2005 Miles Franklin Award for Fiction
Fiction from the sunburnt country
CONGRATULATIONS to Andrew McGahan on winning the 2005 Miles Franklin Award for Fiction for his sprawling multigenerational saga, The White Earth (2004), a haunting and hypnotic tale of a young boy's adventures growing up in rural Queensland that manages to tackle a slice of Australiana that's not often discussed or written about.
One spring day in late 1992, when William was halfway between his eighth birthday and his ninth, he looked out from the back verandah of his home and saw, huge in the sky, the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion. He stared at it, wondering. The thunderhead was dirty black, streaked with billows of grey. It rolled and boiled as it climbed into the clear blue day, casting a vast shadow upon the hills beyond. But there was no sound, no rumble of an explosion. William was aware of the smell of burning ... but it was a good smell, a familiar smell. The smell of grass, of wheat, of the farm itself. The White Earth (2004)
McGAHAN Andrew [1966-] Novelist. Born in Dalby, Queensland, Australia. Novels Underground (2006); The White Earth (2004: winner of the 2004 Age Fiction Prize and the 2005 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, Southeast Asia and South Pacific Region, and the 2005 Miles Franklin Award for Fiction; shortlisted for the 2004 Queensland Premier's Literary Award for Fiction); Last Drinks (2001: shortlisted for the 2000 Age Book of the Year); 1988 (1995); Praise (1992: winner of the 1991 The Australian/Vogel Award)