The tenth annual Stella Prize was last night awarded to First Nations author Evelyn Araluen, for her book Dropbear.

Araluen is not the first Indigenous author to take home the award. In 2018, the prize went to Alexis Wright for her innovative biography of the charismatic Aboriginal activist ‘Tracker’ Tilmouth. But Dropbear is a watershed for the Stella Prize in another respect.

This is the first year the prize has been open to works of poetry as well as prose. Araluen’s book emerged triumphant from a highly competitive shortlist notable for its impressive stylistic diversity.

Araluen’s winning book is sure to be a popular and widely discussed winner. As Camilla Nelson from the University of Notre Dame writes, Dropbear switches between genres to powerful effect. Araluen’s writing is a startling mix of righteous anger and acerbic humour that sets out to dismantle the sustaining myths of colonial Australia with gusto. As the chair of the judging panel observed, Dropbear is a “wild ride”.

James Ley

Deputy Editor: Books + Ideas

First Nations poet Evelyn Araluen wins the 2022 Stella Prize with a ‘wild ride’ skewering colonial mythologies

Camilla Nelson, University of Notre Dame Australia

Evelyn Araluen’s award-winning book Dropbear is a sizzling collection of poetry and prose that is both deeply funny and deadly serious.

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