Female authors dominate this year’s shortlist for the Miles Franklin Literary Award.
Continuing the gender turnaround of the award in recent years, four of the five shortlisted novels announced yesterday at the Australian Booksellers Association Conference at State Library Victoria are by women.
The list comprises Sonya Hartnett’s Golden Boys (Penguin Books Australia), Sofie Laguna’s The Eye of the Sheep (Allen & Unwin), Joan London’s The Golden Age (Random House Australia), Christine Piper’s After Darkness (Allen & Unwin) and Craig Sherborne’s Tree Palace (Text Publishing).
Harnett and London have both previously been shortlisted for the prize, while Laguna made the longlist in 2012. Laguna and London’s books were also shortlisted for this year’s Stella Prize, which is open only to women authors.
“The 2015 Miles Franklin shortlist presents a powerful group of Australian novels with a rich cast of unforgettable characters, and themes ranging from childhood gangs and domestic violence to itinerant thieves, wartime internment and the post-war polio epidemic,” said judging panel spokesperson Richard Neville, State Library of NSW Mitchell librarian.
Each of the 2015 shortlisted authors will receive $5000, while the overall winner, to be announced on June 23, will receive the $60,000 in prize money.
The Miles Franklin prizes is awarded to a novel judged as being “of the highest literary merit” and which presents “Australian life in any of its phases”.
Female authors have won the prize for the past three years. Last year’s winner was Evie Wyld, with All the Birds Singing, in 2013 it was Michelle de Kretser, with Questions of Travel, and in 2012 Anna Funder’s All That I Am scooped the prize.
The 2015 Miles Franklin longlist also included Omar Musa (Here Come the Dogs), Favel Parrett (When the Night Comes), Suzanne McCourt (The Lost Child), Elizabeth Harrower (In Certain Circles) and Inga Simpson (Nest).
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