Perpetual announces longlist for prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award

Perpetual

Perpetual

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Perpetual, the trustee of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, today announced twelve brilliant authors have been included on the 2022 Longlist. They will be competing for one of the most prominent literary prizes in Australia, with the winner also receiving $60,000.

The Miles Franklin Literary Award was established by feminist, and author of My Brilliant Career, Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin. First presented in 1957, the Award celebrates novels of the highest literary merit that tell stories about Australian life, shining a light on some of the country’s most accomplished writers.

The 2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award longlist is:

Author
 
Novel
 
Publisher
 
 Michael Mohammed Ahmad
 The Other Half of You
 Hachette Australia
 Larissa Behrendt
 After Story
 University of Queensland Press
 Michelle de Kretser
 Scary Monsters
 Allen & Unwin
 Jennifer Down
 Bodies of Light
 Text Publishing
 Briohny Doyle
 Echolalia
 Penguin Random House
 Max Easton
 The Magpie Wing
 Giramondo Publishing
 John Hughes
 The Dogs (withdrawn)
 Upswell Publishing
 Jennifer Mills
 The Airways
 Picador Australia, Pan Macmillan Australia
 Alice Pung
 One Hundred Days
 Black Inc. Books
 Claire Thomas
 The Performance
 Hachette Australia
 Christos Tsiolkas
 7 ½
 Allen & Unwin
 Michael Winkler
 Grimmish
 Puncher and Wattmann

 

“This year’s longlist, drawn from a robust pool of entries, reflects the thematic richness and the formal adventurousness of the contemporary Australian novel, as our writers respond to our times. Diverse in every sense, it extends from works of realism to novels in a more experimental vein, proving that the nation’s story-tellers are continuing to test the boundaries of what the novel can do,” said Richard Neville, State Library of NSW Mitchell Librarian.  

The judging panel comprises Richard Neville, Mitchell Librarian of the State Library of NSW and Chair; author and literary critic, Dr Bernadette Brennan; literary scholar, Dr Mridula Nath Chakraborty; book critic, Dr James Ley; and author and editor, Dr Elfie Shiosaki.

Last year, the Miles Franklin Literary Award was awarded to Amanda Lohrey for her novel, The Labyrinth (2021).

The shortlisted finalists will be revealed on 23 June 2022 and the winner announced on 20 July 2022.

 

Join the Miles Franklin conversation on social media:

Twitter: @_milesfranklin

Instagram: @milesfranklinliteraryaward

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2022 Miles Franklin Literary Award

Michael Mohammed Ahmad

The Other Half of You

Michael Mohammed Ahmad_credit_Anna Kucera

Author photo credit: Anna Kucera

BIOGRAPHY:

Michael Mohammed Ahmad is the founding director of Sweatshop Literacy Movement and editor of the critically acclaimed anthology After Australia (Affirm Press, 2020). Mohammed's debut novel, The Tribe (Giramondo, 2014), won the 2015 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelists of the Year Award. His second novel, The Lebs (Hachette Australia, 2018), won the 2019 NSW Premier's Multicultural Literary Award and was shortlisted for the 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Mohammed received his Doctorate of Creative Arts from Western Sydney University in 2017.

SYNOPSIS:

'I only ever asked you for one thing,' my father said, a quiver in his voice. 'Just this one thing.' It was as though I had smashed the Ten Commandments.

'Oh father,' I cried, grovelling at his ankles while my mother and siblings looked on. 'The one thing you asked of me - is everything.'

Bani Adam has known all his life what was expected of him. To marry the right kind of girl. To make the House of Adam proud.

But Bani wanted more than this – he wanted to make his own choices. Being the first in his Australian Muslim family to go to university, he could see a different way.

Years later, Bani will write his story to his son, Kahlil. Telling him of the choices that were made on Bani's behalf and those that he made for himself. Of the hurt he caused and the heartache he carries. Of the mistakes he made and the lessons he learned.

In this moving and timely novel, Michael Mohammed Ahmad balances the complexities of modern love with the demands of family, tradition and faith.

_______

 

Larissa Behrendt

After Story

credit ABC

Author photo credit: ABC

BIOGRAPHY:

Larissa is the author of three novels: Home, which won the 2002 David Unaipon Award and the regional Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book; Legacy, which won the 2010 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing; and After Story. She has published numerous books on Indigenous legal issues; her most recent non-fiction book is Finding Eliza: Power and Colonial Storytelling. She was awarded the 2009 NAIDOC Person of the Year award and 2011 NSW Australian of the Year. Larissa wrote and directed the feature films, After the Apology and Innocence Betrayed and has written and produced several short films. In 2018 she won the Australian Directors’ Guild Award for Best Direction in a Documentary Feature and in 2020 the AACTA for Best Direction in Nonfiction Television. She is the host of Speaking Out on ABC radio and is Distinguished Professor at the Jumbunna Institute at the University of Technology Sydney.

SYNOPSIS:

When Indigenous lawyer Jasmine decides to take her mother, Della, on a tour of Englands most revered literary sites, Jasmine hopes it will bring them closer together and help them reconcile the past.

Twenty-five years earlier the disappearance of Jasmine’s older sister devastated their tight-knit community. This tragedy returns to haunt Jasmine and Della when another child mysteriously goes missing on Hampstead Heath. As Jasmine immerses herself in the world of her literary idols – including Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters and Virginia Woolf – Della is inspired to rediscover the wisdom of her own culture and storytelling. But sometimes the stories that are not told can become too great to bear.

Ambitious and engrossing, After Story celebrates the extraordinary power of words and the quiet spaces between. We can be ready to listen, but are we ready to hear?

_______

 

Michelle de Kretser

Scary Monsters

M De Kretser_credit Joy Lai

Author photo credit: Joy Lai

BIOGRAPHY:

Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and lives in Australia. Her fiction is published across the world and has attracted wide acclaim.

SYNOPSIS:

Scary Monsters is an audacious novel made up of two narratives, each told by a South Asian migrant to Australia. Lili is teaching in France in the early 1980s. As she makes friends, worries about a creepy neighbour and strives to be A Bold, Intelligent Woman, Lili is observing the treatment of North African immigrants. In a radically right-wing, near-future Australia, Lyle lives in fear of repatriation. To pass as ordinary Australians, Lyle and his wife shun the past and embrace what they perceive to be fundamental Australian values: avid consumerism, ruthless individualism and the fetishisation of real estate. The flip format of the book and its radical discontinuities embody the experience of migration as well as extending our understanding of novels themselves.

_______

 

Jennifer Down

Bodies of Light

Jennifer Down

Author photo credit: Leah Jing McIntosh

BIOGRAPHY:

Jennifer Down is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Age, Saturday Paper, Australian Book Review and Literary Hub. She was named a Sydney Morning Herald Young Novelist of the Year consecutively in 2017 and 2018. Our Magic Hour, her debut novel, was shortlisted for the 2014 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. Her second book, Pulse Points, was the winner of the 2018 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction and the 2018 Steele Rudd Award for a Short Story Collection in the Queensland Literary Awards, and was shortlisted for a 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Award. She lives in Naarm/Melbourne.

SYNOPSIS:

So by the grace of a photograph that had inexplicably gone viral, Tony had found me. Or: he’d found Maggie.

I had no way of knowing whether he was nuts or not; whether he might go to the cops. Maybe that sounds paranoid, but I don’t think it’s so ridiculous. People have gone to prison for much lesser things than accusations of child-killing.

A quiet, small-town existence. An unexpected Facebook message, jolting her back to the past. A history she’s reluctant to revisit: dark memories and unspoken trauma, warning knocks on bedroom walls, unfathomable loss.

She became a new person a long time ago. What happens when buried stories are dragged into the light?

This epic novel from the two-time Sydney Morning Herald Young Novelist of the Year is a masterwork of tragedy and heartbreak—the story of a life in full. Sublimely wrought in devastating detail, Bodies of Light confirms Jennifer Down as one of the writers defining her generation.

_______

 

Briohny Doyle

Echolalia

Briohny Doyle

Author photo credit: Nash Ferguson

BIOGRAPHY:

Briohny Doyle is the author of the novel The Island Will Sink, and the memoir Adult Fantasy. Her fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in The Monthly, Meanjin, Overland, The Griffith Review, Good Weekend, The Guardian, and the Sunday Times. She’s performed  at the Sydney Festival and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. She is a lecturer in writing and literature at Deakin University and a 2020 Fulbright Scholar. Echolalia is her second novel.

SYNOPSIS:

What could drive a mother to do the unthinkable?

Before: Emma Cormac married into a perfect life but now she’s barely coping. Inside a brand new, palatial home, her three young children need more than she can give. Clem, a wilful four year old, is intent on mimicking her grandmother; the formidable matriarch Pat Cormac. Arthur is almost three and still won't speak. At least baby Robbie is perfect. He’s the future of the family. So why can't Emma hold him without wanting to scream?
Beyond their gleaming windows, a lake vista is evaporating. The birds have mostly disappeared, too. All over Shorehaven, the Cormac family buys up land to develop into cheap housing for people they openly scorn.

After: The summers have grown even fiercer and the Cormac name doesn't mean what it used to. Arthur has taken it abroad, far from a family unable to understand him. Clem is a young artist who turns obsessively to the same dark subject. Pat doesn't even know what legacy means now. Not since the ground started sinking beneath her.
Meanwhile, a nameless woman has been released from state care. She sticks to her twelve-step program, recites her affirmations, works one day at a time on a humble life devoid of ambition or redemption. How can she have an after when baby Robbie doesn’t?

_______

 

Max Easton

The Magpie Wing

Max Easton

Author photo credit: Nash Ferguson

BIOGRAPHY:

Max Easton is a writer from south-west Sydney whose non-fiction work has appeared in Sydney Review of Books, Meanjin, Science for the People, The Lifted Brow and Mess+Noise. He is the creator of the underground music podcast Barely Human, and has played in a number of Sydney punk bands including BB & The Blips, The Baby, Basic Human and Romance. He is a former research scientist, and now works at the Western Suburbs Magpies rugby league club. The Magpie Wing is his first novel.

SYNOPSIS:

Helen, Walt and Duncan are looking for ways to entertain themselves in the sprawl of Sydney’s western suburbs. Walt, scrappy and idealistic, wants to prove a point and turns to petty vandalism. His friend Duncan is committed to his fledgling football career, and seeks out sexual encounters in unfamiliar houses. Walt’s sister Helen, in search of something larger than herself, is forced by scandal to leave the family home. As they move into adulthood they gravitate to the dingy glamour of the inner-city suburbs, looking to escape their families’ complicated histories, and to find new identities, artistic, sexual and political.

The Magpie Wing is set on football fields, in sharehouses, at punk gigs, and in dilapidated and gentrifying pubs. Max Easton’s debut novel moves from the nineties to the present, and between the suburbs and the inner city, exploring how communities that appear worlds apart – underground music scenes, rugby league clubs, communist splinter groups – often share unexpected roots.

_______

 

Jennifer Mills

The Airways

Jen Mills

BIOGRAPHY:

Jennifer Mills is the author of the novels The Airways (forthcoming: Picador, 2021) Dyschronia (Picador, 2018), Gone (UQP, 2011) and The Diamond Anchor (UQP, 2009) and a collection of short stories, The Rest is Weight (UQP, 2012). In 2019 Dyschronia was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, Australia's most prestigious prize for literary fiction, the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature, and the Aurealis Awards for science fiction.

The Rest is Weight was shortlisted for the 2013 Queensland Literary Awards Steele Rudd Award for an Australian Short Story Collection and longlisted for the 2013 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. In 2012 Mills was named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist and in 2014 she received the Barbara Hanrahan Fellowship from the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature. Previous awards include the 2008 Marian Eldridge Award for Young Emerging Women Writers, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, and the Northern Territory Literary Awards.

Mills' fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been widely published, appearing in MeanjinHecateOverlandHeatIsland, the Lifted Brow, the Griffith ReviewBest Australian StoriesNew Australian Stories, and the Review of Australian Fiction, as well as being broadcast, recorded and performed from Adelaide to Berlin. Mills' creative residencies include time at Varuna and Bundanon, an Asialink residency in Beijing in 2010, and a residency at Yaddo in NY in 2015. She is a regular writer for Overland literary journal and has contributed criticism to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Wheeler Centre, and the Sydney Review of Books. From 2012-2018 she was the fiction editor at Overland.

SYNOPSIS:

I had a body once before. I didn't always love it. I knew the skin as my limit, and there were times I longed to leave it.

I knew better than to wish for this.

This is the story of Yun. It's the story of Adam.
Two young people. A familiar chase.

But this is not a love story.
It's a story of revenge, transformation, survival.

Feel something, the body commands. Feel this.
But it's a phantom . . . I go untouched.


They want their body back.

Who are we, if we lose hold of the body?
What might we become?

The Airways shifts between Sydney and Beijing, unsettling the boundaries of gender and power, consent and rage, self and other, and even life and death.

A powerful, inventive, and immersive novel from award-winning author Jennifer Mills.

_______

 

Alice Pung

One Hundred Days

Alice Pung

Author photo credit: Courtney Brown

BIOGRAPHY:

Alice Pung OAM is an award-winning writer based in Melbourne. She is the bestselling author of the memoirs Unpolished Gem and Her Father's Daughter, and the essay collection Close to Home, as well as the editor of the anthologies Growing Up Asian in Australia and My First Lesson. Her first novel, Laurinda, won the Ethel Turner Prize at the 2016 NSW Premier's Literary Awards. One Hundred Days is her most recent novel. Alice was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to literature in 2022.

SYNOPSIS:

From one of Australia's most celebrated authors comes a mother-daughter drama exploring the faultlines between love and control.

One hundred days. It's no time at all, she tells me. But she's not the one waiting.

In a heady whirlwind of independence, lust and defiance, sixteen-year-old Karuna falls pregnant. Not on purpose, but not entirely by accident, either. Incensed, Karuna's mother, already over-protective, confines her to their fourteenth-storey housing-commission flat, to keep her safe from the outside world - and make sure she can't get into any more trouble.

Stuck inside for endless hours, Karuna battles her mother and herself for a sense of power in her own life, as a new life forms and grows within her. As the due date draws ever closer, the question of who will get to raise the baby - who it will call Mum - festers between them.

One Hundred Days is a fractured fairytale exploring the fault lines between love and control. At times tense and claustrophobic, it is nevertheless brimming with humour, warmth and character. It is a magnificent new work from one of Australia's most celebrated writers.

_______

 

Claire Thomas

The Performance

Claire Thomas

Author photo credit: Leah Jing McIntosh

BIOGRAPHY:

Claire Thomas is a Melbourne writer. Her acclaimed first novel was Fugitive Blue, which won the Dobbie Award for women writers, and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Claire holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne where she taught literary studies and creative writing for many years.

SYNOPSIS:

The false cold of the theatre makes it hard to imagine the heavy wind outside in the real world, the ash air pressing onto the city from the nearby hills where bushfires are taking hold.

The house lights lower.

The auditorium feels hopeful in the darkness.

As bushfires rage outside the city, three women watch a performance of a Beckett play.

Margot is a successful professor, preoccupied by her fraught relationship with her ailing husband. Ivy is a philanthropist with a troubled past, distracted by the snoring man beside her. Summer is a young theatre usher, anxious about the safety of her girlfriend in the fire zone.

As the performance unfolds, so does each woman's story. By the time the curtain falls, they will all have a new understanding of the world beyond the stage.

_______

 

Christos Tsiolkas

7 ½

Christos Tsiolkas

Author photo credit: Sarah Enticknap

BIOGRAPHY:

Christos Tsiolkas is the author of seven novels, including Loaded, which was made into the feature film Head-On, The Jesus Man and Dead Europe, which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award, as well as being made into a feature film. His fourth novel, the international bestseller The Slap, won Overall Best Book in the Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2009, was shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award, longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize and won the Australian Literary Society Gold, as well as the 2009 Australian Booksellers Association and Australian Book Industry Awards Books of the Year.

Christos's fifth novel Barracuda was shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal and the inaugural Voss Literary Prize. The Slap and Barracuda were both adapted into celebrated television series. Christos's acclaimed collection of short stories, Merciless Gods, was published in 2014 and his critical literary study On Patrick White came out in 2018. His sixth novel, Damascus, was published in 2019 and won the 2019 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Fiction. He is also a playwright, essayist and screen writer. He lives in Melbourne.

SYNOPSIS:

A man arrives at a house on the coast to write a book. Separated from his lover and family and friends, he finds the solitude he craves in the pyrotechnic beauty of nature, just as the world he has shut out is experiencing a cataclysmic shift. The preoccupations that have galvanised him and his work fall away, and he becomes lost in memory and beauty …

He also begins to tell us a story …

A retired porn star is made an offer he can't refuse for the sake of his family and future. So he returns to the world he fled years before, all too aware of the danger of opening the door to past temptations and long-buried desires. Can he resist the oblivion and bliss they promise?

A breathtakingly audacious novel by the acclaimed author of The Slap and Damascus about finding joy and beauty in a raging and punitive world, about the refractions of memory and time and, most subversive of all, about the mystery of art and its creation.

_______

 

Michael Winkler

Grimmish

Michael Winkler

Author photo credit: Joe Winkler

BIOGRAPHY:

Michael Winkler is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee described Winkler’s novel Grimmish as, ‘The strangest book you are likely to read this year.’ Helen Garner said, ‘Grimmish meets a need I didn't even know I had. I lurched between bursts of wild laughter, shudders of horror, and gasps of awe at Winkler’s verbal command.’ Winkler won the Calibre Prize for The Great Red Whale, an essay about Uluru, relationships between First Nations and non-Indigenous Australians, mental illness and Moby Dick. His journalism, short fiction, reviews and essays have been widely published and anthologised. michaelwinkler.com.au

SYNOPSIS:

In 1908-09 the Italian-American boxer Joe Grim toured Australia, losing fights but astonishing crowds with his showmanship and physical resilience. On the east coast Grim played a supporting role in the Jack Johnson-Tommy Burns Fight of the Century; on the west coast he was committed to an insane asylum. In between he played with the concept and reality of pain in a shocking manner not witnessed before or since. Grimmish is built around the picaresque adventures of this singular pain artiste, told through the memories of the narrator’s uncle who is not his uncle, a bricolage of secondary texts, arcane footnotes, questionable jokes and a talking goat. Alongside its exploration of physical and psychic pain, masculinity and vulnerability, Grimmish maps the elisions inherent in narrative and the elusive alchemy at the core of the creative process.

_______