When Caro Llewellyn began writing her memoir, Diving into Glass, she envisioned it as about her father, Richard. It was telling his story but also what it was like for her to grow up with a man who was profoundly paralysed.
“Then halfway through – voila and lo and behold – I get diagnosed with MS and am looking at a similar future. I had to process all of that and realised it changed the whole nature of the book. I couldn’t tell his story without telling my story.”
Now Diving into Glass has been shortlisted for the eighth annual $50,000 Stella Prize for writing by Australian women along with five other titles: See What You Made Me Do by Jess Hill, an investigation of domestic abuse in Australia; There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett, a novel about two sisters, separated in their teens and living in Prague and Melbourne; Here Until August by Josephine Rowe, a collection of short stories; The Yield by Tara June Winch, a novel immersed in Indigenous language and story; and The Weekend by previous Stella winner Charlotte Wood.
The judges said the books were all outward-looking: “They tell stories – of illness, family life, friendship, domestic abuse and more – in remarkable ways.”