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Miles Franklin Literary Award 2017 Shortlist Announced

Miles Franklin Award 2017 Longlist_Blog Header


The shortlisted titles for the 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award were announced on Sunday 18 June at the Australian Booksellers Association Conference Gala Dinner.  The Award was established in 1954 by the estate of My Brilliant Career author Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin to celebrate the Australian character and creativity. It supports the betterment of Australian literature by each year recognising the novel of the highest literary merit which presents Australian Life in any of its phases.

This year’s judging panel is comprised of State Library of NSW Mitchell Librarian, Richard Neville, The Australian journalist and columnist, Murray Waldren, Sydney bookseller, Lindy Jones, book critic Dr Melinda Harvey and Emeritus Professor, Susan Sheridan.  Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, Mr Neville said: “Like all great literature, the five novels on the 2017 Miles Franklin shortlist explore the restorative power of love, the pernicious influence of the past upon the present, the tragedy of the present avoiding the past, the challenge of unconventional identities, the interweaving of lives across communities, the devastation of grief, and the warzone that is the media, masculinity and a small country town. Yet again the shortlist celebrates the diversity of voices and approaches to writing about Australian life. None of these novels draw on familiar tropes of Australian literature – yet each brings a distinctive pitch of truth and insight into the Australian experience.”

The 2017 Shortlisted titles and author are:

  • An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire

  • The Last Days of Ava Langdon by Mark O’Flynn

  • Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill

  • Waiting by Philip Salom

  • Extinctions by Josephine Wilson

 The winner will be announced on 7 September at the State Library of NSW.

Miles Franklin shortlistees and books

L-R: Ryan O’Neill, Mark O’Flynn, Emily Maguire, Josephine Wilson and Philip Salom


9781743538579An Isolated Incident
Emily Maguire

When 25-year-old Bella Michaels is brutally murdered in the small town of Strathdee, the community is stunned and a media storm descends. Unwillingly thrust into the eye of that storm is Bella’s beloved older sister, Chris, a barmaid at the local pub, whose apparent easy going nature conceals hard-won wisdom and the kind of street-smarts only experience can bring. As Chris is plunged into despair and searches for answers, reasons, explanation – anything – that could make even the smallest sense of Bella’s death, her ex-husband, friends and neighbours do their best to support her. But as the days tick by with no arrest, Chris’s suspicion of those around her grows. An Isolated Incident is a psychological thriller about everyday violence, the media’s obsession with pretty dead girls, the grip of grief and the myth of closure, and the difficulties of knowing the difference between a ghost and a memory, between a monster and a man.

About the author:

Emily Maguire is the author of the novels Taming the Beast (2004), an international bestseller and finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Kathleen Mitchell Award, The Gospel According to Luke (2006), Smoke in the Room (2009) and Fishing for Tigers (2012). Emily enjoys a high-profile in Australia as a social commentator, with her articles and essays on sex, religion and culture having been published in newspapers and journals including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Financial Review, The Big Issue and The Griffith Review.


Last Days of Ava Langdon

The Last Days of Ava Langdon
Mark O’Flynn

Ava Langdon is often not herself. Having fled her early life in New Zealand and endured the loss of her children, she now lives as a recluse in the Blue Mountains. Regarded by locals as a colourful eccentric, she dresses in men’s clothes and fearlessly pursues her artistic path. All that matters to Ava is her writing. Words offer beauty and a sense of possibility when so much has been lost. But can they offer her redemption in her last days? Poetic, poignant, and at times bitingly funny, The Last Days of Ava Langdon takes us into the mind of a true maverick.

About the author:

Mark O’Flynn’s fiction and poetry have been widely published in Australian journals as well as overseas. His novels include Grassdogs and The Forgotten World, and he has published five collections of poems, most recently The Soup’s Song. He has also published the comic memoir False Start and a collection of short fiction, White Light. He lives in the Blue Mountains.


Their Brilliant CareersTheir Brilliant Careers
Ryan O’Neill

Absurd, original and highly addictive . . .

In Their Brilliant Careers, Ryan O’Neill has written a hilarious novel in the guise of sixteen biographies of (invented) Australian writers. Meet Rachel Deverall, who discovered the secret source of the great literature of our time – and paid a terrible price for her discovery. Meet Rand Washington, hugely popular sci-fi author (of Whiteman of Cor) and inveterate racist. Meet Addison Tiller, master of the bush yarn, “The Chekhov of Coolabah”, who never travelled outside Sydney. Their Brilliant Careers is a playful set of stories, linked in many ways, which together form a memorable whole. A wonderful comic tapestry of the writing life, this unpredictable and intriguing work takes Australian writing in a whole new direction . . .

About the author:

Ryan O’Neill is the author of The Weight of a Human Heart and Their Brilliant Careers. He was born in Glasgow in 1975 and has lived in Africa, Europe and Asia before settling in Newcastle, Australia, with his wife and two daughters. His fiction has appeared in The Best Australian Stories, The Sleepers Almanac, Meanjin, New Australian Stories, Wet Ink, Etchings and Westerly. His work has won the Hal Porter and Roland Robinson awards and been shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Steele Rudd Award and the Age Short-Story Prize. He teaches at the University of Newcastle.


waitingWaiting
Philip Salom

Waiting is a story of two odd couples in prose as marvellously idiosyncratic as its characters. Big is a hefty cross-dresser and Little is little. Both are long used to the routines of boarding house life in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, but Little, with the prospect of an inheritance, is beginning to indulge in the great Australian dream, which has Big worried. Little’s cousin, Angus, is a solitary man who designs lake-scapes for city councils, and strangely constructed fireproof houses for the bushfire zone. A handy man, he meets Jasmin an academic who races in her ideas as much as in her runners. Her head is set on publishing books on semiotics and her heart is turned towards her stalled personal life. All four are waiting, for something if not someone.

About the author:

Philip Salom is a poet and novelist originally from Western Australia. Several of his collections have won national and international acclaim, including the Commonwealth Poetry prize in London, and his two previous novels between them have won the WA Premier’s Prize, a Canberra Times Book of the Year, and shortlisting for the ASL Gold Medal. His recent poetry collection Alterworld is a trilogy of his earlier major works Sky Poems and The Well Mouth and the new Alterworld. He was awarded the Christopher Brennan award for “poetry of sustained quality and distinction.” His novel Waiting is set in North Melbourne, where he now lives.


ExtinctionsExtinctions
Josephine Wilson

He hated the word ‘retirement’, but not as much as he hated the word ‘village’, as if ageing made you a peasant or a fool. Herein lives the village idiot. Professor Frederick Lothian, retired engineer, world expert on concrete and connoisseur of modernist design, has quarantined himself from life by moving to a retirement village. His wife, Martha, is dead and his two adult children are lost to him in their own ways. Surrounded and obstructed by the debris of his life – objects he has collected over many years and tells himself he is keeping for his daughter – he is determined to be miserable, but is tired of his existence and of the life he has chosen. When a series of unfortunate incidents forces him and his neighbour, Jan, together, he begins to realise the damage done by the accumulation of a lifetime’s secrets and lies, and to comprehend his own shortcomings. Finally, Frederick Lothian has the opportunity to build something meaningful for the ones he loves. Humorous, poignant and galvanising by turns, Extinctions is a novel about all kinds of extinction – natural, racial, national and personal – and what we can do to prevent them.

About the author:

Josephine Wilson is a Perth-based writer. Her writing career began in the area of performance. Her early works included The Geography of Haunted Place, with Erin Hefferon, and Customs. Her first novel was Cusp, (UWA Publishing, 2005). Josephine has lectured and taught in the tertiary sector. She is the busy parent of two children and works as a sessional staff member at Curtin University, where she teaches in the Humanities Honours Program, in Creative Writing and in Art and Design history. She completed her Masters of Philosophy at Queensland University and her PhD at UWA. Her novel Extinctions (UWA Publishing, 2016) was the winner of the inaugural Dorothy Hewett Prize.

 

 

 

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