The Miles Franklin Literary Award Shortlist was announced this week.
The finalists are:
- An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire (Picador)
- The Last Days of Ava Langdon by Mark O’Flynn (UQP)
- Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill (Black Inc.)
- Waiting by Philip Salom (Puncher & Wattmann)
- Extinctions by Josephine Wilson (UWA Publishing)
Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, State Library of NSW Mitchell librarian Richard Neville had this to say about the five shortlisted novels:
None of these novels draws on familiar tropes of Australian literature, yet each brings a distinctive pitch of truth and insight into the Australian experience. (They) explore the restorative power of love, the pernicious influence of the past upon the present, the tragedy of the present avoiding the past, the challenge of unconventional identities, the interweaving of lives across communities, the devastation of grief, and the warzone that is the media, masculinity and a small country town.
An Isolated Incident is a psychological thriller about everyday violence, the media’s obsession with pretty dead girls, the grip of grief and the myth of closure, and the difficulties of knowing the difference between a ghost and a memory, between a monster and a man.
The Last Days of Ava Langdon is an intimate, witty and soulful conjuring of a once-great artist in her final days, which will leave the reader questioning – what passion would sustain you if everything was lost?
Their Brilliant Careers is a playful set of stories, linked in many ways, which together form a memorable whole. It is a wonderful comic tapestry of the writing life, and a large-scale parody in which every detail adds to the humour of the overall picture.
Waiting is a story of two odd couples in prose as marvellously idiosyncratic as its characters.
Humorous, poignant and galvanising by turns, Extinctions is a novel about all kinds of extinction – natural, racial, national, and personal – and what we can do to prevent them.
For more details see their website.