The Stella Prize, the Australian literary award for female authors, has published its 2017 longlist, which is marked in tone by writers unwilling to shy away from the serious political issues blighting Australia today – from the treatment of refugees to violence against women. The twelve authors on the list for the $50,000 prize can be viewed here.

In other book news:

Last week literary analysis combined with illustrative skill to produce a realistic portrait of Jane Austen’s Mr Darcy – to many people’s consternation. The character who has wooed readers for generations, and been depicted as every bit the male romantic ideal, has been revealed as a rather scrawny, thin-lipped, ordinary figure. Described in Pride and Prejudice as ‘good looking and gentlemanlike’, researchers dug into the historical context of these terms to capture a more accurate image of the man. The project was commissioned by the Drama Channel for its season on Austen.

Raymond Briggs, most famously the author of the children’s classics The Snowman and Father Christmas, was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award last week by the charity BookTrust.

In recent weeks, the Trump presidency in the States has caused a surge not only in sales for George Orwell’s 1984, but Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The Canadian author’s dystopian novel has returned to the best-seller list amid the current political situation in the US as well as interest in the upcoming television adaptation.

The 2017 Dylan Thomas prize now has a longlist, which includes many well-known authors. The prize awards an outstanding literary work in the English language written by an author 39 or younger (it is the largest prize in the world for young writers). This year, the longlist includes Jonathan Safran Foer for Here I Am, Helen Oyeyemi for What is Not Yours is Not Yours and Sarah Perry for The Essex Serpent, as well as nine other authors.

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