Stella Prize Winner Clare Wright features at the Byron Bay Writers Festival

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Melbourne historian and author Clare Wright, winner of the recently announced 2014 Stella Award, will feature prominently at Byron Bay Writers Festival.

Festival Director Edwina Johnson is thrilled Wright is part of the literary line-up. ‘Although we are still finalising the programme, Clare will feature in at least three sessions. We’ve assembled a brilliant group of history experts for a specialist panel. I’m so looking forward to Clare’s poignant and fascinating insights into the often overlooked role of women in history.’

Wright won the $50,000 Stella prize for her ground-breaking book The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka which tells the story of the Eureka Stockade from the female point of view.

Kerryn Goldsworthy, chair of the 2014 Stella Prize judging panel, says: ‘The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka sheds a bright new light on a dark old Australian story. In her account of the Eureka Stockade and the years leading up to it, historian Clare Wright revisits that well-trodden territory from an entirely new perspective, unearthing images, portraits and stories of the women of 1850s Ballarat and the parts they played, not only in its society but also in its public life, as they ran newspapers, theatres and hotels with energy and confidence.’

Wright says of her win: ‘No one writes books to win prizes, but of all the prizes on offer, I reckon this one is the sweetest of all. The Stella Prize is like the Brownlow Medal of the literary world: all muscle and spine, with a touch of glamour. Without fail, the books on the 2014 Stella short and long lists demonstrate astonishing grunt, tenacity, courage, grace, vision, skill and sheer determination to reveal the world at its potential fairest. The Stella helps to keep the playing field at its level best. I am honoured to be in the company of these brilliant authors.’

In her acceptance speech Wright announced that she would donate 10% of the prize money to be split between two organisations close to her heart, the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (the Byron Bay Writers Festival charity partner) and Northcote High School.

This is the first time a non-fiction book has won the Stella prize.

Wright’s first book, Beyond the Ladies Lounge: Australia’s Female Publicans, garnered both critical and popular acclaim. She researched, wrote and presented the ABC television documentary Utopia Girls and is currently writing a four-part series to commemorate the centenary of WWI for ABC1.

The Festival is being held from 1- 3 August with workshops commencing on 28 July. Early Bird tickets are only on sale until the full program is announced on 6 June.

For more Festival information or to purchase Early Bird tickets visit byronbaywritersfestival.com.au or call 1300 368 552.