Australia launches Stella Prize for women's writing

Australia's first major literary prize for women's writing, the Stella Prize, said to be "inspired by the hugely successful UK Women's Prize for Fiction", will be awarded in 2013.

The $50,000 prize, named after My Brilliant Career author Stella Maria Miles Franklin, will be open to fiction and non-fiction books by an Australian woman published in 2012. The inaugural founding patron is Ellen Koshland and the Koshland Innovation Fund.

Stella Prize chair Aviva Tuffield said the prize hoped to "erode the self-perpetuating cycle of underrepresentation that confronts all women writers." 

Tuffield said: "The Stella Prize will raise the profile and the sales of books by women. We want to encourage future generations of women writers, by increasing the recognition for Australian women's writing and supporting strong female role models. We also want to celebrate women's contribution to Australian literature."

Author Kate Grenville (pictured) will be a member of the inaugural judging panel.

The UK's Women's Prize for Fiction recently announced it would be privately funded by individual donors for 2013, after losing its headline sponsorship from Orange.