Established in 1954, the Miles Franklin Literary Award is Australia’s most prestigious literary prize, named for author Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin.
At an announcement made on the opening night of the Melbourne Writers Festival, A.S. Patrić took home the $60,000 prize money, for his début novel Black Rock White City. All shortlisted applicants, which this year featured three first time nominees (including Patrić), received $5,000.
The award celebrates uniquely Australian works, with the 2016 prize focusing on identity struggles. According to Franklin’s own criteria, works must be “of the highest literary merit,” and “show Australian life in any of its phases.”
Patrić’s novel is described as 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.
Richard Neville, State Library of NSW Mitchell Librarian, spoke of the winning work on behalf of the judging panel: The novel delivers a powerful and raw account of the migrant experience in Australia, exploring the damages of war, and the possibility of redemptive love, in the context of debilitating emotional and physical dislocation.
This year’s judging panel consisted of Richard Neville, The Australian journalist Murray Waldren, bookseller Lindy Jones, editor and writer Craig Munro, and Emeritus Professor Susan Sheridan.
The Miles Franklin Literary Award is presented in conjunction with Perpetual and The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, building on an original investment from Franklin’s estate.
The Copyright Agency’s Chief Executive Adam Suckling said: While Australians consume culture from all over the world, there’s nothing that resonates more than reading about our own experiences and challenges. The Award is a tremendous recognition of [A.S. Patrić’s] emergence as an exciting and compelling writer who is bringing incredible Australian stories to life.
For more information, please see the Perpetual website.