CONGRATULATIONS A.S. PATRIĆ

The Miles Franklin Literary Award is Australia’s most prestigious literature prize. Established through the will of My Brilliant Career author, Miles Franklin, the prize is awarded each year to a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases.

First presented in 1957, the Award helps to support authors and to foster uniquely Australian literature. Miles Franklin believed that “Without an indigenous literature, people can remain alien in their own soil."  She also had first-hand experience of struggling to make a living as a writer and was the beneficiary of two literary prizes herself.

Perpetual, as trustee of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, and The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund are proud to be a part of this literary legacy.  

2016 Miles Franklin Literary Award

A.S. Patrić

Black Rock White City

Patric

BIOGRAPHY:

A. S. Patrić is the award winning author of Las Vegas for Vegans, published in 2012 by Transit Lounge. Las Vegas for Vegans was shortlisted for the 2013 Queensland Literary Awards’ Steele Rudd Prize. His debut novel Black Rock White City was launched to critical acclaim in 2015. He is also the author of Bruno Kramzer and The Rattler & other stories. Alec lives in bayside Melbourne and is a St Kilda bookseller.

SYNOPSIS:

During a hot Melbourne summer Jovan’s cleaning work at a bayside hospital is disrupted by acts of graffiti and violence becoming increasingly malevolent. For Jovan the mysterious words that must be cleaned away dislodge the poetry of the past. He and his wife Suzana were forced to flee Sarajevo and the death of their children.

Intensely human, yet majestic in its moral vision, Black Rock White City is an essential story of Australia’s suburbs now, of displacement and immediate threat, and the unexpected responses of two refugees as they try to reclaim their dreams. It is a breathtaking roar of energy that explores the immigrant experience with ferocity, beauty and humour.

JUDGES' COMMENTS:

A fresh and powerful exploration of the immigrant experience and Australian life, Black Rock White City explores the damages of war, the constraints of choice, the possibility of redemptive love and social isolation amid suburbia.

Traumatised by the carnage and personal tragedies of war-torn Yugoslavia, Jovan and Suzana wash up in mid-90s Melbourne where, a former poet and an academic, they find themselves limited by language and cultural stereotype into roles as cleaners. 

A menacing sense of anarchy inhabits the hospital where Jovan works after an anonymous ‘Dr Graffito’ begins defacing the wards with cryptic, distressing messages. It is Jovan’s job to erase the evidence, all the while negotiating the blandness of a society that doesn’t see him, or the flashbacks of his former life and his dysfunctional marriage to Suzana.

In language as crisp and pungent as the chemicals Jovan uses to erase the graffiti, Black Rock White City submerges the reader in its unapologetic intimacy.  It is at times brutal, and frequently challenging, yet a deft poetry underlies its cinematic reach. Patric’s idiosyncratic awareness and sometimes disconcerting vision inhabits the margins between realism and fable as the novel’s invigorating vitality, astute wit and adroit observations on the links between language and identity gives us a roller-coaster read that pins the immigrant – and the wider Australian  - experience with an eye that is unflinchingly, and unforgettably, honest.


A.S. Patrić - Winner

Black Rock White City

Patric

BIOGRAPHY:

A. S. Patrić is the award winning author of Las Vegas for Vegans, published in 2012 by Transit Lounge. Las Vegas for Vegans was shortlisted for the 2013 Queensland Literary Awards’ Steele Rudd Prize. His debut novel Black Rock White City was launched to critical acclaim in 2015. He is also the author of Bruno Kramzer and The Rattler & other stories. Alec lives in bayside Melbourne and is a St Kilda bookseller.

SYNOPSIS:

During a hot Melbourne summer Jovan’s cleaning work at a bayside hospital is disrupted by acts of graffiti and violence becoming increasingly malevolent. For Jovan the mysterious words that must be cleaned away dislodge the poetry of the past. He and his wife Suzana were forced to flee Sarajevo and the death of their children.

Intensely human, yet majestic in its moral vision, Black Rock White City is an essential story of Australia’s suburbs now, of displacement and immediate threat, and the unexpected responses of two refugees as they try to reclaim their dreams. It is a breathtaking roar of energy that explores the immigrant experience with ferocity, beauty and humour.


Peggy Frew - Finalist

Hope Farm

Peggy Frew

BIOGRAPHY:

Peggy Frew's debut novel, House of Sticks, won the 2010 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. Her story 'Home Visit' won The Age short story competition. She has been published in New Australian Stories 2, Kill Your Darlings, The Big Issue, and Meanjin. Peggy is also a member of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Melbourne band Art of Fighting. Her latest novel is Hope Farm.

SYNOPSIS:

They were inescapable, the tensions of the adult world — the fraught and febrile aura that surrounded Ishtar and those in her orbit, that whined and creaked like a wire pulled too tight.'

It is the winter of 1985. Hope Farm sticks out of the ragged landscape like a decaying tooth, its weatherboard walls sagging into the undergrowth. Silver's mother, Ishtar, has fallen for the charismatic Miller, and the three of them have moved to the rural hippie commune to make a new start.

At Hope, Silver finds unexpected friendship and, at last, a place to call home. But it is also here that, at just thirteen, she is thrust into an unrelenting adult world — and the walls begin to come tumbling down, with deadly consequences.

Hope Farm is the masterful second novel from award-winning author Peggy Frew, and is a devastatingly beautiful story about the broken bonds of childhood, and the enduring cost of holding back the truth.


Myfanwy Jones - Finalist

Leap

Myfanwy Jones

BIOGRAPHY:

Myfanwy Jones is the author of The Rainy Season, shortlisted for The Melbourne Prize for Literature's Best Writing Award 2009, and co-author of the bestselling Parlour Games for Modern Families, Book of the Year for Older Children ABIA 2010. She lives by a creek in Melbourne with her human and non-human family.

SYNOPSIS:

Joe lives-despite himself. Driven by the need to atone for the neglect of a single tragic summer's night, he works at nothing jobs and, in his spare time, trains his body and mind to conquer the hostile environment that took his love and smashed up his future. So when a breathless girl turns up on the doorstep, why does he let her in? Isn't he done with love and hope?

On the other side of the city, graphic designer Elise is watching her marriage bleed out. She retreats to the only place that holds any meaning for her-the tiger enclosure at the zoo-where, for reasons she barely understands, she starts to sketch the beautiful killers.

Leap is a beautiful urban fairytale about human and animal nature, and the transformative power of grief. While at its heart is a searing absence, this haunting and addictive novel is propelled by an exhilarating life force, and the eternally hopeful promise of redemptive love.



Lucy Treloar - Finalist

Salt Creek 

Treloar

BIOGRAPHY:

Lucy Treloar was born in Malaysia and educated in England, Sweden and Melbourne. A graduate of the University of Melbourne and RMIT, Lucy is a writer and editor, and has plied her trades both in Australia and in Cambodia, where she lived for a number of years. Her short fiction has appeared in Sleepers, Overland, Seizure and Best Australian Stories 2013, and her non-fiction in a range of print media including The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Womankind, G Magazine, The West, Visit Cambodia, RAM and Gardening Australia. Her first novel, Salt Creek, was published by Picador in 2015. Lucy lives in inner Melbourne with her husband, four children and two whippets.

SYNOPSIS:

Salt Creek, 1855, lies at the far reaches of the remote, beautiful and inhospitable coastal region, the Coorong, in the new province of South Australia. The area, just opened to graziers willing to chance their luck, becomes home to Stanton Finch and his large family, including fifteen-year-old Hester Finch.

Once wealthy political activists, the Finch family has fallen on hard times. Cut adrift from the polite society they were raised to be part of, Hester and her siblings make connections where they can: with the few travellers that pass along the nearby stock route - among them a young artist, Charles - and the Ngarrindjeri people they have dispossessed. Over the years that pass, an Aboriginal boy, Tully, at first a friend, becomes part of the family.

Stanton's attempts to tame the harsh landscape bring ruin to the Ngarrindjeri people's homes and livelihoods, and unleash a chain of events that will tear the family asunder. As Hester witnesses the destruction of the Ngarrindjeri's subtle culture and the ideals that her family once held so close, she begins to wonder what civilization is. Was it for this life and this world that she was educated?


Charlotte Wood - Finalist

The Natural Way of Things 

Wood

BIOGRAPHY:

Charlotte Wood is the author of five novels and a book of non-fiction, and editor of The Writer's Room Interviews magazine. Her last novel, Animal People, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin award and her other books have been shortlisted for many prizes including the Miles Franklin and the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction. The Australian described her as "one of our finest and most chameleonic writers". She lives in Sydney.

SYNOPSIS:

She hears her own thick voice deep inside her ears when she says, 'I need to know where I am.' The man stands there, tall and narrow, hand still on the doorknob, surprised. He says, almost in sympathy, 'Oh, sweetie. You need to know what you are.'

Two women awaken from a drugged sleep to find themselves imprisoned in a broken-down property in the middle of nowhere. Strangers to each other, they have no idea where they are or how they came to be there with eight other girls, forced to wear strange uniforms, their heads shaved, guarded by two inept yet vicious armed jailers and a 'nurse'. The girls all have something in common, but what is it? What crime has brought them here from the city? Who is the mysterious security company responsible for this desolate place with its brutal rules, its total isolation from the contemporary world? Doing hard labour under a sweltering sun, the prisoners soon learn what links them: in each girl's past is a sexual scandal with a powerful man. They pray for rescue -- but when the food starts running out it becomes clear that the jailers have also become the jailed. The girls can only rescue themselves.


Tony Birch

Ghost River

Tony Birch

BIOGRAPHY:

Tony Birch is the author of Blood (UQP, 2011), which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. He is also the author of Shadowboxing (2006), and two short story collections, Father’s Day (2009) and The Promise (UQP, 2014). Tony is a frequent contributor to ABC local and national radio and a regular guest at writers’ festivals. He lives in Melbourne and is a Senior Research Fellow at Victoria University.

SYNOPSIS:

Sonny Brewer and ‘Ren’ (Charlie) Renwick become neighbours and then unlikely best friends. Ren’s mum Loretta and her partner Archie Kemp, are both hard-working and caring. Sonny’s mum cleared out years before with his younger sibling, and left him with his hard-drinking often violent father. Ren is a quiet kid who spends a lot of his time drawing birds. Sonny has a smart mouth and is often in trouble at school, but can do anything with his hands. The boys had been loners but become firm friends with a shared love for the river where they befriend a group of homeless ‘river men’. ‘Differences between the boys could have set them apart, but their shared loss drew them together. Sonny and Ren were also the only kids around the neighbourhood without brothers or sisters living under the same roof, which was unusual.’ (p 10) After Sonny is expelled, his dad leaves home and Sonny finds work as a paper boy. Ren wants to buy a good camera to take beautiful photos of birds so he helps Sonny out. In the course of their work they discover some of the unsavoury types in their neighbourhood. Sonny’s uncle Rory comes to look after him and also gives him work as an ‘emu’ at the races. Meanwhile a strange preacher moves in next door to them with his family, and his daughter Della seems to be reaching out to Ren, but is obviously troubled herself. And when the boys discover that ‘their’ river is to make way for a freeway, Sonny decides to do something about it.


Stephen Daisley

Coming Rain

Stephen Daisley

BIOGRAPHY:

Stephen Daisley was born in 1955 and grew up in the North Island of New Zealand. He has worked on sheep and cattle stations, on oil and gas construction sites and as a truck driver, among many other jobs.

Stephen’s first novel, Traitor, won the 2011 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction. He lives in Western Australia with his wife and five children.

SYNOPSIS:

Western Australia, 1955. Lew McLeod has been travelling and working with Painter Hayes since he was a boy. Shearing, charcoal burning—whatever comes. Painter made him his first pair of shoes. But Lew’s a grown man now. And with this latest job, shearing for John Drysdale and his daughter Clara, everything will change.

Stephen Daisley writes in lucid, rippling prose of how things work, and why; of the profound satisfaction in hard work done with care, of love and friendship and the damage that both contain. 


Mireille Juchau     

The World Without Us

Mireille Juchau

BIOGRAPHY:

Mireille Juchau is a critically acclaimed Australian novelist. The World Without Us is her third novel, published by Bloomsbury in Australia, UK and forthcoming in the US. The World Without Us won The Victorian Premier’s Literary Award 2016, is shortlisted for the Stella Prize 2016, and longlisted for Australian Book Industry Awards 2016. Mireille’s second novel, Burning In, was shortlisted for four awards including the Prime Minister’s Literary Award 2008. Described by The Guardian UK as “a writer of great poetic power”, Mireille is also known for her short fiction, essays and reviews.

SYNOPSIS:

It has been six months since Tess Müller stopped speaking. Her silence is baffling to her parents, her teachers and her younger sister Meg. The girls’ secluded lives in a northern rainforest town are shaken up when their father Stefan discovers human remains on their farm.

As locals in the transient community speculate on who has gone missing, Tess and Meg have a more urgent mystery. Where does their mother Evangeline go each day, pushing an empty pram and returning home muddy and dishevelled?

One day Tess's teacher Jim stumbles across Evangeline by the wild Repentance River. Jim is in flight from his own troubles in Sydney, and Evangeline is in search of elusive truths about her time in a mountain commune. Their charged encounter propels Evangeline’s past into the present and sparks a change in all their lives.

As the forest trees are felled and the lakes fill with run-off from the expanding mines, the landscape of the family undergoes shifts of its own. When the rainy season descends and they become separated, each of the Müllers will be forced to decide where they truly belong.


Stephen Orr

The Hands: An Australian pastoral

Orr

BIOGRAPHY:

Stephen Orr is a celebrated South Australian author whose award-winning novels have won critical acclaim internationally and at home. His novel Time’s Long Ruin – an eloquent, unusual, bold but responsible retelling’ of the disappearance of the Beaumont children – was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2011 and One Boy Missing was shortlisted for the Best Crime Novel in the 2014 Ned Kelly Awards.

An original and sometimes controversial thinker, Stephen also contributes essays sand articles to many publications, on themes literary, historical and topical. He works as a teacher, and enjoys visiting the homes of literary greats around the world.

SYNOPSIS:

He didn't look like he could jump a bull, but she knew he could. It was all in the hands, he'd often explain. The will. The bloody mindedness.

On a cattle station that stretches beyond the horizon, seven people are trapped by their history and the need to make a living. Trevor Wilkie, the good father, holds it all together, promising his sons a future he no longer believes in himself. The boys, free to roam the world's biggest backyard, have nowhere to go.

Trevor's father, Murray, is the keeper of stories and the holder of the deed. Murray has no intention of giving up what his forefathers created. But the drought is winning. The cattle are ribs. The bills keep coming. And one day, on the way to town, an accident changes everything.


Miles Franklin

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The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund has been a proud supporter of the Miles Franklin Award since 2004, granting more than half a million dollars to this premier Australian literary prize. Since 2011, the Copyright Agency has provided $5,000 for each author named on the shortlist.

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