Tasmanian author Heather Rose has taken out the Stella Prize, a prestigious prize for women in literature.
Announced last night, Rose won $50,000 for her book The Museum of Modern Love.
Receiving the award was an acknowledgement and encouragement Rose said, describing it as a breakthrough moment.
“It’s hard to express how profound that feels for a writer because we don't write for prizes, we write because we love to write, we love to communicate with our readers; and then these rare, precious and extremely lucky moments, if they happen in a lifetime it’s a miracle,” she said.
Rose said Tasmania has played a vital role in her creative life.
“The wellspring of creativity that exists in Tasmania that has nurtured me; my writing colleagues, my colleagues in the arts, that has all been pivotal in helping me explore my creativity but also has so enriched my experience of being a writer and being in the creative field,” she said.
“I also share this sense of success with all those writers in Tasmania who write against the odds in a regional part of Australia and who may think they're never going to have a breakthrough.
“If it can happen to one of us, it can happen to any of us.”
The Stella Prize judges described Rose’s book as, "An unusual and remarkable achievement, a meditation on the social, spiritual and artistic importance of seeing and being seen, and listening for voices from the present and past that may or may not be easy to hear."
The Museum of Modern Love was inspired by performance artist Marina Abramovic, and Rose told The Sunday Examiner in February it was an 11-year labour of love.
In her acceptance speech, Rose shared her own experience of writing and her thoughts on the value of writing in modern society.
“In a world where, I believe, the pen is still mightier than the AK47, it remains, no matter the challenges, our task to tell our stories,” she said.
“To reflect the human experience. To find what is common and what is uncommon. To explore the past, be with the present, to imagine the future.
“Whether that is in fiction or nonfiction is immaterial. It’s the work that speaks that matters.
“And if we do not foster our creativity when we hear it calling – whether in our children or as adults – then the world is poorer for it.”
Winning the prize will take Rose’s work to new audiences, allowing new people to discover her writing.
“It will mean that my work is going further afield and that is every writer's dream,” Rose told The Examiner on Wednesday.