Press Room


April 10, 2019

HarperCollins are delighted to announce that Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s memoir The Erratics has been awarded this year’s Stella Prize. Laveau-Harvie’s sharp, darkly funny and powerful book explores the universal themes of family, the pain they can inflict and the legacy they leave. Telling the story of a splintered family, a mother who is unlike any other, and her daughters who have no choice but to come to the rescue, The Erratics has been described as having the tightly compressed energy of an explosive device.


Louise Swinn, Chair of the 2019 Stella Judging Panel, says of The Erratics, ‘Set against the bitter cold of a Canadian winter, Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s The Erratics mines the psychological damage wrought on a nuclear family by a monstrous personality. Despite the dark subject matter, this book has a smile at its core, and Laveau-Harvie shows constant wit when depicting some harrowing times. The narrator somehow manages to see all viewpoints, and we are rewarded with an evocative and expansive view of a family that has more than its fair share of dysfunction. The writing throughout is of a consistently high standard and we were constantly delighted by this surprise of a book.’

Vicki Laveau-Harvie is only the second debut author to have won the Stella Prize in its seven-year history. Over the past seven years, the Stella Prize has become an influential and much-loved feature of the Australian literary calendar. Created to celebrate Australian women’s contribution to literature and named after one of Australia’s iconic female authors, Stella Maria Sarah ‘Miles’ Franklin, it has resulted in significantly boosting book sales and raising author profiles.


Of winning the 2019 Stella Prize, Laveau-Harvie says, ‘The Stella is a very generous prize — it is a gift of freedom to the winner. I’m going to use this gift to travel to places no one has ever heard of — places like Neche, North Dakota, in the U.S. — to find the traces of a hidden part of my heritage. I hope to find the threads of the next story I will tell, and that the themes of that story will be universal ones. This prize gives me the means to do that. I am grateful to all those who make the Stella Prize possible: for the hard work, belief, and dedication that make it a beacon and a force for good.’


Catherine Milne, HarperCollins Australia Head of Fiction says, ‘The Erratics is a dark, fractured gem of a book, all glinting, sharp observations and ferocious wit.  This book has been like a gift, twice over. I was thrilled that HarperCollins was able to give The Erratics its second life in print, and now I’m overjoyed for Vicki Laveau-Harvie that her rare diamond of a memoir has been awarded the Stella Prize. Publishing doesn’t get much better than this.’


This year’s Stella Prize judges included writer, editor, publisher and reviewer Louise Swinn (chair); former bookseller and LGBTIQ Health Promotion Officer Amelia Lush; award-winning writer Michelle de Kretser; journalist, radio broadcaster and writer Daniel Browning; and award-winning investigative journalist Kate McClymont. The judges selected a longlist of twelve books from more than 170 original entries, which they narrowed down to a shortlist of six. Along with The Erratics, the shortlisted books include Little Gods by Jenny Ackland (Allen&Unwin), The Bridge by Enza Gandolfo (Scribe Publishing), Pink Mountain on Locust Island by Jamie Marina Lau (Brow Books), Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko (UQP) and Axiomatic by Maria Tumarkin (Brow Books).



Vicki Laveau-Harvie was born in Canada and lived for many years in France before settling in Australia. She has three passports and treasures the unique perspective this quirk of fate affords her. In France, she worked as a translator and a business editor, despite being a specialist in 18th century French literature. In Sydney, she lectured in French Studies at Macquarie University. After retiring, she taught ethics in a primary school. She has won prizes for short fiction and poetry. Her memoir, The Erratics, won the 2018 Finch Memoir Prize and has been shortlisted for the 2019 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, in addition to winning the 2019 Stella Prize. Vicki currently lives in Sydney with her family.



HarperCollins Publishers Australia and New Zealand is distinguished by a commitment to quality and creativity, as well as an innate understanding of what Australians and New Zealanders want to read, and how. Authors and their work have always been at the heart of our company – without authors there would be no HarperCollins. Publishing is a highly collaborative business: everyone in the company contributes in some way to maximising our authors’ work.


HarperCollins has an equally long heritage globally and today we work more closely than ever before with colleagues around the world to ensure that our local titles are exploited internationally. The modern-day HarperCollins Publishers was founded in 1989 by the amalgamation of three proud publishing houses – Harper & Row (founded in New York in 1817), William Collins (founded in Glasgow in 1819) and Angus & Robertson (founded in Sydney in the 1880s).


For more information or to request an interview with Vicki Laveau-Harvie, please contact:

Lara Wallace, Non-Fiction Campaign Manager
HarperCollins Publishers Australia
Mobile: 0428 088 201
e: [email protected]


April 10, 2019