A two-time winner and three first-time nominees are among the authors shortlisted for the 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award.
The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, alongside award trustee Perpetual, announced six authors – three men and three women – on a shortlist that includes stories that explore the search for identity, trust, love and redemption, and the fraught bonds of friendships, families and communities.
Vying for the prestigious $60,000 prize are a mix of emerging and established writers. Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, author and literary critic, Dr Bernadette Brennan, said: “The 2019 shortlist showcases a diverse and exciting range of Australian voices and experiences. Each writer has been unafraid to take risks in their narrative, in one or more of structure, subject matter or style. These books celebrate, for the most part, some of the complex, disparate and urgent aspects of contemporary Australian life.”
Each of the 2019 shortlisted authors receives $5,000 from the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.
The 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award Shortlist is:
- THE LEBS by Michael Mohammed Ahmad (Hachette Australia):This coming-of-age novel explores the life of Bani Adam, as he grows up in Sydney’s western suburbs in a post 9/11 political climate. Bani has to negotiate his sense of identity and belonging in this hostile, confusing world, while dreaming of so much more.
- A SAND ARCHIVE by Gregory Day (Picador Australia): Seeking stories of Australia’s Great Ocean Road, a young writer stumbles across a manual from a minor player in the road’s history, engineer FB Herschell. The slim, grey volume appears unremarkable, but it paints a surprising portrait of its author between the lines.
- A STOLEN SEASON by Rodney Hall (Picador Australia): This novel explores the stories of three people whose lives have been changed profoundly by war, men and money, and their experiences of a period of life they never thought possible.
- THE DEATH OF NOAH GLASS by Gail Jones (Text Publishing): Having just returned from a trip to Sicily, art historian Noah Glass is discovered floating face down in the swimming pool at his Sydney apartment. Complicating matters, a sculpture has gone missing from a museum in Palermo, and Noah is a suspect. His children Martin and Evie must come to terms with their father’s death in this novel of grief, loss and artistic contemplation. Gail has previously been shortlisted for the Miles Franklin for Sixty Lights(2006), Dreams of Speaking(2007), Sorry (2008) and longlisted for Five Bells (2012).
- TOO MUCH LIP by Melissa Lucashenko (The University of Queensland Press): Wise-cracking Kerry Slater has spent a lifetime avoiding two things – her hometown and prison. But now her Pop is dying and she’s an inch away from the lockup, so she heads south on a stolen Harley. With plans to spend 24 hours, tops, over the border, she quickly realises that family and Bundjalung country have other plans. Melissa has been previously longlisted for the Miles Franklin with Mullumbimbyin 2014.
- DYSCHRONIA by Jennifer Mills (Picador Australia): One morning, the residents of a small coastal town somewhere in Australia wake to discover the sea has disappeared. One among them has been plagued by troubling visions of this cataclysm for years. Is she a prophet? Does she have a disorder that skews her perception of time? Or is she a gifted and compulsive liar?
The 2019 winner, to be announced on 30 July. For further information about the Miles Franklin Literary Award, visit the site here.