The 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award
Perpetual is delighted to be a part of the literary legacy created by Stella Miles Franklin.
Australia’s most prestigious literary award was established through the will of the writer Stella Miles Franklin, best known for her novel My Brilliant Career. The bequest came as a surprise to the literary world as Franklin had told nobody – except her trustees – of her plans.
Miles Franklin had first-hand experience of the struggle to make a living as a writer and was the beneficiary of two literary prizes. She was also extremely conscious of the importance of fostering a uniquely Australian literature. She wrote, "Without an indigenous literature, people can remain alien in their own soil."
Accordingly, the Award is presented each year to a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases.
The Miles Franklin was first awarded in 1957. Since then, the annual announcement of the winner has become an event anticipated and discussed throughout Australia and around the world.
Sofie Laguna takes out Australia’s most prestigious literary award for 2015
Sofie Laguna was announced the winner of the 2015 Miles Franklin Award for The Eye of the Sheep, published by Allen & Unwin. On receiving the award from Perpetual CEO Geoff Lloyd, Laguna described Miles Franklin as a “visionary and generous” writer.
The story of Laguna’s winning novel is told through the young central character, Jimmy Flick, who navigates a difficult world of violence and alcoholism. “Jimmy Flick is a character who sees everything,” said one of this year’s judges, Richard Neville, State Library of NSW Mitchell Librarian. The judges noted that the “raw, high-energy and coruscating language” of Jimmy Flick gives this finely crafted novel its power.
“Jimmy Flick is a character who sees everything,” - Richard Neville
The 2015 shortlist was comprised of unforgettable characters and powerful Australian voices. The short-listed authors included Joan London, Sonya Hartnett, Christine Piper and Craig Sherborne.
Perpetual as Trustee
Perpetual, as Trustee of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, is responsible for:
- administering the Trust that underpins the Award, in accordance with its deed and ensuring that the wishes of Miles Franklin are met
- sound investment management of the Trust so that the Award can continue to provide its winners with significant prize money.
Auspicious beginnings and a coveted prize
In 1957, the first winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award was Patrick White, for his novel Voss. White received £500 and declared,
“I am going to buy a hi-fi set and a kitchen stove.”
About the Miles Franklin’s charitable Trust
The initial investment was $17,844, (in decimal currency). Over the past 58 years the Trust has grown to be worth over $1.3 million. In total, the Trust has paid $968,000 to writers, including this year’s award.
Through sound investment management, Perpetual is proud to have overseen the steady increase in the winners’ prize money, currently $60,000, which has supported some of Australia’s finest writers.