Perpetual announces Longlist for prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award 2020

Miles Franklin Longlist 2020

Perpetual

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The trustee of Australia’s most prestigious literary award, Perpetual, has today announced ten talented authors who have been included in the 2020 Longlist for the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

The Miles Franklin Literary Award was established by prolific author and feminist Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin, now best known for her first novel My Brilliant Career. First presented in 1957, the Award celebrates novels of the highest literary merit that tell stories about Australian life. Winning authors also receive a prize of $60,000. The Award remains Australia’s most prestigious and valued literary award.

The 2020 Miles Franklin Literary Award longlist is:

Author

Novel

Publisher

Tony Birch

The White Girl

University of Queensland Press

Melanie Cheng

Room for a Stranger

Text Publishing

Peggy Frew

Islands

Allen & Unwin

John Hughes

No One

UWA Publishing

Anna Krien

Act of Grace

Black Inc.

Gerald Murnane

A Season on Earth

Text Publishing

Philip Salom

The Returns

Transit Lounge

Carrie Tiffany

Exploded View

Text Publishing

Tara June Winch

The Yield

Penguin Random House

Charlotte Wood

The Weekend

Allen & Unwin


“This year's Miles Franklin longlist is a mix of established and newer Australian authors. Their novels give voice to a diversity of Australian characters whose common feature is their location on the margins, whether geographical, familial or societal. They explore the ripples and repercussions of childhood trauma, the healing power of friendship, and the unshakeable presence of the past.” 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, Murray Waldren – The Australian journalist and author, book critic Dr Melinda Harvey, Sydney-based bookseller, Lindy Jones, and author and literary critic Dr Bernadette Brennan.

Perpetual’s General Manager of Community & Social Investment, Caitriona Fay, congratulated the longlisted authors on their achievement.

“Now, more than ever, we recognise the exceptional contribution these writers make to Australian cultural life and the importance of supporting them to tell our stories. As Trustee of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, Perpetual is proud to support the literary community through this enduring philanthropic legacy and we commend the longlisted authors,” said Ms Fay.

Last year, the Miles Franklin Literary Award was awarded to Melissa Lucashenko for her novel, Too Much Lip (2019).

The shortlisted finalists will be revealed on 17 June 2020 and the winner announced 16 July 2020.

For further information about the Miles Franklin Literary Award, visit http://www.milesfranklin.com.au/

2020 Miles Franklin Literary Award

Tara June Winch

The Yield

Author photo credit: Tara June Winch
Penguin Random House Australia

BIOGRAPHY:

Tara June Winch is a Wiradjuri author, born in Australia in 1983 and based in France.  Her first novel, Swallow the Air was critically acclaimed. She was named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist, and has won numerous literary awards for Swallow the Air. A 10th Anniversary edition was published in 2016.  In 2008, Tara was mentored by Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka as part of the prestigious Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.  Her second book, the story collection After the Carnage was published in 2016. After the Carnage was longlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for fiction, shortlisted for the 2017 NSW Premier’s Christina Stead prize for Fiction and the Queensland Literary Award for a collection.  She wrote the Indigenous dance documentary, Carriberrie, which screened at the 71st Cannes Film Festival and toured internationally.  The Yield won the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, the People’s Choice Award and Book of the Year at the 2020 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

SYNOPSIS:

The yield in English is the reaping, the things that man can take from the land. In the language of the Wiradjuri yield is the things you give to, the movement, the space between things: baayanha.

Knowing that he will soon die, Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. His life has been spent on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains. Albert is determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered. He finds the words on the wind.  August Gondiwindi has been living on the other side of the world for ten years when she learns of her grandfather’s death. She returns home for his burial, wracked with grief and burdened with all she tried to leave behind. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin and news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. Determined to make amends she endeavours to save their land – a quest that leads her to the voice of her grandfather and into the past, the stories of her people, the secrets of the river.

Profoundly moving and exquisitely written, Tara June Winch’s The Yield is the story of a people and a culture dispossessed. But it is as much a celebration of what was and what endures, and a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, storytelling and identity.

Read an extract

JUDGES' COMMENTS

In English, ‘the yield’ is product gained from agricultural or industrial processes; in the Wiradjuri language, ‘it’s the things you give to, the movement, the space between things’. Wiradjuri author Tara June Winch’s The Yield explores the gap between white and Indigenous cultures as well as the intersections between the contemporary and the colonial. There are three narrators – a young woman returning home for her grandfather’s funeral after a decade in self-imposed exile on the other side of the world; a grandfather whose dying days are spent compiling an anecdotal dictionary of reclaimed words and cultural values; and a 19th-century missionary whose despairing letters detail “deeds of infamy”. The Yield illustrates how Indigenous history carries forward pain and sorrow yet also allows compassion, resilience, dignity, humour and humanity to flourish. Haunting and accomplished, the novel does not gloss over the realities of dysfunction in enunciating what was and what remains yet it gifts its readers an elegant exposure to Indigenous language and speaks of the endurance of family ties and a redemptive hope for the future.

Tony Birch - Finalist

The White Girl

Author photo credit: Sara Wills
University of Queensland Press

BIOGRAPHY:

Tony Birch is the author of three novels: the bestselling The White Girl, winner of the NSW Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing; Ghost River, winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing; and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. He is also the author of Shadowboxing and three short story collections, Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People. In 2017 he was awarded the Patrick White Literary Award. Tony is a frequent contributor to ABC local and national radio, a regular guest at writers’ festivals, and a climate justice campaigner. He lives in Melbourne.

SYNOPSIS:

Odette Brown has lived her whole life on the fringes of a small country town. After her daughter disappeared and left her with her granddaughter Sissy to raise on her own, Odette has managed to stay under the radar of the welfare authorities who are removing fair-skinned Aboriginal children from their families. When a new policeman arrives in town, determined to enforce the law, Odette must risk everything to save Sissy and protect everything she loves.

In The White Girl, Miles-Franklin-shortlisted author Tony Birch shines a spotlight on the 1960s and the devastating government policy of taking Indigenous children from their families.

Read an extract

JUDGES' COMMENTS

The White Girl tells a story familiar to, or indeed lived by, Aboriginal Australians, but one that is largely absent from the nation’s literature. Tony Birch’s novel describes the journey of Odette, her thirteen-year-old granddaughter Sissy and their struggle to stay together when the authorities are determined to break them apart. Set in the early 1960s, the novel begins in the dangerous hostility of a segregated township in rural Australia. Desperate to stop Sissy being removed from her custody, Odette escapes to the city looking for safety and solutions. At the centre of The White Girl are the everyday crushing indignities imposed by White Australia on Aboriginal people, and the vast pools of community resistance and support in response. The novel unfolds with an uncompromising and engaging clarity in terms of both structure and style. In Odette, Birch creates a character of immense courage and moral strength negotiating the bastardry of officials, legislation and bureaucracy, and the legacy of violence inflicted on her family. This is not a novel given to sentimentality; it is a celebration of Aboriginal resilience and kinship in response to trauma. It demands that Australia address this savage past.

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Peggy Frew - Finalist

Islands

Author photo credit: Mclean Stephenson
Allen and Unwin

BIOGRAPHY:

Peggy Frew's first novel, House of Sticks, won the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript by an Emerging Victorian Writer, and was shortlisted for the UTS Glenda Adams Prize for New Writing. Hope Farm, her second novel, won the Barbara Jefferis Award, was shortlisted for the Stella Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award, and longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award. She has been published in New Australian Stories 2Kill Your DarlingsMeanjin and The Big Issue. Peggy is also a member of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Melbourne band Art of Fighting. Islands is her third novel.

SYNOPSIS:

A stunning literary novel from the author of the Stella Prize shortlisted Hope Farm.  

Helen and John are too preoccupied with making a mess of their marriage to notice the quiet ways in which their daughters are suffering. Junie grows up brittle and defensive, Anna difficult and rebellious.  When fifteen-year-old Anna fails to come home one night, her mother's not too worried; Anna's taken off before but always returned. Helen waits three days to report her disappearance.  But this time Anna doesn't come back ...

A spellbinding novel in the tradition of Helen Garner, Charlotte Wood and Georgia Blain, Islands is a riveting and brilliant portrait of a family in crisis by the breathtakingly talented author of House of Sticks and Hope Farm.

Read an extract

JUDGES' COMMENTS

In Islands Peggy Frew maps the disintegration of a nuclear family, set against the rugged backdrop of Phillip Island and Melbourne suburbia. June and Anna Worth are teenagers when their parents, John and Helen, separate. That initial family trauma, exacerbated by John’s inability to accept Helen’s decision to leave, rips the family apart. June chooses to live with John, Anna with Helen. Neither girl is afforded due care or attention. Neither knows how to articulate their needs. And would the self-absorbed adults in their lives listen anyway? When fifteen-year-old Anna disappears the remaining family members are each islanded in their grief. Frew takes great narrative risks in this poetic novel that explores the generational repercussions of loss and trauma through a fractured multi-perspectival narrative in which time becomes fluid, truths are radically subjective, and absence is always a wounding presence.

_______

 

John Hughes - Finalist

No One

Author photo credit: Paul Eichorn
UWA

BIOGRAPHY:

John Hughes’ first book, The Idea of Home, won the 2005 NSW Premier’s Award for Non-Fiction, the 2006 National Biography Award, and was the National Year of Reading ‘Our Story’ winner for NSW in 2012. His second book, Someone Else: Fictional Essays, won the Adelaide 2008 Festival Award for Innovation and the 2008 Queensland Premier’s Award for Short Stories, and was listed for the inaugural 2009 Warwick International Prize for Writing. His third book, The Remnants, was published in 2012 by UWAP, which also published The Garden of Sorrows in 2013 and Asylum in 2016. The Garden of Sorrows was translated by Li Yao and published in China by the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Publishing Company in 2016, and republished by Azoth Books in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, also in 2016. John has published widely in journals and magazines throughout Australia and overseas and is Librarian at Sydney Grammar School.

SYNOPSIS:

In the ghost hours of a Monday morning a man feels a dull thud against the side of his car near the entrance to Redfern Station. He doesn’t stop immediately. By the time he returns to the scene, the road is empty, but there is a dent in the car, high up on the passenger door, and what looks like blood. Only a man could have made such a dent, he thinks. For some reason he looks up, though he knows no one is there. Has he hit someone, and if so, where is the victim?  So begins a story that takes us to the heart of contemporary Australia’s festering relationship to its indigenous past. A story about guilt for acts which precede us, crimes we are not sure we have committed, crimes gone on so long they now seem criminal-less.

Part crime novel, part road movie, part love story, No One takes its protagonist to the very heart of a nation where non-existence is the true existence, where crimes cannot be resolved and guilt cannot be redeemed, and no one knows what to do with ghosts that are real.

Read an extract

JUDGES' COMMENTS

In this gripping novel, an unnamed narrator recalls the chain of events that were set in train when he hit – or thought he hit – a person with his car in Redfern nineteen years ago. His efforts to find the imagined victim of the accident lead him to a woman with a scarred face whom he names ‘the Poetess’. Together they enter a phantasmagorical underworld of hospital waiting rooms, local parks, pubs and public transport. This story is interspersed with moth-eaten memories of the narrator’s own past of itineracy and deprivation: first as the child of Iraqi refugees in Istanbul, next as an orphan in foster homes from Katherine to Cessnock, and last as an adult and stranger to Sydney. It is a story entangled with Australia’s biggest and most indelible one: that of indigenous dispossession from land, language, culture and family. It is a slim book, but it contains a multitude of references that reverberate the theme of absent presences: Francis Bacon, the Orpheus myth, Neil Young, Winnie-the-Pooh… What emerges is a portrait of being Australian that entails the necessity of listening to the relentless rumbles of a traumatic history.

_______

 

Philip Salom - Finalist

The Returns

Author photo credit: Meredith Kidby
Transit Lounge Publishing

BIOGRAPHY:

Philip Salom lives in North Melbourne, Australia. In 2017 his novel Waiting was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award, the Prime Minister's Award and the Victorian Premiers Prize. His novel Toccata and Rain was shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal and the WA Premiers Prize for Fiction, and Playback won the WA Premiers Prize for Fiction. His poetry books have twice won: the Commonwealth Poetry Book Prize in London and the Western Australia Premier’s Prize for Poetry. Philip was born in Bunbury, Western Australia, and raised on a dairy farm in Brunswick Junction. After several years working in farming districts he went to University in Perth. Over the years he has lectured in Creative Writing at the Universities of Murdoch, Curtin, Deakin and the University of Melbourne.

SYNOPSIS:

Elizabeth posts a 'room for rent' notice in Trevor's bookshop and is caught off-guard when Trevor answers the advertisement himself. She expected a young student not a middle-aged bookseller whose marriage has fallen apart. But Trevor is attracted to Elizabeth's house because of the empty shed in her backyard, the perfect space for him to revive the artistic career he abandoned years earlier. The face-blind, EH Holden-driving Elizabeth is a solitary and feisty book editor, and she accepts him, on probation...

Years earlier Elizabeth’s mother had been a strikingly wilful Rajneeshee, renouncing the world – and her family – but now she is the ageing matriarch, increasingly unwell and become, of all things, a hoarder. Trevor’s father has been missing, assumed dead, for thirty years, until he suddenly re-appears in Trevor’s bookshop demanding money. The Returns is a story of odd couples and eccentric encounters and of life’s many ironies.

Read an extract

JUDGES' COMMENTS

Trevor and Elizabeth might be disparagingly called ordinary middle-aged people. Really, they are just in the middle of living, with all the everyday concerns of work, health and relationships. Circumstances bring them together as lodger and landlady and bind them together as friends, with the unspoken possibility of more. The ‘returns’ of the title include Trevor's father (long ago declared legally dead), abandoned talents and ways of seeing - but also the restoration of confidence, love and feeling that life is worth living and chances worth taking. This novel is a celebration of the humble and unsung, firmly grounded in a specific North Melbourne locale. The characters' failings and small triumphs are observed good-naturedly and non-judgementally, and often with a playfulness that does not disguise empathy or compassion. The pithy observations, authentic dialogue and keenly rendered characterisation gives weight to even the most minor of players and celebrates the poetry of ordinary existence. There is a joyousness in the author's use of the well-turned phrase that makes this slice-of-life novel a delight to read, not least of all because of its spirit of generosity in regards to people’s follies and foibles.

_______

 

Carrie Tiffany - Finalist

Exploded View

Author photo credit: Celeste de Clario
Text Publishing

BIOGRAPHY:

Carrie Tiffany was born in West Yorkshire and grew up in Western Australia. She spent her early twenties working as a park ranger in Central Australia. Her first novel, Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living (2005), was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Guardian First Book Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and won the Dobbie Award and the WA Premier’s Award for Fiction. Mateship with Birds (2011) was also shortlisted for many awards and won the inaugural Stella Prize and the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Carrie’s latest novel Exploded View (2019) won the University of Queensland Fiction Book Award in the 2019 Queensland Literary Awards. She lives and works in Melbourne.

SYNOPSIS:

Must a girl always be a part? How can she become a whole?

In the late 1970s, in the forgotten outer suburbs, a girl has her hands in the engine of a Holden. A sinister new man has joined the family. He works as a mechanic and operates an unlicensed repair shop at the back of their block. The family is under threat. The girl reads the Holden workshop manual for guidance. She resists the man with silence, then with sabotage. She fights him at the place where she believes his heart lives – in the engine of the car.

Spare, poetic and intensely visual, Exploded View is the powerful new novel from the author of Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living and Mateship with Birds – one of Australia’s most celebrated writers and winner of the inaugural Stella Prize.

Read an extract

JUDGES' COMMENTS

Carrie Tiffany’s Exploded View, set in Perth’s outer suburbs in the 1970s, is narrated by an unnamed adolescent girl who has chosen not to speak. This novel of radical interiority, told through first and second person vignettes and the spaces in between, charts the dissociative, watchful and knowing thoughts of a girl trapped and traumatised by familial neglect and sexual abuse. Occasionally, the girl helps her stepfather repair cars in his backyard workshop. At night when she can escape his body and his house, she commits small acts of sabotage on the cars or steals them and goes for a liberating drive. The girl likens her body to a car’s engine, but while her stolen manual’s exploded view shows how an engine may be reassembled, its instructions are not transferable: ‘When a human body is taken apart there’s no way it can ever be put back together again’. In this arresting book, Tiffany interrogates power and gender, gives voice to voicelessness and tells masterfully a tale that must never again be unheard.

_______

 

Tara June Winch - Finalist

The Yield

Author photo credit: Tara June Winch
Penguin Random House Australia

BIOGRAPHY:

Tara June Winch is a Wiradjuri author, born in Australia in 1983 and based in France.  Her first novel, Swallow the Air was critically acclaimed. She was named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist, and has won numerous literary awards for Swallow the Air. A 10th Anniversary edition was published in 2016.  In 2008, Tara was mentored by Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka as part of the prestigious Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.  Her second book, the story collection After the Carnage was published in 2016. After the Carnage was longlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for fiction, shortlisted for the 2017 NSW Premier’s Christina Stead prize for Fiction and the Queensland Literary Award for a collection.  She wrote the Indigenous dance documentary, Carriberrie, which screened at the 71st Cannes Film Festival and toured internationally.  The Yield won the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, the People’s Choice Award and Book of the Year at the 2020 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

SYNOPSIS:

The yield in English is the reaping, the things that man can take from the land. In the language of the Wiradjuri yield is the things you give to, the movement, the space between things: baayanha.

Knowing that he will soon die, Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. His life has been spent on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains. Albert is determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered. He finds the words on the wind.  August Gondiwindi has been living on the other side of the world for ten years when she learns of her grandfather’s death. She returns home for his burial, wracked with grief and burdened with all she tried to leave behind. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin and news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. Determined to make amends she endeavours to save their land – a quest that leads her to the voice of her grandfather and into the past, the stories of her people, the secrets of the river.

Profoundly moving and exquisitely written, Tara June Winch’s The Yield is the story of a people and a culture dispossessed. But it is as much a celebration of what was and what endures, and a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, storytelling and identity.

Read an extract

JUDGES' COMMENTS

In English, ‘the yield’ is product gained from agricultural or industrial processes; in the Wiradjuri language, ‘it’s the things you give to, the movement, the space between things’. Wiradjuri author Tara June Winch’s The Yield explores the gap between white and Indigenous cultures as well as the intersections between the contemporary and the colonial. There are three narrators – a young woman returning home for her grandfather’s funeral after a decade in self-imposed exile on the other side of the world; a grandfather whose dying days are spent compiling an anecdotal dictionary of reclaimed words and cultural values; and a 19th-century missionary whose despairing letters detail “deeds of infamy”. The Yield illustrates how Indigenous history carries forward pain and sorrow yet also allows compassion, resilience, dignity, humour and humanity to flourish. Haunting and accomplished, the novel does not gloss over the realities of dysfunction in enunciating what was and what remains yet it gifts its readers an elegant exposure to Indigenous language and speaks of the endurance of family ties and a redemptive hope for the future. 

_______

 

Melanie Cheng

Room for a Stranger

Author photo credit: Rani Chahal
Text Publishing

BIOGRAPHY:

Melanie Cheng is a writer and general practitioner. She was born in Adelaide, grew up in Hong Kong and now lives in Melbourne. Her debut collection of short stories, Australia Day, won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript in 2016 and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction in 2018. Room for a Stranger is her first novel.

SYNOPSIS:

Since her sister died, Meg has been on her own. She doesn’t mind, not really—not with Atticus, her African grey parrot, to keep her company—but after her house is broken into by a knife-wielding intruder, she decides it might be good to have some company after all.

Andy’s father has lost his job, and his parents’ savings are barely enough to cover his tuition. If he wants to graduate, he’ll have to give up his student flat and find a homeshare. Living with an elderly Australian woman is harder than he’d expected, though, and soon he’s struggling with more than his studies.

_______

 

Anna Krien

Act of Grace

Author photo credit: Jesse Marlow
Black inc books

BIOGRAPHY:

Anna Krien is the author of the award-winning Night Games and Into the Woods, as well as two Quarterly Essays, Us and Them and The Long Goodbye. Anna’s writing has been published in The Monthly, The Age, Best Australian Essays, Best Australian Stories and The Big Issue. In 2014 she won the UK William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, and 2018 she received a Sidney Myer Fellowship. Act of Grace, her debut novel, was shortlisted for the 2020 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

SYNOPSIS:

An electrifying story of fear and sacrifice, and what people will do to outrun the shadows.

Iraqi aspiring pianist Nasim falls from favour with Saddam Hussein and his psychopathic son, triggering a perilous search for safety. In Australia, decades later, Gerry is in fear of his tyrannical father, Toohey, who has returned from the Iraq War bearing the physical and psychological scars of conflict. Meanwhile, Robbie is dealing with her own father’s dementia when the past enters the present.  These characters’ worlds intertwine in a brilliant narrative of guilt and reckoning, trauma and survival.

Crossing the frontiers of war, protest and reconciliation, Act of Grace is a meditation on inheritance: the damage that one generation passes on to the next, and the potential for transformation.

_______

 

Gerald Murnane

A Season on Earth

Author photo credit: Ian Hill
Text Publishing

BIOGRAPHY:

Gerald Murnane was born in Melbourne in 1939. He is the author of thirteen works of fiction, including the internationally acclaimed novel The Plains and most recently A Season on Earth, as well as a memoir, a collection of essays and a volume of poetry. He has won the Patrick White Award, the Melbourne Prize for Literature, an Adelaide Festival Award, a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and, for Border Districts, a Prime Minister’s Literary Award. Murnane lives in Goroke, in western Victoria.

SYNOPSIS:

What he had been searching for was not the perfect religious order but the perfect landscape…From that moment on he was a poet in search of his ideal landscape.

Lost to the world for more than four decades, A Season on Earth is the essential link between two acknowledged masterpieces by Gerald Murnane: the lyrical account of boyhood in his debut novel, Tamarisk Row, and the revolutionary prose of The Plains. A Season on Earth is Murnane’s second novel as it was intended to be, bringing together all of its four sections—the first two of which were published as A Lifetime on Clouds in 1976 and the last two of which have never been in print. A hilarious tale of a lustful teenager in 1950s Melbourne, A Lifetime on Clouds has been considered an outlier in Murnane’s fiction. That is because, as Murnane writes in his foreword, it is ‘only half a book and Adrian Sherd only half a character’.

Here, at last, is sixteen-year-old Adrian’s journey in full, from fantasies about orgies with American film stars and idealised visions of suburban marital bliss to his struggles as a Catholic novice, and finally a burgeoning sense of the boundless imaginative possibilities to be found in literature and landscapes. Adrian Sherd is one of the great comic creations in Australian writing, and A Season on Earth is a revelatory portrait of the artist as a young man.

_______

 

Charlotte Wood

The Weekend

Chris Chen
Allen and Unwin

BIOGRAPHY:

Charlotte Wood has been described as 'one of our most original and provocative writers'. She is the author of six novels and two books of non-fiction. Her bestselling novel, The Natural Way of Things, won the 2016 Stella Prize, the Indie Book of the Year and Indie Book Award for Fiction, was joint winner of the Prime Minister's Literary Award for Fiction, and was published throughout Europe, the United Kingdom and North America. She has been twice shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, as well as many others for this and previous works. Her non-fiction books include The Writer's Room, a collection of interviews with authors about the creative process, and Love & Hunger, a book about cooking. She lives in Sydney with her husband.

SYNOPSIS:

The brilliant new novel from Charlotte Wood, acclaimed author of The Natural Way of Things.  Four older women have a lifelong friendship of the best kind: loving, practical, frank and steadfast. But when Sylvie dies, the ground shifts dangerously for the remaining three. Can they survive together without her?  They are Jude, a once-famous restaurateur, Wendy, an acclaimed public intellectual, and Adele, a renowned actress now mostly out of work. Struggling to recall exactly why they've remained close all these years, the grieving women gather for Christmas at Sylvie's old beach house - not for festivities, but to clean the place out before it is sold.  Without Sylvie to maintain the group's delicate equilibrium, frustrations build and painful memories press in. Fraying tempers, an elderly dog, unwelcome guests and too much wine collide in a storm that brings long-buried hurts to the surface - and threatens to sweep away their friendship for good.

The Weekend explores growing old and growing up, and what happens when we're forced to uncover the lies we tell ourselves. Sharply observed and excruciatingly funny, this is a jewel of a book: a celebration of tenderness and friendship that is nothing short of a masterpiece.

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