voss_coverThe Miles Franklin Literary Award is an annual literary prize for the best Australian ‘published novel or play portraying Australian life in any of its phases’. The award was set up according to the will of Miles Franklin (1879 - 1954), who is most well known for writing the Australian classic My Brilliant Career(originally published in 1901 still in print in USA) and for bequeathing her estate to fund this award. As of 2006 the award is worth AU$42,000 and it is administered by the Trust Foundation.

The award was first given in 1957 to Patrick White for Voss. Some of the more notable winners in the intervening years have been, Dirt Musicby Tim Winton (2002), Jack Maggs(1998), Oscar and Lucindaand Bliss (1981) by three time winner Peter Carey, Poor Fellow My Country, Xavier Herbert (1975) and Sumner Locke's 1963 winner, Careful, He Might Hear You.

2011 Winner & Shortlist

Kim Scott is $50,000 richer after winning his second Miles Franklin Literary Award. His book, That Deadman Dance, about relations between Aborigines and the first European settlers, beat Melbourne author Chris Womersley's Bereft and Sydneysider Roger McDonald's When Colts Ran

That Deadman Danceby Kim Scott - Winner

Bereft by Chris Womersley
When Colts Ran by Roger McDonald


Jon Bauer - Rocks in the Belly
Honey Brown - The Good Daughter
Patrick Holland - The Mary Smokes Boys
Melina Marchetta - The Piper's Son
Roger McDonald - When Colts Ran
Stephen Orr - Time's Long Ruin
Kim Scott - That Deadman Dance
Kirsten Tranter - The Legacy
Chris Womersley - Bereft

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The 2010 Miles Franklin Literary Award

2010 Winner -

Truth by Peter Temple - At the close of a long day, Inspector Stephen Villani stands in the bathroom of a luxury apartment high above the city. In the glass bath, a young woman lies dead, a panic button within reach. Villani’s life is his work. It is his identity, his calling, his touchstone. But now, over a few sweltering summer days, as fires burn across the state and his superiors and colleagues scheme and jostle, he finds all the certainties of his life are crumbling. Truth is a novel about a man, a family, a city. It is about violence, murder, love, corruption, honour and deceit. And it is about truth. More

The 2010 Miles Franklin Literary Award other shortlist : (award tragic commentary)

The Bath Fugues
 The Bath Fugues by Brian Castro -The Bath Fugues is a meditation on melancholy and art, in the form of three interwoven novellas, centred respectively on an aging art forger; a Portuguese poet, opium addict and art collector; and a doctor, who has built an art gallery in tropical Queensland. These characters are tied by more than their art, each dealing with questions of deception and discovery, counterfeiting and rewriting, transmission and identity and each stretching the bonds of trust and friendship. MoreJasper Jones: A Novel

 Jasper Jonesby Craig Silvey Late on a hot summer night in 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgentknock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan. Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress. Jasper takes him to his secret glade in the bush, and it's here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper's horrible discovery. With his secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is pushed and pulled by a town closing in on itself in fear and suspicion as he locks horns with his tempestuous mother; falls nervously in love more

Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett - On the verge of her fourteenth birthday, Plum knows her life will change. But she has no idea how. Over the coming weeks, her beautiful neighbour Maureen will show her how she might fly. Her adored older brothers will court catastrophe in worlds that she barely knows exist. And her friends - her worst enemies - will tease and test, smelling weakness. They will try to lead her on and take her down. Who ever forgets what happens when you're fourteen? More

The Book of Emmett
The Book of Emmett  by Deborah Forster -Emmett Brown is as dark as Heathcliff, and as moody. A waylaid romantic with one hand on Hemingway and the other around a bottle. Sometimes he's an inspiration, but not often. His one obsession is working out 'the System', a way to bend mathematical probability to his will and his fortune. But when the lottery numbers and horses fail him, he spirals further into self-loathing and becomes a terror to his wife and children.
For the innocents - Louisa, Rob, Peter, Daniel and Jessie - the bonds formed hiding in hedges at the end of the street waiting for maelstroms to pass, are complex, more.

Lovesong by Alex Miller Chez Dom - a small, rundown Tunisian cafe in Paris run by the widow Houria and her niece Sabiha - offers a home away from home for the North African immigrants working at the abattoirs of Vaugiraud. One day a lost Australian tourist, John Patterner, seeks shelter in the cafe from a sudden Parisian rainstorm. John is like no one Sabiha has met before - his calm grey
eyes promise her a future she was not yet even aware she wanted. More

Lovesong  Alex Miller  Allen & Unwin
 The Bath Fugues  Brian Castro  Giramondo Publishing
 Jasper Jones  Craig Silvey  Allen & Unwin
 The Book of Emmett  Deborah Forster  Random House
 Truth  Peter Temple  Text Publishing
 Butterfly  Sonya Hartnett  Penguin Group (Australia)

The Judges
Judges for this year's Award include Mr Richard Neville, Ms Morag Fraser AM, Professor Gillian Whitlock, Ms Lesley McKay and Mr Murray Waldren . 

Other Longlisted

Siddon Rock
Siddon Rock by Glenda Guest - ‘When Macha Connor came home from the war she walked into town as naked as the day she was born, except for well-worn and shining boots, a dusty slouch hat, and the .303 rifle she held across her waist.’ Macha patrols Siddon Rock by night, watching over the town’s inhabitants: Brigid, Granna, and all of the Aberline clan; Alistair in Meakin's Haberdashery, with his fine sense of style; Sybil, scrubbing away at the bloodstains in her father's butcher shop; Reverend Siggy, afraid of the outback landscape and the district’s magical saltpans; silent Nell with her wild dogs; publican Marg, always accompanied by a cloud of blue; and the new barman, Kelpie Crush. It is only when refugee Catalin Morgenstern and her young son Josis arrive in town that Macha realises there is nothing she can do to keep the townspeople safe. More
Boy on a Wire  by Jon Doust - Sent to boarding school at a young age, Jack Muir decides he’s a survivor. He gets by with a quick wit and a fast mouth. Others aren’t so lucky. Jack Muir’s years of survival and his coming of age in a boys’ boarding school will strike a nerve with those who were there – and in anyone who has ever asked how boys become men. The West Australian called Boy on a Wire a ‘hilarious, angry and sympathetic portrait of boys behaving badly’. The Age said ‘if you know an angry teenager, give this to him’. Boy on a Wire was the Sydney Morning Herald’s pick of the week. 
Figurehead by Patrick Allington - What if you saved a man’s life and he went on to play a leading role in one of the bloodiest revolutions of modern times? Ted Whittlemore, a radical Australian journalist, does just that. In the late ’60s, he saves Nhem Kiry, soon to become known as ‘Pol Pot’s mouthpiece’. The consequences haunt him for the rest of his days. When the Khmer Rouge take power in Cambodia, Whittlemore watches, fascinated and horrified, as the ideals he holds dear are translated into unfathomable violence. In the intervening decades, as he tries to make sense of what went wrong, it is as if Kiry’s life has become intertwined with his own.
In this gripping novel, Patrick Allington takes readers deep into the world of power politics and agents of influence. He enters the worlds of Nhem Kiry and Ted Whittlemore, and with humour, intelligence and an unfailing moral sense, brings them to life. Figurehead is about guilt and memory, and the awful distance that separates dreams from reality. It is about those people who, as George Orwell said, are ‘always somewhere else when the trigger is pulled’.

Parrot and Olivier in America
Parrot and Olivier in AmericaPeter Carey  - Olivier is a young aristocrat, one of an endangered species born in France just after the Revolution. Parrot, the son of an itinerant English printer, wanted to be an artist but has ended up in middle age as a servant. When Olivier sets sail for the New World – ostensibly to study its prisons, but in reality to avoid yet another revolution – Parrot is sent with him, as spy, protector, foe and foil. Through their adventures with women and money, incarceration and democracy, writing and painting, they make an unlikely pair. But where better for unlikely things to flourish than in the glorious, brand-new experiment, America? A dazzlingly inventive reimagining of Alexis de Tocqueville's famous journey, Parrot and
Olivier in America brilliantly evokes the Old World colliding with the New. Above all, it is a wildly funny, tender portrait of two men who come to form an almost impossible friendship, and a completely improbable work of art. More
The People's Train
The People's Train by Tom Keneally  -Artem Samsurov, a charismatic protege of Lenin and an ardent socialist, reaches sanctuary in Australia after escaping his Siberian labour camp and making a long, perilous journey via Japan. But Brisbane in 1911 turns out not to be quite the workers' paradise he was expecting, or the bickering local Russian emigres a model of brotherhood. As Artem helps organise a strike and gets dangerously entangled in the death of another exile, he discovers that corruption, repression and injustice are almost as prevalent in Brisbane as at home. Yet he finds fellow spirits in a fiery old suffragette and a distractingly attractive married lawyer, who undermines his belief that a revolutionary cannot spare the time for relationships. When the revolution dawns and he returns to Russia, will his ideals hold true?

Based on a true story, THE PEOPLE'S TRAIN brings the past alive and makes it resonate in the present. With all the empathy and storytelling skills that he brought to bear in SCHINDLER'S ARK, Tom Keneally takes us to the heart of the Russian Revolution through the dramatic life of an unknown, inspiring figure. Like Schindler, Samsurov was no saint, but he was an individual who played a vital role in world-changing events. More

Sons of the Rumour by David Foster  -The first novel in more than a decade from the Miles Franklin Award-winning author of The Glade Within the Grove David Foster’s thirteenth novel is a dazzling remix of Richard Burton’s Arabian Nights; a tale of sexual passion and intrigue told in the form of a mystical journey along the old Silk Roads of Central Asia.
Explicit, comic and wildly eccentric, the book showcases Foster’s profound command of the Australian vernacular to satirise the conflict between modern secular Western woman and fundamentalist Islamic man.

50 books were submitted for this year's Award.

The Judges

Judges for this year's Award include Mr Richard Neville, Ms Morag Fraser AM, Professor Gillian Whitlock, Ms Lesley McKay and Mr Murray Waldren .

2009 Miles Franklin Winner & Shortlist


Breath - WINNER

By Tim Winton

buy_from_fishpondWhen paramedic Bruce Pike arrives too late to save a boy found hanged in his bedroom he senses immediately that this lonely death is an accident. Pike knows the difference between suicide and misadventure. He understands only too well the forces that can propel a kid toward oblivion. Not just because he's an ambulanceman but because of the life he's lived, the boy he once was, addicted to extremes, flirting with death, pushing every boundary in the struggle to be extraordinary, barely knowing where or how to stop. So begins a story about the damage you do to yourself when you're young and think you're immortal. In his first novel for seven years, Tim Winton has achieved a new level of mastery. Breath confirms him as one of the world's finest storytellers, whose work is both accessible and profound, relentlessly gripping and deeply moving.

Other Shortlisted

The Slap

The Slap

By Christos Tsiolkas

buy_from_fishpondAt a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own. This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the event. In this remarkable novel, Christos Tsiolkas turns his unflinching and all-seeing eye on to that which connects us all: the modern family and domestic life in the twenty-first century. The Slap is told from the points of view of eight people who were present at the barbecue. The slap and its consequences force them all to question their own families and the way they live, their expectations, beliefs and desires. What unfolds is a powerful, haunting novel about love, sex and marriage, parenting and children, and the fury and intensity - all the passions and conflicting beliefs - that family can arouse.

Ice, Louis Nowra (Allen & Unwin)

IceIce is a story within a story, set in two time frames: the nineteenth century and the twenty-first century. It explores the link between obsessive love and irreconcilable loss. The wider canvas is a vision of Australia in the late nineteenth century as a melting pot of people and ideas.

buy_from_fishpondThe main story begins in the late 1880’s with one of Nowra’s great descriptive scenes – a battered ship sails into Sydney Harbour towing an iceberg from Antarctica. The shores teem with people who have come to gaze on the dazzling spectacle and the quays are crowded with traders with their horses and carts ready to buy the precious frozen water. One of the leaders of this extraordinary expedition is Malcolm McEacharn, a Scotsman, and it his story that is the core of this engrossing novel. As a young man he was rescued from a bleak and lonely existence by marrying the beautiful Ann. Working for her father in Yorkshire, he learnt about engineering and scientific theories; his fulfillment is complete but short lived – his wife’s sudden death plunges him into inconsolable grief

The Pages by Murray Bail (Text publishing Australia)

The Pages

Two Sydney women, friends, but oddly matched, set out on an adventure. Erica, who is self contained, academic and undemonstrative, has been commissioned to appraise the philosophical leavings of an Australian autodidact and thinker, Wesley Antill, whose papers are preserved in the woolshed of the buy_from_fishpondfamily sheep station in western New South Wales. Sophie is opulent, compulsively verbal (a psychologist) and recovering from an affair that didn’t go her way. Both women are of an age to be examining their lives.

Detached from their urban routines, the two women find their diffident but obliging hosts, sister and brother, Lindsey and Roger Antill, disconcerting, and rural life, with its integrity, ritual hospitality and latent threat, unsettling. New alliances form, different affinities develop. The friendship frays

Wanting, Richard Flanagan (Knopf, Random House Australia)

WantingFor Richard Flanagan the past is full-bodied, pulsing with irreconcilable facts, desires and intentions – banal, malign, meretricious, occasionally good. Flanagan paves his novel with them. Wanting is not a history. Rather it is, as its writer claims, a meditation on the consequences of human beings’ buy_from_fishpondrepressing, denying, failing to understand or subverting the impulses of their hearts.

In Van Dieman’s Land, the protector of Aborigines, Charles Augustus Robinson is cleft by contrary instincts. He loves the people he is charged with protecting, with ‘bringing in’, yet they are dying around him, victims of contact with the colonising society that is supposed to elevate them. When he dances naked with ‘his’ people, he is prey to passions he does not understand and exhilarated in ways that both pleasure and alarm him.

The governor of Van Dieman’s Land and his ambitious wife turn the colony into a scientific experiment. Sir John and Lady Franklin hold improving soirees, institute lectures, and displease their staff and colonial society by not licensing a benign decadence as compensation for dutiful exile at the other end of the earth. The childless Lady Jane adopts a beautiful native child, Mathinna, ostensibly to educate her in white ways. But black ways prove intractable, and the child grows into a fascinating, tragic hybrid, at once a reproach and a temptation. More

Judges Formal Comments and Shortlisted Book Descriptions

Judges for this year’s Award are Professor Robert Dixon, Professor Morag Fraser AM, Lesley McKay, Regina Sutton and Murray Waldren.

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2009 Miles Franklin Other Longlisted

Award Tragic Commentary on 2009 long listed books- Miles Franklin Literary Award- Still Australia's Number One >>

Fugitive Blue |One Foot Wrong | The Devil's Eye| Addition |A Fraction of the Whole |

A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz buy_from_fishpond- Martin Dean spent his entire life analyzing absolutely everything - from the benefits of suicide to the virtues of strip clubs - and passing on his self-taught knowledge to his son, Jasper. But now that his father's dead, Jasper can fully reflect on the man who raised him in intellectual captivity, and the irony is this: theirs was a great adventure. As he recollects the extraordinary events that led to his father's demise, Jasper recounts a boyhood of outrageous schemes and shocking discoveries - about his infamous criminal uncle, his mysteriously absent mother, and Martin's constant battle to leave his mark on the world. From the Australian bush to the cafes of Paris; from the highs of first love to the lows of failed ambition, this is an unforgettable, rollicking and deeply moving family story.

Fugitive Blue by Claire Thomas -

buy_from_fishpondThis is a beautifully written novel about the restoration of a small renaissance painting byanunknown artist,a painting distinguished bya patch of rare and expensiveultramarine pigment. As a young Melbourne conservator works to restore this fragment, finding her own truths in her contemporary life, possible stories of the painter and her tragic life begin to emerge, entwined with the hidden lives 0fthose who might have owned the picture since.

Intricately structured, written with originality and poise, and ranging from renaissance Venice to presentday Melbourne, 'Fugitive Blue' Is a novel about art, the fragility of love and transformation. The fresh and vivid images evoked by Claire Thomas resonate with the reader long after the novel is finished. More


One Foot Wrong by Sofie Laguna - A child is imprisoned in a house by her reclusive religious parents. Hester has never seen the outside world; her companions are Cat, Spoon, Door, Handle, Broom, and they all speak to her. Her imagination is informed by one book, an illustrated child's bible, and its imagery forms the sole basis for her capacity to make poetic connection. One day Hester takes a brave, Alice-in-Wonderland trip into the forbidden outside (at the behest of Handle - 'turn me turn me'), and this overwhelming encounter with light and sky and sunshine is a marvel to her. From this moment on, Hester learns the concept of the secret, and not telling, and the world becomes something that fills her with feeling as if she is a vessel, empty and bottomless for need of it. More

buy_from_fishpondAddition by Toni Jordan -

Tony Jordan's first novel tells the story of Grace Vandenburg, a woman who, at the age of eight, began to count. Now in her mid 30s, her life is governed by counting: numbers, time, and measurements. No longer is Grace able to hold down a job, but she invents a rich secret life,anddevelopsa vigorous relationship with a real man. At his suggestion, Grace goes to therapy to get to the bottom of her 'problem' and when that doesn't work, accepts the drugs as prescribed. This creates more problems than it solves. Finally,at crisis point, Grace takes control and begins to rebuild her life.

This novel is imaginative and thoughtful. Through Grace's voice Jordan expresses the depths of anxiety and trepidation; the heights of Just and joy, and the contrast between disappointment and triumph. 'Addition' questions whether the treatment can be worse than the cure, and the answer to that equation goes to the heart of what makes a person tick. More

buy_from_fishpondThe Devil's Eye by Ian Townsend- A forgotten fragment of Australia's past inspires a powerful new novel. It is the end of the nineteenth century, and one of the most powerful storms in history is born when a hurricane named Mahina moves across the Coral Sea. To a remote part of the Queensland coast come the hundreds of sails of the northern pearling fleets and a native policeman trying to solve a murder. Nearly two thousand men, women and children are gathering around Cape Melville, right in the path of the storm that is about to cause Australia's deadliest natural disaster. Based on real events, this is the story of an unstoppable force of nature and the birth and death of an Australian dream. More

Past Winners of the Miles Franklin 1994-2008

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2008 Winner-The Time We Have Take by Steven Carrollbuy_from_fishpond

The Time We Have Taken

One summer morning in 1970, Peter van Rijn, proprietor of the television and wireless shop, pronounces his Melbourne suburb one hundred years old. That same morning, Rita is awakened by a dream of her husband’s snores, yet it is years since Vic moved north. Their son, Michael, has left for the city, and is entering the awkward terrain of first love.

As the suburb prepares to celebrate progress, Michael’s friend Mulligan is commissioned to paint a mural of the area’s history. But what vision of the past will his painting reveal? Meanwhile, Rita’s sometime friend Mrs Webster confronts the mystery of her husband’s death. And Michael discovers that innocence can only be sustained for so long. The Time We Have Taken is both a meditation on the rhythms of suburban life and aluminous exploration of public and private reckoning during a time of radical change. More 2008 - (Full details of all 2008 books here)

2007 Winner - Carpentaria by Alexis Wrightbuy_from_fishpond


Commenting on the winner's novel, the Judging Panel wrote:
"Alexis Wright’s powerful novel about the Gulf country works on many levels and registers. At its centre is Norm Phantom, an old man of the sea and custodian of indigenous lore, his wife Angel Day, and their son Will, who isinvolved in a deadly fight for land rights against the shadowy proprietors of the huge Gurfurrit mine. At one level, the novel is a gripping account of that campaign and the mining company’s violent and illegal attempts to protect its interests in the Gulf. At another level, it is a stunning evocation – some will want to call it magic realism or postcolonial allegory – of a sublime and often overwhelming tropical world that is still inhabited by traditional spirits like the rainbow serpent, the groper, the sky people and the ghosts of the dead. These ancient spiritual forces work through the elements of sky and sea and land to throw off the presence of the strangers and restore this remarkable place to something like its ancient rhythms. The novel’s climax is quite literally apocalyptic, drawing together its different stylistic registers of myth, allegory and social satire; its conclusion is cathartic and even inspiring. More

2006 Winner -The Ballad of Desmond Kaleby Roger McDonaldbuy_from_fishpond

The Ballad of Desmond Kale

Commenting on the winner’s novel, the Judging Panel wrote:
“This is an historical novel in a grand, operatic style, an affectionate and bravura performance by a novelist at the height of his powers. Steeped in the lore of wool and bushcraft, it echoes a clutch of Great Australian and American Novels, from Moby Dick and Tom Sawyer to His Natural Life and Such is Life. It also recalls many of the best-loved works of Englishfiction, suggesting in its darker moments the mordant wit of Thackeray’s Vanity Fair or, in its sunnier moments, the uplifting ethical vision of Fielding’s Tom Jones. It shares something with those novels in its sweeping geographical scope, its rich cast of characters, and the rollicking pace of its events, which take us from the bush beyond Parramatta to the Houses of Parliament in London, from the sheepwalks of Yorkshire to shipwrecks and piracy in the South Pacific, from the chaotic settlement at Sydney Cove to the grim melodrama of the convict system at Macquarie Harbour.“ More

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Back to topbuy_from_fishpond

2005 Winner- The White Earth by Andrew McGahan

The White Earth

Commenting on the winner's novel, the Judging Panel wrote:
"The White Earth revisits the conventions of the Australian pioneering saga and the gothic novel, investing them with remarkable imaginative force and contemporary significance. On the eve of Native Title legislation, John McIvor ofthe historic Kuran Station in South East Queensland hopes to pass on the estate and its troubled legacy to his young nephew, William. As if seeing through the distracting pain of the boy's illness, McGahan subjects postcolonial Australia to a searing analysis. William's disease is literally the burden of the past. McGahan writes with a total command of thematic design and narrative structure. The White Earth draws on the full resources of the novel as an imaginative form to explore some of the most urgent social and political issues haunting Australians today." Morebuy_from_fishpond

2004 Winner- The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard

The Great Fire

Commenting on the winner's novel, the Judging Panel wrote:
"Moving from postwar Japan, to Hong Kong, England and eventually New Zealand, Shirley Hazzard’s long-awaited new novel approaches the epic in its range of scenes and characters, though running to only 300 pages. At its heart is the growing love between an English war hero and a young Australian girl, providing one glimmer of hope in aworld full of burnt survivors and uncaring victors. Hazzard surrounds her central figures with dozens of others, all perfectly evoked in a few words, as are the sights, sounds and smells of their lives. Complex and utterly engrossing, The Great Fire is a reminder of why, in a digital age, the novel still matters." More

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2003 Winner Journey to the Stone Country by Alex Millerbuy_from_fishpond

Journey to the Stone Country

Commenting on the winner's novel, the Judging Panel wrote:
"The journey central to Alex Miller’s novel is one of both time and space, through a confrontation with the brutalities of the past to the possibilities for a happier future. Journey to the Stone Country is a moving story of the comingtogether of Annabelle Beck, granddaughter of a white station owner, and Bo Rennie, an Aboriginal stockman whose own grandparents had ignored racial divisions. Annabelle must not only learn to view the past without sentimentality, but to accept a different way of being in the world, to acknowledge not only that are there are some things it is not appropriate for her to know, but also the depth of her own attachment to place.

Issues crucial to any reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians could be difficult territory for a novelist, but Miller handles them with skill and tact, ensuring that they come alive on the page and that the journey is never less than an engrossing one." More

2002 Winner Dirt Musicby Tim Winton buy_from_fishpond

Dirt Music

Commenting on the winner's novel, the Judging Panel wrote:
"Dirt Music is a huge, powerful novel about love, guilt, pain, fear - and the visceral, transforming power of music. Beginning in a redneck fishing town, it takes to the road as Luther Fox, abalone poacher, on the run from himself, heads into thetrackless country to the north. With his extraordinary powers of physical description and his readiness to take risks with his writing, Winton conjures a primordial land and seascape and unforgettable characters who live on the edge of the continent on the edge of their nerves. Contemporary Australia, on the surface so money-grubbing and self-absorbed, at its heart so deep and unfathomable, has rarely been laid as bare." More

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Dark Palace

2001 Winner- Dark Palace: The Companion Novel to Grand daysby Frank Moorhouse- buy_from_fishpond

Commenting on the winner's novel, the Judging Panel wrote:
"In Dark Palace, the companion novel to his earlier 'Grand Days,' Frank Moorhouse takes the twinned histories of the League of Nations of Edith Campbell Berry, his Australian heroine, through to the demise of the League after World War II.As its title suggests, this is a more sombre novel than its predecessor, a song of experience rather than innocence, with Edith's earlier idealism and optimism repeatedly challenged by failures in her private life as well as by the League's failure to prevent a world war. Even her trip home to Australia has its darker moments, as she discovers that Canberra has a yet no room for a woman like her. Moorhouse's effortless control of his historical material is matched by his remarkable insight into his character lives." More

2000 Joint Winner- Drylands by Thea Astleybuy_from_fishpond


Thea Astley has won the Miles Franklin Award three times; the first time, in 1962, was for The Well-Dressed Explorer. She won it again in 1965 for The Slow Natives, and in 1972 for The Acolyte.

Commenting on the winners' novels, the Judging Panel wrote:
"Drylands takes us into the heart of One Nation territory. Bewildered by what she perceives as a drifting and increasingly illiterate culture, Janet Deakin, a shop-keeper in a small Queensland town, sets out to write ‘a book for the world's lastreader'. She offers us seven partly allegorical tales of social upheaval. This is gloomy and sometimes discomfiting ground, for the novel deals with gender politics, race relations, the alienation of youth, and violence and hopelessness in rural Australia. But Drylands is written with Thea Astley's trademark concision, bite, and linguistic verve, and brilliantly transcends the darkness at the heart of this novel. It is a powerful achievement by one of our most eminent writers. More

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Benang: From the Heart

and Joint Winner Benang: From the Heartby Kim Scottbuy_from_fishpond

Harley, the levitating narrator of Kim Scott's Benang, is the ‘first white man born', the culmination of his white grandfather's enthusiastic pursuit of the official eugenic policy of ‘breeding out' and ‘elevating' the Native Race.Ambivalent, confused, angry, Harley goes in search of the relatives and ancestors whose genealogies - full-blood, half-caste, quarter-caste, octaroon - his grandfather has painstakingly documented. Harley's journey takes him across the inland to the coast,through past and present lives, into Nyoongar heartland.

Homeric in its ambitions and its largesse, unsettling in its swirling narrative, Benang is an absorbing, moving novel, wryly ironic in tone, in which unregarded, powerless lives are given voice and substance against a lovingly observed land- and sea-scape. More

Eucalyptus1999 Winner - Eucalyptus by Murray Bail-

buy_from_fishpondCommenting on the winner's novel, the Judging Panel wrote:
"You could say that in terms of the characteristic landscape of Australian writing, Murray Bail's Eucalyptus is about ‘the knowledge'. That is its amusing working conceit; but much more seriously it is about how one acquires the knowledge. In his characteristically elegant and deceptively sparse manner, Bail demonstrates the importance of narratives, of story telling, as a way of acquiring and learning about one's self and one's place. It reconstitutes traditional romance conventions (the father setting an impossible task for those who would win the hand of his daughter) and rewrites them for Australia, so that it is simultaneously local and universal in its orientation. And the point of the novel lies not in the young man's success but in what the daughter learns. This is a masculine construct of femininity, no doubt; but then antipodean courtship has ever been more stringy bark than lemon-scented gum gum." More

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1998 Winner - Jack Maggsby Peter Carey -

Jack Maggs

Commenting on the winner's novel, the Judging Panel wrote:
"Peter Carey returns to the nineteenth century in an utterly captivating mystery. The year is 1837 and buy_from_fishponda stranger is prowling London. He is Jack Maggs, an illegal returnee from the prison island of Australia. He has the demeanour of a savage and the skills of a hardened criminal, and he is risking his life on seeking vengeance and reconciliation. Installing himself within the household of the genteel grocer Percy Buckle, Maggs soon attracts the attention of a cross section of London society. Saucy Mercy Larkin wants him for a mate. The writer Tobias Oates wants to possess his soul through hypnosis. But Maggs is obsessed with a plan of his own. And as all the various schemes converge, Maggs rises into the centre, a dark looming figure, at once frightening, mysterious, and compelling. Not since Caleb Carr's The Alienist have the shadowy city streets of the nineteenth century lit up with such mystery and romance." More

1997 Winner - The Glade within the Grove by David Foster- buy_from_fishpond

Commenting on the winner's novel, the Judging Panel wrote:
"David Foster invokes tradition in his learned and comic novel The Glade within the Grove. The book is a sharp, witty and seductive critique of one of the most influential periods in the recent history of ideas in Australia. A serious interest in the ideologies of the liberation movements of the sixties and seventies, in the rhetoric of Trotskyite politics, and the causes and effects of young peoples' retreat to the promise of a rural paradise is brought into balance by reference back to the myths of Attis and Cybele, and to ancient practices and religious beliefs."

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1996 Winner - Highways to a Warby Christopher Koch

Commenting on the winner's novel, the Judging Panel wrote:
"The central character in Christopher Koch's haunting novel, Highways to a War is the strong tall, blond Australian war photographer, Mike Langford, whose essential character is reflected in inner strength , independence and a sense of moral value. Using his own memories, Langford's audio tapes and photographs of his colleagues, the narrator Ray, takes us on a journey of discovery about Langford – who he is now and how he deals with moral and ethical dilemmas. Though Highways to a War is set against the long and bitter saga of the Vietnam War and the subsequent Cambodian conflict, that is such an important component of the social and political landscape of Australian in the Latter part of this century, it is really a novel about loss. Mike Langford's early Tasmanian experience has shaped his character and he carries his haunted past everywhere with him."

1995 Winner - The Hand that Signed the Paper by Helen Demidenko-

Commenting on the winner's novel, the Judging Panel wrote:
"Helen Demidenko’s novel, The Hand that Signed the Paper, is about the response of a family of Ukrainian migrants to the war crimes tribunals in Australia at the end of the 1980s. When her uncle Vitaly is one of those charged, Fiona, the idealistic young Queensland university student who narrates the book, feels compelled to understand what Vitaly and his brother and sister - her father and aunt - actually did as Nazi collaborators during the war, and why. Appointing herself the family’s “recording angel”, Fiona gathers their accounts of their lives, as peasant children in the famine-stricken Ukraine under Stalin, as adolescents with the SS, as post-war migrant refugees. From this literary device comes a multi-voiced novel of shifting perspectives which renders, with great authenticity, both the inhuman horrors and the human pleasures of her characters’ lives. Its focus is the story of Vitaly, who becomes a guard at Treblinka. Ever present is the contrast with Fiona’s untroubled Australian childhood and adolescence. Her innocence is the story’s moral centre; her sense of righteousness, its driving force. Helen Demidenko’s first novel displays a powerful literary imagination coupled to a strong sense of history, and brings to light a hitherto unspeakable aspect of the Australian migrant experience."

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1994 Winner - The Grisly Wife by Rodney Hall

Commenting on the winner's novel, the Judging Panel wrote:
"Rodney Hall’s The Grisly Wife is a novel with a rather surprising vision. In it he interrogates that curious kind of mind which desires things to be the way they are said to be, and observes what happens when that is found to be not so. For this is a place where astonishing things happen. Given this is about an unorthodox religious group, a band of, as it happens, deformed women led to colonial Australia by a bizarre zealot, this could have been a grimly gothic tale; but it is not. For example, the repressions are all redeemed by the heroine’s comic self-possession and the poetic power of her narrative. Essentially, Hall distinguishes between the fundamentalist and nonconformist cast of mind, and that is a very unusual subject for an Australian writer."

Winners 1957- 1993

* 1993 - The Ancestor Game, Alex Miller
* 1992 - Cloudstreet, Tim Winton
* 1991 - The Great World, David Malouf
* 1990 - Oceana Fine, Tom Flood
* 1989 - Oscar and Lucinda, Peter Carey

1988 - Date changed from year of publication to year of announcement.

* 1987 - Dancing on Coral, Glenda Adams
* 1986 - The Well, Elizabeth Jolley
* 1985 - The Doubleman, Christopher Koch
* 1984 - Shallows, Tim Winton
* 1983 - No award.
* 1982 - Just Relations, Rodney Hall
* 1981 - Bliss, Peter Carey
* 1980 - The Impersonators, Jessica Anderson
* 1979 - A Woman of the Future, David Ireland
* 1978 - Tirra Lirra by the River, Jessica Anderson
* 1977 - Swords and Crowns and Rings, Ruth Park
* 1976 - The Glass Canoe, David Ireland
* 1975 - Poor Fellow My Country, Xavier Herbert
* 1974 - The Mango Tree, Ronald McKie
* 1973 - No award.
* 1972 - The Acolyte, Thea Astley
* 1971 - The Unknown Industrial Prisoner, David Ireland
* 1970 - A Horse of Air, Dal Stivens
* 1969 - Clean Straw for Nothing, George Johnston
* 1968 - Three Cheers for the Paraclete, Thomas Keneally
* 1967 - Bring Larks and Heroes, Thomas Keneally
* 1966 - Trap, Peter Mathers
* 1965 - The Slow Natives, Thea Astley
* 1964 - My Brother Jack, George Johnston
* 1963 - Careful, He Might Hear You, Sumner Locke Elliott
* 1962 - tie
o The Well Dressed Explorer, Thea Astley
o The Cupboard Under the Stairs, George Turner
* 1961 - Riders in the Chariot, Patrick White
* 1960 - The Irishman, Elizabeth O'Conner
* 1959 - The Big Fellow, Vance Palmer
* 1958 - To the Islands, Randolph Stow
* 1957 - Voss, Patrick White

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Shortlists 1987- 2007


* Careless, Deborah Robertson
*Carpentaria, Alexis Wright- Winner
* Dreams of Speaking, Gail Jones
*Theft: A Love Story, Peter Carey


* The Garden Book, Brian Castro
* The Secret River, Kate Grenville
*The Ballad of Desmond Kale, Roger McDonald- Winner
* Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living:, Carrie Tiffany
* The Wing of Night, Brenda Walker


* Salt Rain, Sarah Armstrong
* The Gift of Speed, Steven Carroll
* Sixty Lights, Gail Jones
*The White Earth, Andrew McGahan- Winner
* The Submerged Cathedral, Charlotte Wood


* My Life as a Fake, Peter Carey
* Elizabeth Costello, J.M. Coetzee
* Three Dog Night, Peter Goldsworthy
* The Great Fire, Shirley Hazzard
* Slow Water, Annamarie Jagose
* Seven Types of Ambiguity, Elliot Perlman

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* The Prosperous Thief, Andrea Goldsmith
* Of a Boy, Sonya Hartnett
* Moral Hazard, Kate Jennings
* An Angel in Australia, Tom Keneally
* Journey to the Stone Country, Alex Miller
* Wild Surmise, Dorothy Porter


* The Art of the Engine Driver, Steven Carroll
* Gould's Book of Fish, Richard Flanagan
* Gilgamesh, Joan London
* The Architect, John Scott
* Dirt Music, Tim Winton- Winner


*True History of the Kelly Gang, Peter Carey
* The Company, Arabella Edge
* The Day We Had Hitler Home, Rodney Hall
* English Passengers, Matthew Kneale
* Conditions of Faith, Alex Miller
* Dark Palace, Frank Moorhouse- Winner
* Life after George, Hannie Rayson

Matthew Kneale's novel is the first by a non-Australian to be shortlisted for the award. Hannie Rayson's, Life after George, is the first play to be shortlisted.


* Drylands, Thea Astley- Winner
* Too Many Men, Lily Brett
* What a Piece of Work, Dorothy Porter
* Benang, Kim Scott
* Isobel on the Way to the Corner Shop, Amy Witting

Dorothy Porter's What a Piece of Work is the first verse novel to be shortlisted.

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*Eucalyptus, Murray Bail- Winner
* Red Shoes, Carmel Bird
* The Golden Dress, Marion Halligan
* Mr Darwin's Shooter, Roger McDonald
* Three Dollars, Elliot Perlman


* Wrack, James Bradley
* Jack Maggs, Peter Carey
* The Service of Clouds, Delia Falconer
* The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Richard Flanagan
* One for the Master, Dorothy Johnston
* Lovesong, Elizabeth Jolley
* Nightpictures, Rod Jones


* The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow, Thea Astley
* Night Letters, Robert Dessaix
* The Drowner, Robert Drewe
* The Glade within the Grove, David Foster
* Oyster, Janette Turner Hospital
* The Conversations at Curlow Creek, David Malouf
* Before I Wake, John Scott


* The White Garden, Carmel Bird
* The House in the Light, Beverley Farmer
* Bracelet Honeymyrtle, Judith Fox
* The Touchstone, Paul Horsfall
* Highways to a War, Christopher Koch
* Camille's Bread, Amanda Lohrey
* The Sitters, Alex Miller

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* The Hand that Signed the Paper, Helen Demidenko
* Death of a River Guide, Richard Flanagan
* Dark Places, Kate Grenville
* A Mortality Tale, Jay Verney


* The Grisly Wife, Rodney Hall
* Remembering Babylon, David Malouf
* Water Man, Roger McDonald


* Vanishing Points, Thea Astley
* After China, Brian Castro
* Cosmo Cosmolino, Helen Garner
* The Last Magician, Janette Turner Hospital
* Shearers' Motel, Roger McDonald
* The Ancestor Game, Alex Miller


* Double Wolf, Brian Castro
* Our Sunshine, Robert Drewe
* To the Burning City, Alan Gould
* The Second Bridegroom, Rodney Hall
* Cloudstreet (Picador Books), Tim Winton

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* Longleg, Glenda Adams
* Taking Shelter, Jessica Anderson
* Reaching Tin River, Thea Astley
* The Bluebird Café, Carmel Bird
* The Country Without Music, Nicholas Hasluck
* The Great World, David Malouf


* Company of Images, Janine Burke
* Oceana Fine, Tom Flood
* Maestro, Peter Goldsworthy
* Avenue of Eternal Peace, Nicholas Jose
* Smyrna, Tony Maniaty
* I for Isobel, Amy Witting


*Oscar and Lucinda, Peter Carey
* Captivity Captive, Rodney Hall
* Out of the Line of Fire, Mark Henshaw
* Building on Sand, David Parker
* Charades, Janette Turner Hospital

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Date changed from year of publication to year of announcement, so no award was made in this year.


* Dancing on Coral, Glenda Adams
* Holden's Performance, Murray Bail
* Truant State, Nicholas Hasluck
* Bloodfather, David Ireland
* Home is the Sailor, Nancy Phelan

Longlists 2005- 2008


  • Landscape of Farewell- Alex Miller-
  • Love without Hope- Rodney Hall -
  • Orpheus Lost- Janet Turner-Hospital -
  • Secrets of the Sea - Nicholas Shakespeare-
  • Sorry - Gail Jones
  • The Memory Room - Christopher Koch
  • The Time We Have Taken - Stephen Carroll
  • The Fern Tattoo- David Brooks
  • The Widow and Her Hero - Thoma Keneally


*Theft: A Love Story, Peter Carey
* Silent Parts, John Charalambous
* The Unknown Terrorist, Richard Flanagan
* Beyond the Break, Sandra Hall
* Dreams of Speaking, Gail Jones
* The Unexpected Elements of Love, Kate Legge
* Careless, Deborah Robertson
* Carpentaria, Alexis Wright

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* Knitting, Anne Bartlett
* The Garden Book, Brian Castro
* The Secret River, Kate Grenville
* An Accidental Tourist, Stephen Lang
* The Ballad of Desmond Kale, Roger McDonald
* Prochownik's Dream, Alex Miller
* Sunnyside, Joanna Murray-Smith
* A Case of Knives, Peter Rose
* The Broken Shore, Peter Temple
* Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living, Carrie Tiffany
* Dead Europe, Christos Tsiolkas
* The Wing of Night, Brenda Walker


* Salt Rain, Sarah Armstrong
* The Gift of Speed, Steven Carroll
* Backwaters, Robert Engwarda
* The Ghost Writer, John Harwood
* The Broken Book, Susan Johnson
* Sixty Lights, Gail Jones
* A Private Man, Malcolm Knox
* The Philosopher's Doll, Amanda Lohrey
* The White Earth, Andrew McGahan
* I Have Kissed Your Lips, Gerard Windsor
* The Submerged Cathedral, Charlotte Wood
* The Last Ride, Denise Young

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