Here’s the 2012 Shortlist for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, announced today. Congratulations to all the authors, editors and publishers!
Cold Light by Frank Moorhouse (Vintage/Random House Australia) (I’m currently reading this one.)
The following is taken from the Press Release:
“Announced at the State Library of New South Wales, the 2012 shortlist features five works of fiction and includes a mixture of well-established Australian authors and first time novelists.
“Established by writer, Miles Franklin, to support and encourage authors of Australian literature, the Miles Franklin Literary Award is Australia’s oldest and most prestigious literary prize. The winner of the award will receive $50,000 for the novel of the year judged to be of the highest literary merit which “must present Australian life in any of its phases”.
“For the first time this year the five person judging panel were formally authorised by the Trustee to use their discretion to modernise the interpretation of Australian life beyond geographical boundaries to include mindset, language, history and values.
“Judging the 2012 Miles Franklin Literary Award is Richard Neville, State Library of New South Wales Mitchell Librarian, Professor Gillian Whitlock, Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow at the University of Queensland, Murray Waldren, journalist and columnist at The Australian newspaper, Anna Low, a Sydney based bookseller and Dr Julianne Schultz AM, founding editor of Griffith REVIEW.
“Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, Gillian Whitlock said: “This year we had a big longlist that made the judging panel reflect on the power of historical fiction, extending from the colonial period through to memories of the world wars and their aftermath. We see this reflected in the shortlisted fictions by Anna Funder and Frank Moorhouse.
” “We also see more contemporary lives explored with a turn to trauma narratives and childhood, in the shortlisted novels by Tony Birch, Favel Parrett and Gillian Mears.
” “The breadth of the shortlist includes well-known and loved Australian authors and includes the end of one of the great historical trilogies in Cold Light, as well as featuring two wonderful first time novelists.
” “The Miles Franklin prize is now more than ever a national celebration of Australian writing.”
“John Atkin, CEO of The Trust Company, commended the five shortlisted authors on their challenging and evocative novels, “The Trust Company is extremely proud to be associated with the Miles Franklin Award and as Trustee we are constantly working to maintain and develop the legacy Miles Franklin entrusted us with for the advancement of Australian literature.
” “As part of that role we have been looking at the ambiguity around “Australian life in any of its phases”. It has been much cause for debate and there has been a traditionally conservative interpretation of the quote. I wrote to the judges authorising them to use their discretions to modernise the interpretation of “Australianess” beyond geographical boundaries to include mindset, language, history and values, as is in keeping with the current Australian literary landscape.”
“Each of the shortlisted authors will be awarded $5,000 prize money from Copyright Agency Limited’s Cultural Fund, a long term partner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award.
“The shortlist events at National Library of Australia, Canberra on 29 May, also sponsored by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund include a public meet the author event.
“The winner will be announced in Brisbane on 20 June 2012 at the State Library of Queensland”.
Many thanks to Rachel Caton of Honner Media for this information.
The irony of the announcement’s venue being Queensland, so recently the subject of a furore over the new Premier’s decision to axe the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award, is not lost of any of us in the literary community.
PS I confess to some disappointment about some omissions. I know a shortlist has to be short, and there are always some worthy books that just don’t make it, but still … I think it’s a shame they left out
- Animal People by Charlotte Wood, (see my review),
- Spirit House by Mark Dapin, (see my review) and (since they’ve tinkered with the terms of Miles Franklin’s criteria, which I don’t think they should have done) also
- The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman, see my review.
And I’m still bemused by the omission of The Roving Party by Rohan Wilson from the longlist!