Posted by: Lisa Hill | May 23, 2019

2019 Miles Franklin Longlist

Yes, I know, the MF longlist is old news.

I could make the excuse (which is partly true) that I’ve only just got back from NZ and I forgot about it until I saw Sue’s post at Whispering Gums.  But why didn’t I make an effort to do my own post yesterday?  Because, seriously, I was too dispirited.  First the election, and then a disappointing MF longlist.  In both cases, it’s always worse when you thought you were on the same page as everyone else and you find out that you’re not.

Anyway, FWIW here’s the longlist:

My prediction, which clearly you should ignore, is that Too Much Lip will win it because Lucashenko deserves it for this and other novels, or that they’ll give it to Gail Jones because she’s been a bridesmaid so often.

These two should have been on the longlist, and it is unforgiveable that they are not:

And outliers that should have displaced some of the ‘encouragement award’ nominees include

Some years, the MF loses its way, and this is one of them.

PS Robert Lukins (see comments below) has quite rightly pointed out that some of these (The Children’s House, A Superior Spectre, The Everlasting Sunday and Book of Colours) are ineligible because they are not ‘about Australia in all its phases”.  LOL I was too indignant to remember the rules.  But I think I’ll leave them here, because they are excellent reading, so why not?


  1. Thanks for the inclusion on the list, unfortunately The Everlasting Sunday wasn’t/isn’t eligible for nomination (not about Australia). Likewise for Angela Meyer I suspect (or have I forgotten an Australian aspect?).

    Totally agree about Shell (that was my pick for winning it (shows what I know)), as too many of those others. Funny things these awards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, of course, I was so cross I forgot about that! And that eliminates Book of Colours too, and also The Children’s House.
      I don’t care, I’m going to leave them in:) They are still better reading than some of the official list!


      • Ha. I admire your crossness. I really thought Shell would tick all the MF boxes (both generally brilliant and brilliant about Australia). I think Dustfall should be winning awards too. Aah, such is life.

        Liked by 2 people

        • LOL I don’t have to be reasonable all the time!


  2. I love your passion and your confidence Lisa! I don’t take it THAT seriously really, though perhaps I should. It is worth big money, after all. However, my attitude is that any arts related awards have a strong element of subjectivity (of course) and that’s OK, because what we like about the arts is that they can’t be pinned down. They are creative and, therefore by definition, not measurable by objective means. Still, it doesn’t hurt to promote the ones we like, does it?

    Thanks for the link – and sorry I missed your Day review. I did a quick word search and it didn’t come up. I’ll add it now.


    • Well… I do take it seriously… you only have to look at Wikipedia to know that any prize nomination guarantees a place in literary history. And, because of WP’s rules about notability, a couple of authors of those nominated books that IMO are best forgotten altogether will now be approved to have their own WP page, while other authors who are writing really good stuff that will last the test of time, won’t be approved to have a page there. Enza, who hasn’t won yet a prize doesn’t have a WP page, Kristina who’s won the QLA and the Jefferis, does have one.
      (I had to fight the WP Nazis tooth and nail to be allowed to set up a page for Susan Johnson because although she’s been nominated for many prizes, she hasn’t actually won any yet and they thought she wasn’t notable enough.)
      Does WP matter? My word, it does!


      • Sorry, Lisa, I wasn’t intending to be completely offhand about the awards, but I’m always aware, when I write awards posts, that there are some writers, including some of our top writers, who don’t like them. However, I like them, and think on balance they are beneficial to individuals and to literary culture overall. But they can never be objective. In that sense I don’t get invested in what is and isn’t shortlisted, beyond making little comments about books I’ve liked – and, I do think we need to keep an eye on diversity, on ensuring all voices are heard and considered.

        I wouldn’t be too hard on Wikipedia. They do their best overall but as a primarily volunteer organisation you have to accept that there’s the good and the bad. As you know I’ve also had my challenges there but I’ve also managed to get a lot of articles written. The only way to make it better is to get involved, really! But, we can’t get involved in everything, can we? Every time I discover an author isn’t covered I want to sit down immediately and cover them, but I just don’t have the time. And yes, I know it matters, which is why Mr Gums and I donate to them every year.


        • LOL I know you were just being reasonable:)
          But, when it comes to diversity, remember your post long ago about late bloomers? Enza Gandolfo is a late bloomer, from the generation of working-class postwar Italian migrants. The grace, wisdom and empathy with which she writes, compared to that foul-mouthed book The Lebs??

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’m actually write ng my review of it now… Well, not now as am on the way to the movies but it’s half done!

            I love that you remember that post.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. I admire your crossness too. Well said! (I haven’t read any of them – but over the past few years I think the Stella has been the more interesting prize).

    Liked by 1 person

    • This might seem sentimental, but I think we owe it to Miles Franklin, who beggared herself in her old age to set up the prize, to maintain it as Australia’s most prestigious literary prize.


      • Not sentimental. Practical. MF must be jolted out of stodginess.

        Liked by 1 person

      • But don’t forget that the Stella prize is named for her – something I really love about it – so she has her foot in both prizes.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Lisa, thanks so much for giving Book of Colours a place on your list, even if it doesn’t quality for the other one! I’m in fine company there. Shell is definitely on my tbr, if the local library agrees to order in a copy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loved your book, Robyn. I was talking about it just the other day with someone who is fascinated by illuminated manuscripts and she loved it too. Are you working on something new?


      • Oh, it’s so good to read comments like that, especially at list / award time. It’s so easy to feel disheartened, even though I didn’t expect to be on any long or short lists! I’m working on something new — medieval again, but not as beautiful as illuminations. Lots of research at the moment, though I’m itching to write.


  5. Thank you so much for the link to my review.
    I was shocked again (…1st time was reading this book) and shocked a second time because I was unaware the book was on the MF longlist. The comment on my blog was written before I heard this news!
    MF? I don’t think The Lebs will make the shortlist…it it does “I’ll eat my hat”!


    • Oh *chuckle* make sure you’ve got a very small one just in case, MF judges have done some very peculiar things in the past!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. […] Award longlist announced earlier in the week (and already covered by Sue at Whispering Gums and Lisa at ANZLitLovers) because I had already decided I would give myself a year off from reading the shortlist in its […]


  7. Lisa – I shall hold your crossness close to my heart. Thank you, and Mr Everlastingly Wonderful Sunday (and also very much looking forward to reading Shell). Michelle


    • Hi Michelle, those of us who read a lot of OzLit, all the time, know just how excellent and important your book is. :)

      Liked by 1 person

Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: