This morning the Miles Franklin longlist was released via a slow literary striptease from the Trust Company — revealing, one twitpic at a time, the covers of the 10 novels.
And what an interesting longlist it is. Not only decidedly free from the controversy that plagued it in 2011 following an all-male shortlist that saw Australia’s most prestigious literary prize described variously as a “sausage fest” and “c-ck-forest,” the list is dominated by females, with just two male authors represented: Brian Castro and Tom Keneally. (Though I can’t actually print the female equivalent of c-ck-forest, Twitter has helpfully provided me with some potential new terms. Enjoy.)
In what is perhaps a dig at the newly founded Stella Prize, the press release from the Trust Company today emphasises the female-dominated longlist, announcing that while half the original list of 73 submissions were written by women, this year’s longlist “sees the largest number of female authors selected since the longlist was first introduced in 2005”. Eight of the 10 books are written by women.
There is some overlap between the Stella and Miles Franklin lists, with two of the Stella shortlisted titles on the Miles Franklin longlist: Questions of Travel and Mateship with Birds.
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It’s a list that supports first-time novelists, with almost half the longlist made up of debut novels — by Romy Ash, Annah Faulkner, M.L. Stedman and Jacqueline Wright. The list also includes one former (double) Miles Franklin winner: Keneally, who won in 1967 for Bring Larks and Heroes and 1968 for Three Cheers for the Paraclete.
The 10 longlisted titles are:
- Romy Ash — Floundering (Text)
- Lily Brett — Lola Bensky (Hamish Hamilton)
- Brian Castro — Street to Street (Giramondo)
- Michelle de Kretser — Questions of Travel (A&U)
- Annah Faulkner — The Beloved (Picador)
- Tom Keneally — The Daughters of Mars (Vintage)
- Drusilla Modjeska — The Mountain (Vintage)
- M.L.Stedman — The Light Between Oceans (Vintage)
- Carrie Tiffany — Mateship with Birds (Picador)
- Jacqueline Wright — Red Dirt Talking (Fremantle Press)
Last year, the prize was won by Anna Funder for All That I Am. The shortlist will be announced on April 30, and the winner of the $60,000 prize (increased this year from the previous $50,000) will be revealed on June 19.