At the Australian Booksellers Association Conference in Canberra, the 2016 shortlist for the prestigious Miles Literary Award was announced. With a focus on uniquely Australian identities and struggles, this year’s nominees, including three authors shortlisted for the first time, are in the running for a $60,000 prize.
Making the 2016 shortlist are:
- Hope Farm by Peggy Frew (Scribe Publications)
A quietly powerful and haunting novel, full of the aching intensity of the outcast, rendered in pitch-perfect tone and heartbreakingly believable.
- Leap by Myfanwy Jones (Allen & Unwin)
A beautiful story about the resolution of grief, not by moving on or forgetting, but by finally accommodating, absorbing and accepting its weight.
- Black Rock White City by A.S. Patric (Transit Lounge)
A fresh and powerful exploration of the immigrant experience and Australian life that explores the damages of war, the constraints of choice, the possibility of redemptive love and social isolation amid suburbia.
- Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar (Pan Macmillian)
This portrait of frontier life is a time-traveller’s delight as it unsettles assumptions about European ‘settlement’ and its devastating effects on Aboriginal culture, while graphically charting the unequal nineteenth-century power relations between men and women.
- The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood (Allen & Unwin)
A confronting story of misogyny that is both shockingly realist in its details and deeply allegorical in its shape.
This year’s judging panel includes: State Library of NSW Mitchell Librarian Richard Neville, The Australian journalist Murray Waldren, bookseller Lindy Jones, editor and writer Craig Munro, and Emeritus Professor Susan Sheridan.
“The focus of this year’s shortlist is the creation, maintenance and manipulation of identity: the impact of its dislocation, the devastation of its theft, and the consequences of its re-imagination,” Richard Neville said, speaking on behalf of the judging panel. “The 2016 shortlist moves around colonial society, a dysfunctional late twentieth century and a disturbing future, all realised with divergent but consistently powerful voices.”
Established in 1954 by the estate of My Brilliant Career author Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin, the Miles Literary Award celebrates fiction novels that showcase Australian character, creativity, and identity – whether good, bad, or ugly. The 2015 prize was won by Sofie Laguna for her novel The Eye of the Sheep.
Presented in conjunction with Perpetual and the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, the winner will be announced at the Melbourne Writers Festival later this year, and will receive a $60,000 prize. All shortlisted authors receive $5,000.
For more information on the award or the shortlisted works, see the Miles Franklin Literary Award website.