New novelists vie with legends for Miles Franklin

Posted Thursday 17th March, 2011

The 2011 Miles Franklin Literary Award longlist is:

Jon Bauer, Rocks in the Belly, Scribe Publications
Honey Brown, The Good Daughter, Viking, an imprint of Penguin
Patrick Holland, The Mary Smokes Boys, Transit Lounge Publishing
Melina Marchetta, The Piper’s Son, Viking, an imprint of Penguin
Roger McDonald, When Colts Ran, Vintage (Random House Australia)
Stephen Orr, Time’s Long Ruin, Wakefield Press
Kim Scott, That Deadman Dance, Picador
Kirsten Tranter, The Legacy, 4th Estate
Chris Womersley, Bereft, Scribe Publications

Roger McDonald and Kim Scott are familiar faces on the Miles Franklin lists, McDonald having won the award in 2006 and Scott in 2000 (jointly with Thea Astley). New faces on the longlist include debut novelists Jon Bauer, with Rocks in the Belly and Kirsten Tranter with The Legacy.

Family and childhood and young adulthood, rural Australia and early colonial encounters are themes in this year’s longlisted works.

“The novels are dark this year - tough, uncompromising narratives, often about the long tail of disruption, dislocation and dysfunction left by early challenge, injustice and trauma. Even when the historical sweep is broad, the focus stays close - scrutinising human relationships, revealing what happens when we misjudge, fail to articulate what matters, or when we miss the cultural or psychological clues that might lead to understanding,” said Morag Fraser, speaking on behalf of the 2011 judges.

Morag Fraser is joined on the 2011 Miles Franklin Literary Award judging panel by Richard Neville, State Library of New South Wales Mitchell Librarian, Professor Gillian Whitlock, Lesley McKay, and Murray Waldren. 

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