Melissa Lucashenko wins 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award for ‘Too Much Lip’
Australia’s most prestigious literary award, the Miles Franklin, has been awarded to acclaimed Indigenous novelist Melissa Lucashenko for Too Much Lip, published by University of Queensland Press.
In a year when the shortlist showcased a diverse and exciting range of Australian voices, experiences and narrative forms, Too Much Lip lays open the wounds of generational trauma and the restorative power of country, culture and belonging.
Established through the will of My Brilliant Career author Miles Franklin for the “advancement, improvement and betterment of Australian literature”, the Miles Franklin Literary Award recognises the novel of “the highest literary merit” which presents “Australian life in any of its phases”. Perpetual, as Trustee of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, is proud to be part of this literary legacy.
Since 1957, the award has provided more than $1.2 million to Australian authors.
Ms Lucashenko will receive $60,000 in prize money.
Lucashenko’s work was chosen from a shortlist featuring a mix of emerging and established writers, including past winner Rodney Hall for A Stolen Season; three time nominee Gail Jones for The Death of Noah Glass; and first-time nominees Michael Mohammed Ahmad for The Lebs, Gregory Day for A Sand Archive, and Jennifer Mills for Dyschronia.
Ms Lucashenko, who has also been previously longlisted for the Miles Franklin, said of her win: “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.”
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.”
Mr Neville was joined on the judging panel by author and critic Dr Bernadette Brennan, book critic Dr Melinda Harvey, Sydney bookseller Lindy Jones, and The Australian journalist and columnist Murray Waldren.
Perpetual’s General Manager Community & Social Investments, Caitriona Fay, said: “Philanthropy is an intrinsic part of Perpetual’s heritage. Our strategic approach to philanthropy is designed to ensure our clients are maximising the potential of their giving and are able to leave a lasting legacy.
“The Miles Franklin Literary Award has become Australia’s most prestigious literary prize because of the way it offers new perspectives on Australian culture and society, and continues to create community benefits. We are privileged to be part of keeping Miles Franklin’s legacy alive and demonstrating how philanthropy can affect positive change for generations. Congratulations again to all of this year’s finalists.”
Adam Suckling, Chief Executive of long-term award sponsor, the Copyright Agency, said: “The Copyright Agency is proud to be part of an award that celebrates and supports Australian writers and publishers. We are delighted Melissa’s novel was awarded the Miles Franklin.
“It’s particularly exciting because Melissa was the 2016 recipient of the Copyright Agency’s $80,000 Cultural Fund Author Fellowship. This shows that by affording Australian authors time and space to write they can produce award-winning work.
“I also want to congratulate the other finalists for their vibrant voices that are now part of the fabric of Australia’s literary landscape.”
The award was announced at a ceremony at The Ovolo Hotel in Sydney on 30 July.
The award’s media partner for 2019 is the ABC.
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For further information about the Miles Franklin Literary Award, visit http://www.milesfranklin.com.au/
For enquiries related to the Miles Franklin Literary Award, Perpetual, Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund or to request an interview with finalists or judges please contact:
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