Friday, April 18, 2008

Celebrating Australian Fiction

From left: Steven Carroll, Rodney Hall, Alex Miller, Gail Jones and David Brooks

THE MILES FRANKLIN LITERARY AWARD, Australia’s first and most prestigious literary prize, was established in 1954 with a bequest from Australian author Miles Franklin. She was concerned to see Australian literature flourish and knew firsthand the struggles most authors have in Australia.

The Australian equivalent of the British Man Booker Prize for Fiction, the Miles Franklin Literary Award celebrates Australian character and creativity and nurtures the continuing life of literature about Australia. It is awarded for the novel of the year which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases.

Since it was first awarded in 1957 to Patrick White for his novel Voss, the award has encouraged authors in their literary pursuits and delivered an immense contribution to the richness of Australian cultural life. Thea Astley won it four times; Peter Carey, David Ireland and Tim Winton, thrice; Alex Miller and Patrick White, twice.

The following novels have been shortlisted for the 2008 Miles Franklin Literary Award, it was announced on April 17, 2008:
  1. The Fern Tattoo (University of Queensland Press, 2007) / David Brooks
  2. The Time We Have Taken (Fourth Estate/HarperCollins Publishers, 2007) / Steven Carroll
  3. Love Without Hope (Picador/Macmillan Australia, 2007) / Rodney Hall
  4. Sorry (Vintage/Random House Australia, 2007) / Gail Jones
  5. Landscape of Farewell (Allen & Unwin, 2007) / Alex Miller
The winner will be announced on June 19, 2008

NSW Premier’s Literary Awards: Fiction & Poetry
SIX novels have been shortlisted for the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction in the 2008 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, it was announced on April 16, 2008:

Christina Stead Prize for Fiction
  1. Diary of a Bad Year / J.M. Coetzee
  2. The Trout Opera / Matthew Condon
  3. Ron McCoy’s Sea of Diamonds / Gregory Day
  4. The Lost Dog / Michelle de Kretser
  5. The Widow and Her Hero / Tom Kenneally
  6. Landscape of Farewell / Alex Miller
Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry
  1. An Illustrated History of Dairies / Joanne Burns
  2. Uncommon Light / Brook Emery
  3. Westering / Peter Kirkpatrick
  4. Two Kinds of Silence / Kathryn Lomer
  5. Typewriter Music / David Malouf
  6. The Edge of Everything / Phyllis Perlstone
The winners will be announced on May 19, 2008

Alex Miller, two-time winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Alex Miller. He's one of the best writers I've read. Friendly and no-nonsense type of person too. MPH should bring in his Landscape Of Farewell, a superb book on the pain of ageing and trying to find meaning again after the loss of a loved one.

Tan Twan Eng

Sunday, April 20, 2008 5:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Paula Kelly said...

Indeed I agree. Alex Miller is one of the most affecting authors one could ever hope to be in the presence of... both in print and in person. 'Landscape of Farewell' also touches on issues of Australian Aboriginal history and culture and is an important book for our times. As his other Miles Franklin winner ,'Journey to the Stone Country' , gave us window into black/white relations, so does Landscape alongside the poignancy of loss and love. His 'Conditions of Faith' (which won the Christina Stead prize for Fiction a few years ago) is the most moving love
story I have ever read. It traverses the continents. For me it was about hopes and dreams, making plans and holding on tight...revising them and readjusting in the face of loss... about marriage and motherhood and the struggle to find your authentic self in all of that. I wept and understood something that has figured largely in my life...this is the power of truly wonderful fiction - it helps us to understand our own lives with so much more clarity, connection, reason and passion.
I hope Alex pulls off both the Miles Franklin and Christina Stead again with 'Landscape of Farewell' - it would be a highly deserving winner and a book that is so accessible, engaging and immersing on so many levels. If you only recommend one book this year to all of your friends and loved ones - this should be it!

Sunday, April 20, 2008 11:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This should be a good year for Alex Miller. He could very well sweep the awards! David Malouf is the one to watch for poetry!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 4:35:00 AM  

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