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Does the literary world need a women-only prize?

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Zawerbny hopes to present the inaugural Rosalind Prize in 2014.

That’s one year after Australia will award its first Stella Prize, that country’s first major literary award for women. Named after novelist Stella Maria Miles Franklin (“My Brilliant Career”), the $50,000 prize is open for both fiction and non-fiction.

“The Stella Prize will raise the profile and the sales of books by women,” Stella Prize Chair Aviva Tuffield said of the award, according to the blog IndieWire. “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.”

(Ironically, notes the U.K.’s Guardian, the prize is named after the same Stella Miles Franklin whose bequest launched the Australia’s most prestigious literary award, the Miles Franklin, which in recent years has come under attack for being a “sausage fest.” According to the paper, just 13 of the award’s 50 winners have been women. The Stella Prize, then, is something of a challenger to the established Miles Franklin.)

Both the Stella and the Rosalind awards were inspired, in part, by the U.K.’s Orange Prize, now known as Women’s Prize for Fiction, a literary award established in response to the 1991 all-male shortlist for the Booker Prize. Since its inauguration in 1996, that prize, say advocates, has helped push women writers into the mainstream.

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