Melissa Lucashenko takes home the 2019 Miles Franklin

Brisbane based writer Melissa Lucashenko has been awarded the Miles Franklin Literary Award for her novel Too Much Lipbeating out five other shortlisted works to the $60,000 prize. Lucashenko’s win makes her the third Indigenous author to take home the prize, alongside past winners Kim Scott and Alexis Wright.

Published by UQP, Too Much Lip follows wise-cracking Kerry Salter, as she returns to her Bundjalung hometown to spend time with her dying Pop. Chair of the judging panel, State Library of NSW’s Mitchell Librarian, Richard Neville said,

Too Much Lip is driven by personal experience, historical injustice, anger and what in Indigenous vernacular could be described as ‘deadly Blak’ humour. Lucashenko weaves a (sometimes) fabulous tale with the very real politics of cultural survival to offer a story of hope and redemption for all Australians.”

Previously longlisted for her 2013 novel Mullumbimby, Lucashenko saw off past winner Rodney Hall (A Stolen Season), three time nominee Gail Jones (The Death of Noah Glass) and first time nominees Michael Mohammed Ahmad (The Lebs), Gregory Day (A Sand Archive) and Jennifer Mills (Dyschronia).

Of her win, she said:

“It’s kind of terrifying. I only recently realised that I could be doing so much more in my writing and now this goes and happens. I have no idea what to do next, other than keep plugging away at my civilising mission to mainstream Australia.”

Established using fund from the will of My Brilliant Career author Miles Franklin, the Miles Franklin Literary Award recognises the novel of “the highest literary merit” which presents “Australian life in any of its phases”. Since its inception in 1957 the award has awarded more than $1.2 million to Australian authors.

For more info on the winning novel, the other shortlisted works, and the prize itself, check out trustee Perpetual‘s website.

Header Photo: Courtesy Miles Franklin Literary Award – Belinda Rolland

Jodie Sloan

Living, writing, and reading in Brisbane/Meanjin. Likes spooky books, strong cocktails, and pro-wrestling.