Evie Wyld has won this year’s Miles Franklin Literary Award for a novel of “beautifully crafted prose” that combines “deceptive sparseness and an ingenious structure”.
Wyld takes home $60,000 in prize money for her second novel, All the Birds, Singing, described by judges as “spare, but pitch perfect”.
She beat prominent authors Richard Flanagan, Fiona McFarlane, Cory Taylor, Tim Winton and Alexis Wright to claim the nation’s most prestigious literature prize last night.
Commenting on behalf of the judging panel, State Library of NSW Mitchell librarian Richard Neville said Wyld’s novel was unusual but compelling.
“All the Birds, Singing draws the reader into its rhythm and mystery through wonderfully and beautifully crafted prose, whose deceptive sparseness combines powerfully with an ingenious structure to create a compelling narrative of alienation, decline and finally, perhaps, some form of redemption,” Neville said.
“Flight from violence and abuse run through the core of the novel, yet never defeat its central character.
“All the Birds, Singing, an unusual but compelling novel, explores its themes with an unnervingly consistent clarity and confidence.”
Wyld grew up in Australia and London, where she now runs a small independent bookshop. She told News Corp Australia that four-time Miles Franklin-winner Winton, whom she beat to win this year’s prize, was her idol.
“To win it makes me feel enormously proud, a bit weird and a little ridiculous,” she said.
“The Miles Franklin is the only prize I have ever followed, partly because I am such a huge Tim Winton fan … these Australian writers are the ones I learned to write from.”
The prize was established by the author of My Brilliant Career, whose full name was Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin, and is awarded annually for the novel that best presents Australian life in any of its phases.
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