

              Vicki Laveau-Harvie

              Books by Vicki Laveau-Harvie

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