Posted by: Lisa Hill | May 2, 2017

2017 Miles Franklin Award longlist

The Miles Franklin Award longlist has been announced, and contrary to my pessimistic expectations, I’ve read most of them!

Steven Amsterdam: The Easy Way Out, Hachette 2016, see my review

Emily McGuire: An Isolated Incident, Picador (Pan Macmillan), 2016, see my review

Mark O’Flynn: The Last Days of Ava Langdon, UQP (University of Queensland Press), 2016, see my review

Ryan O’Neill: Their Brilliant Careers, Black Inc Books, 2016 see my review

Josephine Rowe: A Loving, Faithful Animal, UQP (University of Queensland Press), 2016, see my review

Philip Salom: Waiting, Puncher and Wattman, 2016 – this one comes out of left field for me.  I haven’t heard anything about it, but the blurb at Fishpond sounds good so I’ve ordered it.  Update 2/6/17 See a Sensational Snippet here, the review is coming soon.  Update 5/6/17: Here’s my review, and yes, this is the one I think should win.

Inga Simpson: Where The Trees Were, Hachette, 2016

Kirsten Tranter: Hold, Fourth Estate, 2016

Josephine Wilson: Extinctions, UWAP (University of Western Australia Press, 2016), see my review

Congratulations to all the authors, editors and publishers!

PS FWIW Assuming they’re eligible, I would have added these two published in 2016 to the longlist:

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  1. And I’ve only read one, the wonderful Rowe, but I do have Maguire next to my bed. I haven’t heard of Waiting either. (It’s got a messy looking cover, but maybe in the flesh it looks better?)

    • Yes, indeed, apropos your post about book design and covers, Waiting’s cover is positively daggy. But I like the sound of it, and am pleased to see a small publisher getting some notice.
      I’ve been out at a talk at my local library with the wonderful Jane Edmonson, (from the ABC Garden show) but now I’m home again, I’m going to add in the publishers. I know that Extinctions is UWAP because I’ve just read an excited email from them – this is the first time ever that they’ve been nominated for the MF so they are very pleased indeed:)

      • PS I’ve done the publishers now: 2 from UQP and generally, small publishers have done well!

      • Well that’s interesting because they were the ones who said they weren’t going to submit books for awards anymore (as I reported in a Monday Musings a couple of months ago). Did they change their minds or did they enter this one before they made this decision. If the latter, will it make them rethink their decision?

        • It is interesting, yes…
          They may not have entered it themselves, an author can enter it I think?
          But it is noticeable that this year the small publishers have done better than in previous years, so perhaps there have been changes to make it cheaper for them to enter? It looks like there is a new awareness that it’s the small publishers who are publishing the most interesting things. It’s not big publishers who publish Ouyang Yu, Brian Castro, Gerald Murnane and Jane Rawson, is it?

          • Sorry to butt in here, but I was under the same impression as you ladies. However, I’ve since learned that UWAP will still submit their books for awards, but the author pays the costs. Poor author!

            • Or should I say, ‘Poorer author!’

              • Oh, that is hard. Part of the problem is the postage from WA, I suppose. I find when I post books to WA it’s more expensive than the east coast.
                I wonder…. Maybe there could a crowd-funding arrangement? I mean , I would have donated $10 towards Extinctions being entered and maybe other people would too?

                • Everything’s more expensive over here in the west, postage is the least of our worries!
                  Great idea about crowd-funding—certainly something to look into as there might be authors who don’t enter because of the cost.

            • Ah thanks for this Louise. That explains it – perhaps if the author gets longlisted they should refund half the costs, and if they are shortlisted they should refund all the costs!

              • I read today that UWAP made an exception with this one and paid the costs because it won the Hungerford award…
                But it just shows you, even university presses are feeling the pinch.

                • Ah good. Nice to see that they will make exceptions – though the “rule” is still a shame.

              • I’ll pass that suggestion onto my friend who’s just signed a publishing contract with them!

                • Actually, on reflection… it’s something that maybe the ASA should take a look at… authors having a consistent policy position that supports each other would probably be a good thing….

  2. I haven’t read Waiting or Hold. I hope to pick up Their Brilliant Careers tomorrow from my sister’s library. I am house and dog sitting for most of the month in Queensland.

    • Well, I’m unlikely to read either the Simpson or the Tranter because I’ve tried both authors (they’re reviewed on this blog) but, well, let’s just say I’d rather read something else.
      But maybe if they are shortlisted and I read an enthusiastic review from someone I trust, maybe I might change my mind.
      But Waiting, that interests me. Why haven’t I heard of it before?

  3. I want to read Extinctions. Thanks for this. I’m not much into prizewinners but this gives me some names to pick over

  4. Louise, I hesitate to offer any advice because I am outside the industry and know very little about how things actually work, but I do know a little bit about not letting employers rip off the workers! Authors are not employees, but they have to think strategically. I think it would be important for WA writers to have a consistent position on this: it’s one thing for a small publisher to make a case for authors to take on some or all of the expense of competition entries, and another thing entirely for big publishers like Random House or Hachette. It’s also important for competition organisers to be aware of the issue: some competitions have, for example, relaxed the rules about eBooks to reduce costs, and I think there might also be a reduced entry fee for books for small publishers. Ultimately what we need is much more philanthropy to support prizes and to make sure that it doesn’t all go to the winner but is spread across the admin costs as well.
    The other thing that would be really important for authors would be to have some kind of agreement not to flood the crowd funding ‘market’ with projects. I, for example, wouldn’t be in a position to pay $10 for 3,4, 5 or 10 entries! (It would also be important to maintain some kind of tactful quality control so that the books crowd-funded in this way were actually MF-worthy. (Yeah, I know, sometimes I look at what the judges think are MF-worthy and I cringe, it does Australian writing no good at all from a prestige PoV).
    Anyway… I know you all network over there… I’d suggest that you get together and work out something effective that offers support to writers caught in this situation.

  5. Are you going into bat for one of these to win?

    • Not yet. I want to read the one called Waiting first.

  6. I just finished reading Their Brilliant Careers, and didn’t like it much. Though I thought the writing at times was engaging;, and I did have a few good laughs. For me some of the authors were mixtures of other authors. I also didn’t get the ‘in jokes’.

    • Yes, it’s an industry-insiders book. Satire only works if people can recognise what’s being satirised, and although I don’t think we should dumb things down, I do think that if keen readers like us don’t get the jokes, then maybe the jokes are too arcane.

  7. […] and Wattman are small publishers, so despite the longlisting for the Miles Franklin award, this novel could be hard to find.  I got my copy from Fishpond: […]

  8. […] that I posted a couple of days ago: I think that Philip Salom’s novel Waiting should win this year’s Miles Franklin award.  It’s also been short-listed for the Victorian Premier’s Award in Fiction, and I […]

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