Sixty years since Patrick White was awarded £500 and proclaimed: “I am going to buy a hi-fi set and a kitchen stove,” after winning the inaugural Miles Franklin Literary Award, the longlist for 2017’s iteration was today announced by Perpetual. As trustee of the Award, one of Australia’s most prestigious literary prizes, Perpetual announced nine authors in competition for this year’s prize. The winning author will receive $60,000, Australia’s largest literary purse.
The Miles Franklin Literary Award was established through the will of My Brilliant Career author, Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin. First awarded in 1957 to Mr White, the prize is awarded each year to the novel of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases.
The 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award longlist is:
- The Easy Way Out (Steven Amsterdam, Hachette)
- An Isolated Incident (Emily Maguire, Picador)
- The Last Days of Ava Langdon (Mark O’Flynn, UQP)
- Their Brilliant Careers (Ryan O’Neill, Black Inc.)
- A Loving, Faithful Animal (Josephine Rowe, UQP)
- Waiting (Philip Salom, Puncher & Wattmann)
- Where the Trees Were (Inga Simpson, Hachette)
- Hold (Kirsten Tranter, Fourth Estate)
- Extinctions (Josephine Wilson, UWA Publishing).
Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, State Library of NSW Mitchell Librarian, Richard Neville, said: “This year’s longlist, unusually, is nearly all contemporary and urban. The longlist is a reflective one, as novelists grapple with the creation and remembrance of history, the contests of urban relationships, and domestic complexity, trauma, and insight from the proximity of mortality.
“The diversity of these voices suggests the depth and strength of Australian writing, and its resistance to easy categorisation. Each of these novels brings a distinct voice to the Australian experience which refuses conventional description.
“Strong narratives drive these stories, which foreground an Australian perspective on questions exploring the making and understanding of identity through the writing of history, the constructions of media, the imminence of death, or the immediacy of family.”
Mr Neville is joined on the judging panel by The Australian journalist and columnist, Murray Waldren, Sydney-based bookseller, Lindy Jones, book critic Dr Melinda Harvey and Emeritus Professor, Susan Sheridan.
Perpetual’s National Manager of Philanthropy, Caitriona Fay, congratulated the longlisted authors. “The longlist authors announced today join an esteemed group of some of Australia’s greatest ever novelists. Celebrating its 60th year, the Miles Franklin Literary Award is a tremendous example of how philanthropy can have such a positive impact on an entire industry. It’s also a prime example of how, with management, philanthropic donations can grow well beyond their original intentions. Perpetual is proud to support what is arguably the most important prize in the Australian literature community.”
There were 64 entries submitted for the 2017 Award. The shortlisted finalists will be announced on 18 June 2017 at the Annual Australian Booksellers Association (ABA) Conference in Melbourne. The winner announcement will be made in September.