Tonight is the night! The Miles Franklin Literary Award will be announced in a ceremony this evening. The winner will receive $60,000 in prize money for the novel judged as being ‘of the highest literary merit’ and which presents ‘Australian life in any of its phases’.
Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, author and literary critic, Dr Bernadette Brennan, said:
“The 2019 shortlist showcases a diverse and exciting range of Australian voices and experiences. Each writer has been unafraid to take risks in their narrative, in one or more of structure, subject matter or style. These books celebrate, for the most part, some of the complex, disparate and urgent aspects of contemporary Australian life.”
Three of the six shortlisted titles are Picador; A Sand Archive by Gregory Day, Dyschronia by Jennifer Mills and A Stolen Season by Rodney Hall. It’s safe to say that we’re pretty chuffed to make up 50% of the shortlist.
Best of luck to Gregory, Jennifer and Rodney!
Get to know our three Picador authors and their books:
Seeking stories of Australia’s Great Ocean Road, a young writer stumbles across a curious manual whose author has dedicated a lifetime to the study of shifting sands – whether metaphorical and literal. Undoubtedly Gregory Day’s magnum opus, this ‘skilful, lyrical novel’ (The Australian) ‘unlocks a world both of sorrow and unexpected poetry’ (Sydney Morning Herald) in the life of its protagonist – a quiet Australian engineer who bears comparison to Sebald’s Jacques Austerlitz or Williams’ Professor Stoner.
In an uncomfortably prescient scene, Dyschronia opens with a massive environmental disaster. The sea has receded, stranding a small beach town miles inland, surrounded by dying marine lifeforms. Flashing between a sort of Grecian chorus of the townsfolk who opt to remain, and the visions of their home-grown Cassandra – this book is a breathtakingly ‘daring, original and ambitious’ (The Australian) speculative novel about certainly scary state of our future given our inability to heed the warnings of our prophets.
Master stylist Rodney Hall is no stranger to the Miles Franklin longlist. His diverse and ambitious oeuvre has made the shortlist seven times. His novels Just Relations and The Grisly Wife won the award in 1982 and 1994 respectively. This bated novel of three lives experiencing the triumph and catastrophe of the book’s title has been called ‘an unsettling triptych… a triumph of daring and narrative skill’ (The Age) and ‘outstanding and inimitable’ (ABR).