Last Thursday, the longlist for the 2014 Miles Franklin Literary Award was announced. Heading the list — only because it was announced alphabetically by author — was my novel, The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt.
Tracy Farr, The Life And Loves Of Lena Gaunt
Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Ashley Hay, The Railwayman’s Wife
Melissa Lucashenko, Mullumbimby
Fiona McFarlane, The Night Guest
Nicolas Rothwell, Belomor
Trevor Shearston, Game
Cory Taylor, My Beautiful Enemy
Tim Winton, Eyrie
Alexis Wright, The Swan Book
Evie Wyld, All The Birds, Singing
The Miles Franklin has been called Australia’s most prestigious literary award. It was established through the will of Australian writer Stella Miles Franklin (1879—1954) and first awarded in 1957 to Patrick White for Voss. In her will, Franklin stated that the prize should be awarded “to the novel of the year of the highest literary merit which must present Australian Life in any of its phases”. In recent years, that’s been refined or defined: “Australian life could extend beyond geographical boundaries to the Australian mindset, language, history and values”.
The Miles Franklin is the first literary award I recall being aware of. Many of the writers that were, or were to become, my literary heroes — Peter Carey, Elizabeth Jolley, Patrick White, Tim Winton — received the Miles Franklin, particularly through my teens and twenties when I was developing as a reader and starting to scratch my writing itch. To be longlisted is a measure for me that my novel has a place in Australian literature.
The Miles Franklin 2014 shortlist will be announced on 15 May. In the meantime, there’s some mighty fine reading to be going on with on that longlist (if I do say so myself).
Miles Franklin award: seven women among the 11 longlisted
Article by Helen Davidson, Guardian, 3 April 2014
WA tales vie for top Australian book prize
Article by Stephen Bevis, The West Australian, 4 April 2014
Tim Winton and Richard Flanagan on 2014 Miles Franklin Award longlist
Article by Susan Wyndham, Sydney Morning Herald, 3 April 2014
Why was Christos Tsiolkas snubbed for the Miles Franklin prize?
Commentary by Bethanie Blanchard, Guardian Australia Culture blog, 3 April 2014
Miles Franklin longlist showcases richness of Australian literature
Longlist announcement, 3 April 2014
Fremantle Press novelist long listed for Miles Franklin
Fremantle Press news, 3 April 2014
New Zealand novelist long listed for Miles Franklin Literary Award
Booksellers New Zealand blog, 4 April 2014
Miles Franklin Literary Award: a personal shortlist & longlist
Writer and critic Patrick Allington picks Lena for his personal longlist, 2 April 2014