Making herself the third woman in history to be awarded the top literary prize more than once, Michelle de Kretser has taken home the prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award for 2018. Divulging the complexities that dance around the world of writer Pippa, Michelle de Kretser’s sophisticated novel The Life to Come blends the sharp satire of the literary world with deeply compassionate portraits of lonely people and their bid to survive.
When describing how it felt to win the award for the second time, after her novel Questions of Travel won the award in 2013, the novelist said: “I feel twice as lucky, twice as happy, and twice as honoured.”
The award is recognised as one of Australia’s most esteemed literary prizes, and was established in 1954 through the will of My Brilliant Career author Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin. It is awarded to novels of the “highest literary merit” that depict “Australian life in any of it’s phases”. With The Life to Come, Michelle de Kretser is a worthy winner, with Chair of the judging panel, Richard Neville describing the novel as:
“Sentence-by-sentence, it is elegant, full of life and funny. With her characteristic wit and style, Michelle de Kretser dissects the way Australians see ourselves, and reflects on the ways other parts of the world see us.”
Michelle de Kretser will take home $60,000 in prize money. Her novel was selected from a remarkably strong shortlist, that included: Felicity Castagna’s No More Boats, Eva Hornung’s The Last Garden, Catherine McKinnon’s Storyland,
Gerald Murnane’s Border Districts and Kim Scott’s Taboo.
The 2018 judging panel consisted of NSW State Library librarian and judging panel chair Richard Neville, The Australian journalist and columnist Murray Waldren, Sydney bookseller Lindy Jones, book critic Dr Melinda Harvey and Emeritus Professor Susan Sheridan.
Adam Suckling, Chief Executive of The Copyright Agency, a long-term sponsor of the Award, said: “We are deeply committed to supporting Australian writers and publishers to ensure our uniquely Australian stories continue to be told, We are delighted by Michelle de Kretser’s win. I also want to congratulate the other finalists as it is an impressive achievement to be shortlisted for this prestigious award that goes from strength to strength each year.”
The award was announced at the 2018 Melbourne Writer’s Festival on the 26th of August. More information can be found at the Miles Franklin Literary Award website.
The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser is available now through Allen and Unwin