Best reads this festive season


Perpetual Private Insights

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Once the presents have been opened and your family has been fed, when the festivities are finished and there’s nothing more to cook, take the time to sit down with a good book…

As Trustee for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, we have some brilliant reads to suggest for the festive season.

2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlist

Each year, the prize is awarded to a novel of the highest literary merit which presents Australian life in any of its phases. The judges were spoilt for choice with the quality of this year’s shortlist.

Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, State Library of NSW Mitchell Librarian, Richard Neville, said: “Yet again the shortlist celebrates the diversity of voices and approaches to writing about Australian life. None of these novels draw on familiar tropes of Australian literature – yet each brings a distinctive pitch of truth and insight into the Australian experience.”

Here’s a snapshot of shortlisted novels:


AN ISOLATED INCIDENT by Emily Maguire (Pac Macmillan Australia): An intriguing exploration of two women, a murder, and media and masculinity set in a tough regional town.


THE LAST DAYS OF AVA LANGDON by Mark O’Flynn (University of Queensland Press): A warmly empathetic portrayal of a misunderstood but spirited outsider who refuses to concede to society’s conventional expectations.

THEIR BRILLIANT CAREERS by Ryan O’Neill (Black Inc): A rich and entertaining satire featuring 15 biographies of imagined Australian writers whose bizarre and exaggerated lives are neatly slotted into real literary history.



WAITING by Philip Salom (Puncher & Wattmann): A deftly executed and very human novel about a pair of odd couples, who are both waiting for something or someone to change their lives.


EXTINCTIONS by Josephine Wilson (UWA Publishing): A clever and compassionate novel exploring ageing, adoption, grief and remorse; rescue and resistance to rescue.

And the winner was…

Josephine Wilson’s Extinctions.

Commenting on the win, Neville said, “The novel is a meditation on survival: on what people carry, on how they cope, and on why they might, after so much putting their head in the sand, come to the decision to engage, and even change.”

In a year when the Miles Franklin Literary Award celebrates its 60th anniversary, it is fitting the 2017 winning novel should address themes of ageing and survival. In Miles Franklin’s case, her legacy has far more than survived, it has thrived. Her initial endowment of $17,000 has been actively managed to grow to more than $1.3 million today – during this time, the first prize of £500 in 1957 has grown to $60,000.

A time to reflect – and consider your legacy

At Perpetual, we are proud of our role as Trustee of the Miles Franklin Literary Award. We are one of Australia’s largest managers and distributors of philanthropic funds with $2.6 billion in funds under advice (as of 30 June 2017).

So if you think about philanthropy this festive season, and the legacy you want to leave behind, we’d love the opportunity to speak with you. 



Speak to one of our philanthropy specialists to find out how you can make the most of your charitable giving.

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