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Miles Franklin Literary Award (1957-)
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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Established in 1957, the Miles Franklin Literary Award is an annual literary prize awarded to 'a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases'.

The award was established after the death of the Australian writer Stella Miles Franklin, author of My Brilliant Career and other works. Franklin's will provided for the establishment of this award which she hoped would help foster the ‘advancement, improvement and betterment of Australian Literature.’

The Copyright Agency's Cultural Fund is a long-time supporter of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, providing $5000 to each finalist and more than half a million dollars to the prize since 2004.

Read more about the award and its history at the Miles Franklin Literary Award website.

Source: Sighted:15/11/2013


  • The Miles Franklin Literary Award is made annually from the estate of Miles Franklin for a published novel portraying some aspects of Australian life. (In 1988 the date of award changed from year of publication to year of award, thus there is no award for the year 1988.)

    In 2004 first prize has been increased to $42,000.

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2023

winner y separately published work icon Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens Shankari Chandran , Ultimo : Ultimo Press , 2022 21620884 2022 single work novel

'Cinnamon Gardens Nursing Home is nestled in the quiet suburb of Westgrove, Sydney – populated with residents with colourful histories, each with their own secrets, triumphs and failings. This is their safe place, an oasis of familiar delights – a beautiful garden, a busy kitchen and a bountiful recreation schedule.

'But this ordinary neighbourhood is not without its prejudices. The serenity of Cinnamon Gardens is threatened by malignant forces more interested in what makes this refuge different rather than embracing the calm companionship that makes this place home to so many. As those who challenge the residents’ existence make their stand against the nursing home with devastating consequences, our characters are forced to reckon with a country divided.

'Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens is about family and memory, community and race, but is ultimately a love letter to story-telling and the relationships we form through the stories we tell.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2022

winner y separately published work icon Bodies of Light Jennifer Down , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2021 21962879 2021 single work novel

'Jennifer Down cements her status as a leading light of Australian literary fiction in this heart-rending and intimate saga of one woman's turbulent life

'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, bruised thighs and 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.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2021

And bookseller Lindy Jones.
winner y separately published work icon The Labyrinth Amanda Lohrey , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2020 19549542 2020 single work novel

'Erica Marsden’s son, an artist, has been imprisoned for homicidal negligence. In a state of grief, Erica cuts off all ties to family and friends, and retreats to a quiet hamlet on the south-east coast near the prison where he is serving his sentence.

'There, in a rundown shack, she obsesses over creating a labyrinth by the ocean. To build it—to find a way out of her quandary—Erica will need the help of strangers. And that will require her to trust, and to reckon with her past.

'The Labyrinth is a hypnotic story of guilt and denial, of the fraught relationship between parents and children, that is also a meditation on how art can both be ruthlessly destructive and restore sanity. It shows Amanda Lohrey to be at the peak of her powers.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2020

winner y separately published work icon The Yield Tara June Winch , Melbourne : Hamish Hamilton , 2019 15449866 2019 single work novel

'After a decade in Europe August Gondiwindi returns to Australia for the funeral of her much-loved grandfather, Albert, at Prosperous House, her only real home and also a place of great grief and devastation.

'Leading up to his death Poppy Gondiwindi has been compiling a dictionary of the language he was forbidden from speaking after being sent to Prosperous House as a child. Poppy was the family storyteller and August is desperate to find the precious book that he had spent his last energies compiling.

'The Yield also tells the story of Reverend Greenleaf, who recalls founding the first mission at Prosperous House and recording the language of the first residents, before being interred as an enemy of the people, being German, during the First World War.

'The Yield, in exquisite prose, carefully and delicately wrestles with questions of environmental degradation, pre-white contact agriculture, theft of language and culture, water, religion and consumption within the realm of a family mourning the death of a beloved man.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2019

winner y separately published work icon Too Much Lip Melissa Lucashenko , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2018 14069794 2018 single work novel

'Too much lip, her old problem from way back. And the older she got, the harder it seemed to get to swallow her opinions. The avalanche of bullshit in the world would drown her if she let it; the least she could do was raise her voice in anger.

'Wise-cracking Kerry Salter has spent a lifetime avoiding two things – her hometown and prison. But now her Pop is dying and she’s an inch away from the lockup, so she heads south on a stolen Harley.

'Kerry plans to spend twenty-four hours, tops, over the border. She quickly discovers, though, that Bundjalung country has a funny way of grabbing on to people. Old family wounds open as the Salters fight to stop the development of their beloved river. And the unexpected arrival on the scene of a good-looking dugai fella intent on loving her up only adds more trouble – but then trouble is Kerry’s middle name.

'Gritty and darkly hilarious, Too Much Lip offers redemption and forgiveness where none seems possible.' (Publication summary)

Works About this Award

Shankari Chandran Wins Miles Franklin Literary Award for 'Trojan Horse' Novel That Explores the National Identities of Sri Lanka and Australia Dee Jefferson , 2023 single work column
— Appears in: ABC News [Online] , July 2023;

'When Shankari Chandran sent the manuscript for her first novel to Australian publishers, it was unanimously rejected, on the grounds that her story was not sufficiently "Australian" to succeed in the local market. This was despite the fact that its author was Australian and its protagonists are three generations of Australian Tamil women living in Sydney.' (Introduction)   

Shankari Chandran Wins the Miles Franklin with a Sophisticated Take on Racism, Cultural Erasure and What It Means to Belong Julienne Van Loon , 2023 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 25 July 2023;

'“Race and racial identity and what it means to be Australian and who gets to decide that … that has been a part of my life here, for my entire life …,” says Western Sydney author Shankari Chandran. “I’ve thought about it a lot but never had the courage to write about it.”' (Introduction)

Queer Disobedience, Cultural Erasure and Uncomfortable Truths : Your Guide to the 2023 Miles Franklin Shortlist Julienne Van Loon , 2023 single work review
— Appears in: The Conversation , 24 July 2023;

— Review of Iris Fiona Kelly McGregor , 2022 single work novel ; Cold Enough for Snow Jessica Au , 2022 single work novel ; Limberlost Robbie Arnott , 2022 single work novel ; Hopeless Kingdom Kgshak Akec , 2022 single work novel ; The Lovers Yumna Kassab , 2022 single work novel ; Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens Shankari Chandran , 2022 single work novel
Come Writers and Critics Caroline Overington , 2022 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 23 July 2022; (p. 15)