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Miles Franklin Literary Award
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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.’

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

In 2019, the award received Perpetual Limited's $37,500 contribution to the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund for the 2020 award.

Source: Sighted:15/11/2013


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.

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)

2018 winner y separately published work icon The Life to Come Michelle De Kretser , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2017 11460446 2017 single work novel

'Set in Sydney, Paris and Sri Lanka, The Life to Come is a mesmerising novel about the stories we tell and don't tell ourselves as individuals, as societies and as nations. It feels at once firmly classic and exhilaratingly contemporary.

'Pippa is a writer who longs for success. Celeste tries to convince herself that her feelings for her married lover are reciprocated. Ash makes strategic use of his childhood in Sri Lanka but blots out the memory of a tragedy from that time. Driven by riveting stories and unforgettable characters, here is a dazzling meditation on intimacy, loneliness and our flawed perception of other people.

'Profoundly moving as well as bitingly funny, The Life to Come reveals how the shadows cast by both the past and the future can transform, distort and undo the present.' (Synopsis)

2017 winner y separately published work icon Extinctions Josephine Wilson , Crawley : UWA Publishing , 2016 9145761 2016 single work novel

'He hated the word ‘retirement’, but not as much as he hated the word ‘village’, as if ageing made you a peasant or a fool. Herein lives the village idiot.

'Professor Frederick Lothian, retired engineer, world expert on concrete and connoisseur of modernist design, has quarantined himself from life by moving to a retirement village. His wife, Martha, is dead and his two adult children are lost to him in their own ways. Surrounded and obstructed by the debris of his life – objects he has collected over many years and tells himself he is keeping for his daughter – he is determined to be miserable, but is tired of his existence and of the life he has chosen.

'When a series of unfortunate incidents forces him and his neighbour, Jan, together, he begins to realise the damage done by the accumulation of a lifetime’s secrets and lies, and to comprehend his own shortcomings. Finally, Frederick Lothian has the opportunity to build something meaningful for the ones he loves.

'Humorous, poignant and galvanising by turns, Extinctions is a novel about all kinds of extinction – natural, racial, national and personal – and what we can do to prevent them.' (Publication summary)

2016 winner y separately published work icon Black Rock White City A. S. Patrić , Australia : Transit Lounge , 2015 8354709 2015 single work novel

'Black Rock White City is a novel about the damages of war, the limits of choice, and the hope of love. During a hot Melbourne summer Jovan's cleaning work at a bayside hospital is disrupted by acts of graffiti and violence becoming increasingly malevolent. For Jovan the mysterious words that must be cleaned away dislodge the poetry of the past. He and his wife Suzana were forced to flee Sarajevo and the death of their children.

'Intensely human, yet majestic in its moral vision, Black Rock White City is an essential story of Australia's suburbs now, of displacement and immediate threat, and the unexpected responses of two refugees as they try to reclaim their dreams. It is a breathtaking roar of energy that explores the immigrant experience with ferocity, beauty and humour.' (Publication summary)

2015 winner y separately published work icon The Eye of the Sheep Sofie Laguna , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2014 7586846 2014 single work novel historical fiction

'Ned was beside me, his messages running easily through him, with space between each one, coming through him like water. He was the go-between, going between the animal kingdom and this one. I watched the waves as they rolled and crashed towards us, one after another, never stopping, always changing. I knew what was making them come, I had been there and I would always know.

'Meet Jimmy Flick. He's not like other kids - he's both too fast and too slow. He sees too much, and too little. Jimmy's mother Paula is the only one who can manage him. She teaches him how to count sheep so that he can fall asleep. She holds him tight enough to stop his cells spinning. It is only Paula who can keep Jimmy out of his father's way. But when Jimmy's world falls apart, he has to navigate the unfathomable world on his own, and make things right.' (Publication summary)

2014 winner y separately published work icon All the Birds, Singing Evie Wyld , North Sydney : Random House Australia , 2013 Z1929805 2013 single work novel mystery (taught in 4 units)

'Who or what is watching Jake Whyte from the woods?

'Jake Whyte is the sole resident of an old farmhouse on an unnamed island, a place of ceaseless rains and battering winds. It's just her, her untamed companion, Dog, and a flock of sheep. Which is how she wanted it to be. But something is coming for the sheep - every few nights it picks one off, leaves it in rags.

'It could be anything. There are foxes in the woods, a strange boy and a strange man, rumours of an obscure, formidable beast. And there is Jake's unknown past, perhaps breaking into the present, a story hidden thousands of miles away and years ago, in a landscape of different colour and sound, a story held in the scars that stripe her back.

'Set between Australia and a remote English island, All the Birds, Singing is the story of one how one woman's present comes from a terrible past. It is the second novel from the award-winning author of After the Fire, A Still Small Voice.' (Publisher's blurb)

2013 winner y separately published work icon Questions of Travel Michelle De Kretser , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2012 Z1887768 2012 single work novel (taught in 1 units)

'A mesmerising literary novel, Questions of Travel charts two very different lives. Laura travels the world before returning to Sydney, where she works for a publisher of travel guides. Ravi dreams of being a tourist until he is driven from Sri Lanka by devastating events.

'Around these two superbly drawn characters, a double narrative assembles an enthralling array of people, places and stories - from Theo, whose life plays out in the long shadow of the past, to Hana, an Ethiopian woman determined to reinvent herself in Australia.

'Award-winning author Michelle de Kretser illuminates travel, work and modern dreams in this brilliant evocation of the way we live now. Wonderfully written, Questions of Travel is an extraordinary work of imagination - a transformative, very funny and intensely moving novel.' (From the publisher's website.)

2012 winner y separately published work icon All That I Am Anna Funder , Camberwell : Hamish Hamilton , 2011 Z1731728 2011 single work novel historical fiction

'Anna Funder's utterly compelling first novel All That I Am is about the heroic and largely tragic fate of a small group of left-wing German activists who opposed the rise of Hitler. It centres on two real people: the playwright Ernst Toller (famously eulogized by his friend W H Auden), and one of his associates, Ruth Koplowitz. Ruth was also a friend of Toller, and came to live in Sydney after WW2, where Anna got to know her well in later life. Their lives were tied together by the charismatic, passionate Dora - All That I Am vividly, passionately and irresistibly brings back to life their struggles, their hopes, their fears and their fates.'

Source: Penguin News, 6 October 2010
Sighted: 11/10/2010

2011 winner y separately published work icon That Deadman Dance Kim Scott , Sydney : Picador , 2010 Z1728528 2010 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 43 units)

Big-hearted, moving and richly rewarding, That Deadman Dance is set in the first decades of the 19th century in the area around what is now Albany, Western Australia. In playful, musical prose, the book explores the early contact between the Aboriginal Noongar people and the first European settlers.

'The novel's hero is a young Noongar man named Bobby Wabalanginy. Clever, resourceful and eager to please, Bobby befriends the new arrivals, joining them hunting whales, tilling the land, exploring the hinterland and establishing the fledgling colony. He is even welcomed into a prosperous local white family where he falls for the daughter, Christine, a beautiful young woman who sees no harm in a liaison with a native.

'But slowly - by design and by accident - things begin to change. Not everyone is happy with how the colony is developing. Stock mysteriously start to disappear; crops are destroyed; there are "accidents" and injuries on both sides. As the Europeans impose ever stricter rules and regulations in order to keep the peace, Bobby's Elders decide they must respond in kind. A friend to everyone, Bobby is forced to take sides: he must choose between the old world and the new, his ancestors and his new friends. Inexorably, he is drawn into a series of events that will forever change not just the colony but the future of Australia...' (From the publisher's website.)

2010 winner y separately published work icon Truth Peter Temple , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2009 Z1594714 2009 single work novel crime thriller (taught in 2 units)

'Stephen Villani is the acting head of the Victoria Police homicide squad. But his first months on the job have not gone well: two Aboriginal teenagers shot dead in a botched operation he authorised in the provincial city of Cromarty; and, no progress on the killing of a man in front of his daughter outside a private girls' school.

Now five men are found dead in horrifying circumstances on the outskirts of the city. Villani's superiors and the media are baying for arrests. To add to his woes, some of the country's richest people are alarmed by the baffling killing of a young woman in the high-security tower where they live.

Villani, a man who has built his life around his work, begins to find the certainties of both crumbling. As the pressure mounts, he finds that he must contemplate things formerly unthinkable. Truth is a novel about murder, corruption, family, friends, honour, honesty, deceit, love, betrayal and truth.' (from Quercus website)

2009 winner y separately published work icon Breath Tim Winton , Camberwell : Hamish Hamilton , 2008 Z1457075 2008 single work novel (taught in 21 units) 'Breath is a story about the wildness of youth - the lust for excitement and terror, the determination to be extraordinary, the wounds that heal and those that don't - and about learning to live with its passing.'
Source: Publisher's website
2008 winner y separately published work icon The Time We Have Taken Steven Carroll , Pymble : Fourth Estate , 2007 Z1344340 2007 single work novel (taught in 3 units)

'One suburban morning in Summer 1970, Peter van Rijn, proprietor of the television and wireless shop, realises that his suburb is 100 years old. He contacts the Mayor, who assembles a Committee, and celebrations are eagerly planned. That same morning, just a few streets way, Rita is awakened by a dream of her husband's snores. It is years since Vic moved north, and left their house of empty silences, yet his life remains bound up with hers. Their son, too, has moved on - Michael is at university, exploring new ideas and the heady world of grown-up love. Yet Rita still stubbornly stays in the old street, unable to imagine leaving the house she has tended so lovingly for so long. Instead she has taken on the care of another house as well - that of the widowed Mrs Webster, owner of the suburb's landmark factory, now in decline. As these lives entwine, and the Committee commissions its centenary mural and prepares to commemorate Progress, History - in the shape of the new, post-war generation represented by Michael and his friends - is heading straight for them...'

(Source: Publisher's blurb)

2007 winner y separately published work icon Carpentaria Alexis Wright , Artarmon : Giramondo Publishing , 2006 Z1184902 2006 single work novel (taught in 47 units) Carpentaria's portrait of life in the precariously settled coastal town of Desperance centres on the powerful Phantom family, whose members are the leaders of the Pricklebush people, and their battles with old Joseph Midnight's tearaway Eastend mob on the one hand, and the white officials of Uptown and the neighbouring Gurfurrit mine on the other. Wright's storytelling is operatic and surreal: a blend of myth and scripture, politics and farce. The novel is populated by extraordinary characters - Elias Smith the outcast saviour, the religious zealot Mozzie Fishman, leader of the holy Aboriginal pilgrimage, the murderous mayor Stan Bruiser, the ever-vigilant Captain Nicoli Finn, the activist and prodigal son Will Phantom, and above all, Angel Day the queen of the rubbish-dump, and her sea-faring husband Normal Phantom, the fish-embalming king of time - figures that stand like giants in this storm-swept world. (Backcover)
2006 winner y separately published work icon The Ballad of Desmond Kale Roger McDonald , Milsons Point : Vintage Australia , 2005 Z1222002 2005 single work novel historical fiction

In the first days of British settlement in Australia, Desmond Kale, an Irish political prisoner, escapes and disappears beyond the colony line, where rumour says he is thriving.

2005 winner y separately published work icon The White Earth Andrew McGahan , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2004 Z1113518 2004 single work novel (taught in 14 units)

'His father dead by fire and his mother plagued by demons of her own, William is cast upon the charity of his unknown uncle - an embittered old man encamped in the ruins of a once great station homestead, Kuran House. It's a baffling and sinister new world for the boy, a place of decay and secret histories. His uncle is obsessed by a long life of decline and by a dark quest for revival, his mother is desperate for a wealth and security she has never known, and all their hopes it seems come to rest upon William's young shoulders. But as the past and present of Kuran Station unravel and merge together, the price of that inheritance may prove to be the downfall of them all. The White Earth is a haunting, disturbing and cautionary tale.' (publisher's website)

2004 winner y separately published work icon The Great Fire Shirley Hazzard , New York (City) : Farrar Straus and Giroux , 2003 Z1076835 2003 single work novel (taught in 4 units)

'The year is 1947. The great fire of the Second World War has convulsed Europe and Asia. In its wake, Aldred Leith, an acclaimed hero of the conflict, has spent two years in China at work on an account of world-transforming change there. Son of a famed and sexually ruthless novelist, Leith begins to resist his own self-sufficiency, nurtured by war. Peter Exley, another veteran and an art historian by training, is prosecuting war crimes committed by the Japanese. Both men have narrowly escaped death in battle, and Leith saved Exley's life. The men have maintained long-distance friendship in a postwar loneliness that haunts them both, and which has swallowed Exley whole. Now in their thirties, with their youth behind them and their world in ruins, both must invent the future and retrieve a private humanity.

'Arriving in Occupied Japan to record the effects of the bomb at Hiroshima, Leith meets Benedict and Helen Driscoll, the Australian son and daughter of a tyrannical medical administrator. Benedict, at twenty, is doomed by a rare degenerative disease. Helen, still younger, is inseparable from her brother. Precocious, brilliant, sensitive, at home in the books they read together, these two have been, in Leith's words, delivered by literature. The young people capture Leith's sympathy; indeed, he finds himself struggling with his attraction to this girl whose feelings are as intense as his own and from whom he will soon be fatefully parted.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2003 winner y separately published work icon Journey to the Stone Country Alex Miller , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2002 Z982836 2002 single work novel (taught in 3 units) 'Betrayed by her husband, Annabelle Beck retreats from Melbourne to her old family home in tropical North Queensland where she meets Bo Rennie, one of the Jangga tribe. Intrigued by Bo's claim that he holds the key to her future, Annabelle sets out with him on a path of recovery that leads back to her childhood and into the Jangga's ancient heartland, where their grandparents' lives begin to yield secrets that will challenge the possibility of their happiness together.' - Publisher's blurb.
2002 winner y separately published work icon Dirt Music Tim Winton , Sydney : Picador , 2001 Z918096 2001 single work novel (taught in 15 units)

'Georgie Jutland is a mess. At forty, with her career in ruins, she finds herself stranded in White Point with a fisherman she doesn't love and two kids whose dead mother she can never replace. Her days have fallen into domestic tedium and social isolation. Her nights are a blur of vodka and pointless loitering in cyberspace. Leached of all confidence, Georgie has lost her way; she barely recognises herself.

'One morning, in the boozy pre-dawn gloom, she looks up from the computer screen to see a shadow lurking on the beach below, and a dangerous new element enters her life. Luther Fox, the local poacher. Jinx. Outcast...' (From the publisher's website.)

2001 winner y separately published work icon Dark Palace : The Companion Novel to Grand Days Frank Moorhouse , Milsons Point : Knopf , 2000 Z668779 2000 single work novel historical fiction

'Winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

'Five years have passed since Edith Campbell Berry's triumphant arrival at the League of Nations in Geneva, determined to right the wrongs of the world. The idealism of those early Grand Days has been eroded by a sense foreboding as the world moves ever closer to another war. Edith's life too, has changed: her marriage and her work are no longer the anchors in her life – she is restless, unsure, feeling the weight of history upon her and her world.

'As her certainties crumble, Edith is once again joined by Ambrose Westwood, her old friend and lover. Their reunion is joyful, and her old anxiety about their unconventional relationship is replaced by a feeling that all things are possible – at least in her private life.

'But World War II advances inexorably, and Edith, Ambrose and their fellow officers must come to terms with the knowledge that their best efforts – and those of the well-meaning world – are simply useless against the forces of the time. Moving, wise and utterly engrossing, this is a profound and enriching novel. Grand Days and Dark Palace confirm Frank Moorhouse as one of our greatest writers – a master of tone and timing, an elegant and exuberant stylist, and an unerring chronicler of the human spirit.'

[sourced from publisher's website]

2000 joint winner y separately published work icon Drylands : A Book for the World's Last Reader Thea Astley , Ringwood : Penguin Viking , 1999 Z384386 1999 single work novel (taught in 3 units)

'In the dying town of Drylands, Janet Deakin sells papers to lonely locals. At night, in her flat above the newsagency, she attempts to write a novel for a world in which no one reads—‘full of people, she envisaged, glaring at a screen that glared glassily back.’ Drylands is the story of the townsfolk’s harsh, violent lives. Trenchant and brilliant, Thea Astley’s final novel is a dark portrait of outback Australia in decline.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Text ed.)

2000 joint winner y separately published work icon Benang : From the Heart Kim Scott , Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 1999 Z135862 1999 single work novel (taught in 31 units) 'Oceanic in its rhythms and understanding, brilliant in its use of language and image, moving in its largeness of spirit, compelling in its narrative scope and style, Benang is a novel of celebration and lament, of beginning and return, of obliteration and recovery, of silencing and of powerful utterance. Both tentative and daring, it speaks to the present and a possible future through stories, dreams, rhythms, songs, images and documents mobilised from the incompletely acknowledged and still dynamic past.' (Publisher's website)
1999 winner y separately published work icon Eucalyptus : A Novel Murray Bail , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 1998 Z279634 1998 single work novel (taught in 8 units)

Holland lived with his only daughter, Ellen, by a khaki river four hours west of Sydney. In spite of their remote location, tales of Ellen's beauty had traveled long distances and in the process inscribed a small legend. But Ellen's desirability was Holland's blindspot and finally he decided that the man who correctly named every eucalypt on his property would win the hand of his daughter. (Source: Trove)

1998 winner y separately published work icon Jack Maggs Peter Carey , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1997 Z205857 1997 single work novel (taught in 8 units) The year is 1837 and a stranger is prowling London. He is Jack Maggs, an illegal returnee from the prison island of Australia. He has the demeanor of a savage and the skills of a hardened criminal, and he is risking his life on seeking vengeance and reconciliation.
Influenced by Charles Dickens's Great Expectations.
1997 winner y separately published work icon The Glade Within the Grove David Foster , Milsons Point : Random House , 1996 Z335062 1996 single work novel satire
1996 winner y separately published work icon Highways to a War Christopher Koch , New York (City) : Viking , 1995 Z456830 1995 single work novel (taught in 1 units)

'When Mike Langford, a war photographer with a reputation for unusual risk-taking, disappears inside Cambodia, he becomes a mythic figure in the minds of his friends. The search for him which is at the heart of this novel explores the personal highways that led him to war, and to his ultimate fate.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

1995 winner y separately published work icon The Hand that Signed the Paper Helen Demidenko , St Leonards : Allen and Unwin , 1994 Z828685 1994 single work novel (taught in 2 units)

'The brothers Kovalenko...did not kill Jews just because they were poor and Ukrainian, and did not know any better. They killed Jews because they believed that they themselves were savages.'

'The Hand that Signed the Paper tells the story of Vitaly, a Ukrainian peasant, who endures the destruction of his village and family by Stalin's communism. He welcomes the Nazi invasion in 1941 and willingly enlists in the SS Death Squads to take a horrifying revenge against those he perceives to be his persecutors.

'This remarkable novel, a shocking story of the hatred that gives evil life, is also an eloquent plea for peace and justice.' (Publication summary)

1994 winner y separately published work icon The Grisly Wife Rodney Hall , Chippendale : Macmillan , 1993 Z545864 1993 single work novel historical fiction
1993 winner y separately published work icon The Ancestor Game Alex Miller , Ringwood : Penguin , 1992 Z203024 1992 single work novel

'Steven Muir, August Spiess and his daughter Gertrude, and Lang Tzu all acknowledge a restless sense of cultural displacement, an ambivalence in their relations with the culture of European Australia. Steven left England for Australia as a young man and his one attempt at returning is unsuccessful. August Spiess, although he speaks frequently of returning to his native Hamburg, fails to make the journey, as does his daughter Gertrude. Lang Tzu's very name defines his fate: 'two characters which in Mandarin signify the son who goes away.

'The 'game', however, does have winners. For despite their yearnings for the home of their ancestral dreams, a desire to belong somewhere that is truly their own, none of Miller's characters leaves Australia, and each in their own way comes to see that to be at home in exile may be a defining paradox of the European Australian condition: the paradox of belonging and estrangement that perhaps lies uneasily at the heart of all European cultures.'

Source: Bookseller's blurb.

1992 winner y separately published work icon Cloudstreet Tim Winton , Melbourne : McPhee Gribble , 1991 Z204365 1991 single work novel (taught in 16 units) 'From separate catastrophes two rural families flee to the city and find themselves sharing a great, breathing, shuddering joint called Cloudstreet, where they begin their lives again from scratch. For twenty years they roister and rankle, laugh and curse until the roof over their heads becomes a home for their hearts.' (Source: Publisher's website)
1991 winner y separately published work icon The Great World David Malouf , London : Chatto and Windus , 1990 Z436200 1990 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 3 units)

'Every city, town and village has its memorial to war. Nowhere are these more eloquent than in Australia, generations of whose young men have enlisted to fight other people's battles - from Gallipoli and the Somme to Malaya and Vietnam. In THE GREAT WORLD, his finest novel yet, David Malouf gives a voice to that experience. But THE GREAT WORLD is more than a novel of war. Ranging over seventy years of Australian life, from Sydney's teeming King's Cross to the tranquil backwaters of the Hawkesbury River, it is a remarkable novel of self-knowledge and lost innocence, of survival and witness.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Vintage reprint).

1990 winner y separately published work icon Oceana Fine Tom Flood , North Sydney : Allen and Unwin , 1989 Z120844 1989 single work novel

'Beneath a vast constructed/deconstructed landscape (both human and geographic) lies a labyrinth of disused mineshafts. It is a landscape in which vast saline lakes suddenly appear overnight, in which wheat babies disappear into wheat fields, in which lizards are mistaken for rocks, in which a huge grain silo becomes a cathedral and a gold front-end loader the angel of the apocalypse. It is a place where history repeats/mirrors itself and is populated by doppelganagers and we find ourselves following the after-image of the phosphene as though it was a manuscript hoping for illumination.

'The book deals with multiplicity of perception - through history/memory, national mythologies, families and writing (blood and ink), puzzles and their reasons - which might be said to be their execution.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

1989 winner y separately published work icon Oscar and Lucinda Peter Carey , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1988 Z359704 1988 single work novel (taught in 7 units)

'Oscar Hopkins is an Oxford seminarian with a passion for gambling. Lucinda Leplastrier is a Sydney heiress with a fascination for glass. The year is 1864. When they meet on the boat to Australia their lives will be forever changed ...'

(Source: Publisher's website)

1987 winner y separately published work icon Dancing on Coral Glenda Adams , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1987 Z355529 1987 single work novel (taught in 1 units)

'‘She’s going now,’ said Henry Watter if he said anything at all. Or, ‘It’s a tricky place, the world. You’ve got to be sharp to manage it.’‘Leave her be. She’ll be back,’ said Mrs Watter. ‘This is her home. She knows that.’

Lark Watter had always planned to run away from her stifling suburban life in 1960s Sydney. At university she encounters an American, Tom, and with him the promise of escape. Following Tom to the other side of the world by freighter is a journey to freedom—but the adventure Lark has embarked on isn’t quite what she had anticipated. Not on the way there, and certainly not in New York…

A picaresque journey across the high seas and through the extremes of the ’60s, Dancing on Coral was Glenda Adams’ second novel and established her international reputation. (Publisher's blurb)

1986 winner y separately published work icon The Well Elizabeth Jolley , Ringwood : Viking , 1986 Z385481 1986 single work novel (taught in 17 units)
— Appears in: Kokainovyj Bljuz [and] Kolodec 1991;

'Miss Hester Harper, middle-aged and eccentric, brings Katherine into her emotionally impoverished life. Together they sew, cook gourmet dishes for two, run the farm, make music and throw dirty dishes down the well. One night, driving along the deserted track that leads to the farm, they run into a mysterious creature. They heave the body from the roo bar and dump it into the farm's deep well. But the voice of the injured intruder will not be stilled and, most disturbing of all, the closer Katherine is drawn to the edge of the well, the farther away she gets from Hester.' (From the publisher's website.)

1985 winner y separately published work icon The Doubleman Christopher Koch , London : Chatto and Windus , 1985 Z388681 1985 single work novel (taught in 8 units)

'Clive Broderick, guitar-teacher and occultist - the Doubleman of the title of this acclaimed novel - is speaking of power, and of a realm beyond reality. This is a fable of the sixties, when shared belief-systems crumbled, and the spiritual bazaars of today opened up. Christopher Koch's theme is illusion; and all his characters are bound by it. The Rymers are an electric folk group enjoying mounting success in Sydney. Their producer, Richard Miller, came under Broderick's spell during his youth in Tasmania; so did the guitarists Brady and Burr. Now, years after his death, Broderick's presence remains with all three. Through his disciple, Burr, it will lead to nightmare.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (HarperCollins, 2013 ed.)

1984 winner y separately published work icon Shallows Tim Winton , Sydney : George Allen and Unwin , 1984 Z426264 1984 single work novel

'Tim Winton's first Miles Franklin-winner, Shallows revolves around the ruthless commerce of whaling, and Queenie Cookson, who joins the fight to end it.
'Whales have always been the life-force of Angelus, a small town on the south coast of Western Australia. Their annual passing defines the rhythms of a life where little changes, and the town depends on their carcasses. So when the battle begins on the beaches outside their town, and when Queenie Cookson, a local girl, joins the Greenies to make amends for the crimes of her whaling ancestors, it can only throw everything into chaos.' (Publication summary)

1982 winner y separately published work icon Just Relations Rodney Hall , Ringwood : Penguin , 1982 Z541175 1982 single work novel

'The back-of-beyond New South Wales hamlet of Whitey's Fall is the home of a secret, solitary boy seeking love, two young men who crave the same woman, and an earnest, bumbling, and provocative government man.' (Publisher's blurb)

1981 winner y separately published work icon Bliss Peter Carey , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1981 8407782 1981 single work novel (taught in 11 units)

'For thirty-nine years Harry Joy has been the quintessential good guy. But one morning Harry has a heart attack on his suburban front lawn, and, for the space of nine minutes, he becomes a dead guy. And although he is resuscitated, he will never be the same. For, as Peter Carey makes abundantly clear in this darkly funny novel, death is sometimes a necessary prelude to real life.' (From the author's website.)

1980 winner y separately published work icon The Impersonators Jessica Anderson , South Melbourne : Macmillan , 1980 Z796237 1980 single work novel When Sylvia Foley returns to Australia after twenty years, she finds her father, Jack Cornock, ill. This and his obstinate silence provoke speculation about his will among the families of his two marriages, Sylvia becomes enmeshed in the webs of their alliances and disaffections. The Impersonators portrays the breakdown of family relationships and the endurance of love in a materialistic age. (Source: Sydney University Press)
1979 winner y separately published work icon A Woman of the Future David Ireland , Ringwood : Penguin , 1979 Z121783 1979 single work novel

'A Woman of the Future, first published in 1979, was David Ireland’s best-selling sixth novel and his third to win the Miles Franklin Award.

'An imaginative tour de force, it is the story of the young life of Anthea Hunt—from conception to sexual awakening. It is controversial and brilliant, and unlike anything else in Australian literature.' (Publication summary : Text Classics)

1978 winner y separately published work icon Tirra Lirra by the River Jessica Anderson , South Melbourne : Macmillan , 1978 Z300858 1978 single work novel (taught in 19 units)

'Liza used to say that she saw her past life as a string of roughly-graded balls, and so did Hilda have a linear conception of hers, thinking of it as a track with detours. But for some years now I have likened mine to a globe suspended in my head, and ever since the shocking realisation that waste is irretrievalbe, I have been careful not to let this globe spin to expose the nether side on which my marriage has left its multitude of images.

'Nora Porteous has spent most of her life waiting to escape. Fleeing from her small-town family and then from her stifling marriage to a mean-spirited husband, Nora arrives finally in London where she creates a new life for herself as a successful dressmaker.

'Now in her seventies, Nora returns to Queensland to settle into her childhood home.

'But Nora has been away a long time, and the people and events of her past are not at all like she remembered them. And while some things never change, Nora is about to discover just how selective her 'globe of memory' has been.

'Tirra Lirra by the River is a moving account of one woman's remarkable life, a beautifully written novel which displays the lyrical brevity of Jessica Anderson's award-winning style.' (Publication summary)

1977 winner y separately published work icon Swords and Crowns and Rings Ruth Park , West Melbourne : Nelson , 1977 Z90991 1977 single work novel

'Ruth Park’s Miles Franklin-winning novel brilliantly evokes Australia in the midst of the Great Depression.

'Growing up in an Australian country town before World War I, Jackie Hanna and Cushie Moy are carefree and innocent in their love for each other. But Jackie is a dwarf, and his devotion to the beautiful Cushie is condemned by her parents. This is the story of their lifelong odyssey, and of the triumph of a special kind of courage.

'Written with warmth and affection, this is a powerful story about human nature and the strength of an unlikely love. Ruth Park brilliantly captures the mood of Australia in the first part of the twentieth century.' (Publication summary)

1976 winner y separately published work icon The Glass Canoe David Ireland , South Melbourne : Macmillan , 1976 Z125181 1976 single work novel (taught in 1 units)

'On hot days we jumped fully clothed into our bottomless beer glasses and pushed off from shore without a backward look. Heading for the deep, where it was calm and cool.

'Meat Man is a regular at the Southern Cross pub in Sydney. With his tribe he sits and drinks and watches as life spirals around him. David Ireland’s novel tells his stories, about the pub, its patrons and their women, about the brutal, tender and unexpected places his glass canoe takes him.' (Publication summary)

1975 winner y separately published work icon Poor Fellow My Country Xavier Herbert , Sydney : Fontana , 1975 Z354809 1975 single work novel
1974 winner y separately published work icon The Mango Tree Ronald McKie , Sydney : Collins , 1974 Z531098 1974 single work novel 'The Mango Tree is an evocative journey into a long-lost Australian childhood. It is a novel about a young man growing up in a country town in the early years of the 20th century which, like a faded letter from a forgotten lover, evokes bitter-sweet memories of the dream-days of youth in a world long past.
'As we follow Jamie through the joys and pains of growing up, a magic quality in the writing unlocks our own memories of childhood and adolescence so that we share with him again the delights of Christmas in the country, the sounds of the circus, the scent of horses, the tender fumblings of first love, the shock of sudden death. This magical tour takes us through the town from Comino's Café to the Royal hotel, from the great mango tree of the title to the quiet river with its island of petrified gum-trees. We meet Grandmother in her grey dress, stern but kindly; the Professor, a remittance man who drinks to escape a nameless past but who still has his moments of glory; poor, fated Maudie, the 'town bike', and her demonic guardian, Preacher Jones, ranting hell-fire and damnation to a terrible end; these and many more. A nostalgic book full of laughter and tears, to be swallowed at a sitting, or savoured slowly with delight. A tender, lyrical book.' (Publication summary)
1972 winner y separately published work icon The Acolyte Thea Astley , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1972 Z269402 1972 single work novel

'It is told in the first person by “the acolyte,” Paul Vesper. The novel traces the career of a fictional Australian musician and composer named Jack Holberg. Beginning in obscurity as a piano player in Grogbusters, a dreary little Queensland town, the blind Holberg eventually gains international recognition as a composer. Vesper, who had met Holberg during his less renowned period, gives up an engineering career to serve the great man—in a sense, to become his eyes. '  (Publication summary)

1971 winner y separately published work icon The Unknown Industrial Prisoner David Ireland , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1971 Z125478 1971 single work novel

'What was Puroil? At Clearwater it was a sprawling refinery, an army of white shirts, a fleet of wagons, a number of apparently separate companies, dozens of monolithic departments protected from each other by an armour of functional difference and jealousy. On the refinery site it was two hundred and fifty shabby prisoners, a heavy overload of foremen, supervisors, plant controllers, shift controllers, up to the giddy height of section heads (popularly miscalled Suction Heads, a metaphor deriving from pumps) who were clerks for the technologists; project and process engineers and superintendents who were whipping-boys for the—whisper it!—the Old Man himself, the Manager, who was actually only a Branch Manager and a sort of bum-boy for Head Office in Victoria, which was a backward colonial outpost in the eyes of the London office, which was a junior partner in British-European Puroil its mighty self, which was the property of anonymous shareholders.

'On the shores of Botany Bay lies an oil refinery where workers are free to come and go—but they are also part of an unrelenting, alienating economy from which there is no escape. In the first of his three Miles Franklin Award-winning novels, originally published in 1971, David Ireland offers a fiercely brilliant comic portrait of Australia in the grip of a dehumanising labour system.' (Publication summary : Text Classics)

1970 winner y separately published work icon A Horse of Air Dal Stivens , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1970 Z363073 1970 single work novel Harry Craddock - millionaire, ornithologist, idealist and buffoon - wrote this book, an intriguing account of his expedition to central Australia in search of the rare night parrot. (Publisher's blurb, 1986 edition).
1969 winner y separately published work icon Clean Straw for Nothing : A Novel George Johnston , London Sydney : Collins , 1969 Z825043 1969 single work novel

'Set against the backdrop of a Greek island, Clean Straw for Nothing follows the story of successful war correspondent and retired journalist David Meredith as he abandons his career for a life in exile with his beautiful wife Cressida. Johnston focuses on the developing relationship between David and Cressida, exploring the complex and reflective character of David as he questions the nature of success, sexual tensions, expatriation and ill-health. The questions are almost entirely unanswerable and the freedom David craves nearly impossible.'

— publisher's website

1968 winner y separately published work icon Three Cheers for the Paraclete Thomas Keneally , Sydney London : Angus and Robertson , 1968 Z559614 1968 single work novel

'Set in a Roman Catholic diocese,...Three Cheers for the Paraclete is about the dilemma of the rebel who knows that established authority is wrong but doesn't know how to put it right because he is himself too much a part of it. It is also about a critical religious issue...the conflict between a new generation which sees religious truth as something that must change with the world, and an establishment which sees it as fixed and immutable.

In the character of young Father Maitland, scholar and humanitarian, many readers will recognize a lost hero of our time. Others, perhaps, will see only an arrogant intellectual, and something of a heretic. But almost everyone will identify with one side or the other of the conflict into which Father Maitland's beliefs and sympathies draw him - a conflict with his superiors which threatens to destroy him both as a priest and as a man.' (Source: dustjacket, 1968 Angus and Robertson edition)

1967 winner y separately published work icon Bring Larks and Heroes Thomas Keneally , Melbourne : Cassell Australia , 1967 Z559723 1967 single work novel historical fiction 'This novel is set in a remote British penal colony in the 1790s. It gives an insight into the settlement of hungry transports and corrupt soldiers, and tells the story of Corporal Phelim Halloran, and the demands made on him - by superior officers and, most often, by his conscience.' (Source: LibrariesAustralia)
1966 winner y separately published work icon Trap : A Novel Peter Mathers , Melbourne : Cassell Australia , 1966 Z509774 1966 single work novel
1965 winner y separately published work icon The Slow Natives Thea Astley , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1965 Z269700 1965 single work novel

'A suburban couple have drifted into the shallows of middle-aged boredom. Their fourteen-year-old son is a stranger, meeting their attempts at love with hostile indifference. Surly at home, he is a dab hand at shoplifting and looks like sliding into delinquency.

'Moving from Brisbane to a country convent and the Gold Coast, the novel is a brilliant, witty portrait of the surface of ordinary life. The Leverson family and their connections appear normal but desire and inner emotion are never quite so simple.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (House of Books ed.)

1964 winner y separately published work icon My Brother Jack : A Novel George Johnston , London Sydney : Collins , 1964 Z824887 1964 single work novel (taught in 13 units)

''The thing I am trying to get at is what made Jack different from me. Different all through our lives, I mean, and in a special sense, not just older or nobler or braver or less clever.'

'David and Jack Meredith grow up in a patriotic suburban Melbourne household during the First World War, and go on to lead lives that could not be more different. Through the story of the two brothers, George Johnston created an enduring exploration of two Australian myths: that of the man who loses his soul as he gains worldly success, and that of the tough, honest Aussie battler, whose greatest ambition is to serve his country during the war. Acknowledged as one of the true Australian classics, My Brother Jack is a deeply satisfying, complex and moving literary masterpiece. ' (Publication summary)

1963 winner y separately published work icon Careful, He Might Hear You Sumner Locke Elliott , London : Gollancz , 1963 Z256618 1963 single work novel (taught in 2 units)
— Appears in: Reader's Digest Condensed Books : Volume One, 1964, Winter Selections 1963;

'It’s the Great Depression. Six-year-old PS is an orphan. He lives in Sydney with his Aunt Lila. But all that is about to change. Now his Aunt Vanessa has decided to take proper care of him.

'Careful, He Might Hear You is one of the most extraordinary portraits of childhood in Australian fiction.' (Publication summary : Text Classics)

1962 joint winner y separately published work icon The Well Dressed Explorer Thea Astley , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1962 Z269802 1962 single work novel

'George Brewster is the well-dressed explorer. As his career in journalism takes him from city to city, from mistress to mistress, he takes with him his ever-patient wife. Fastidious, pompous and master of the cliche, throughout it all George persists in the illusion that he is the smartest of men.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Penguin ed.).

1962 joint winner y separately published work icon The Cupboard Under the Stairs George Turner , London : Cassell , 1962 Z113158 1962 single work novel
1961 winner y separately published work icon Riders in the Chariot Patrick White , New York (City) : Viking , 1961 Z470801 1961 single work novel (taught in 10 units)

'Through the crumbling ruins of the once splendid Xanadu, Miss Hare wanders, half-mad. In the wilderness she stumbles upon an Aboriginal artist and a Jewish refugee. They place themselves in the care of a local washerwoman. In a world of pervasive evil, all four have been independently damaged and discarded. Now in one shared vision they find themselves bound together, understanding the possibility of redemption.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Vintage ed.).

1960 winner y separately published work icon The Irishman : A Novel of Northern Australia Elizabeth O'Conner , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1960 Z221081 1960 single work novel
1959 winner y separately published work icon The Big Fellow Vance Palmer , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1959 Z98742 1959 single work novel

"The Big Fellow, Macy Donovan, who in Seedtime, the second novel of Vance Palmer's Golconda trilogy, was still in the early stages of his political career, is at the opening of this third novel of the trilogy at the peak of his powers and achievement. 

'The novel takes up his story after a gap of twenty years. Now fifty, a shrewd and experienced politician, Macy is about to step into the shoes of Wardle, the Premier, who has departed to a cosy niche in the agent-generalship in London. Apparently Macy's ambitions have been achieved and his desires fulfilled - the premiership, a comfortable marriage, two children - yet there are inner stirrings of discontent and vague wishes for a fulfilment he has never found, and in the background rumblings of a political storm over an old mining venture. 

'Macy's sense of frustration is soon awakened fully by the return into his life of Neda, the sculptress, who first touched his emotions in his early days on the Golconda mining field. He feels that with her he can find a fulness of life that he has never known with his wife, Kitty. 

'Meanwhile the raking over the ashes of his involvement in the Mount Clutha mine through his connecton by marriage with Vern and Brian Hegarty, two shysters who have hitherto managed to stay within the law by a narrow margin, threatens his political career. Macy calls a Royal Commission. 

'A dramatic climax is reached, and the final scene is played out in the Golconda to which Macy's thoughts have often turned as a symbol of his youth. 

'This last novel of the Golconda trilogy represents, says John Barnes, 'a final, deeply considered statement of a man who saw life steadily and saw it whole.'" (Publication summary)

1958 winner y separately published work icon To the Islands Randolph Stow , London : MacDonald , 1958 Z320065 1958 single work novel (taught in 5 units)

'To the Islands concerns the ordeal of Stephen Heriot, an elderly, careworn, and disillusioned Anglican missionary who abandons his mission when he mistakenly believes he has accidentally killed one of his Aboriginal charges in a not entirely unprovoked confrontation. Heriot flees into the desert not to escape justice but to embrace its desolate beauty and its elemental purity as the one objective reality and the one certainty left available to him.

Heriot's flight and his embrace of the desert may be seen as his attempt, as a European Australian, to immerse himself in the landscape, to make himself one with the land. At this realistic level, the novel enacts the ontological and existential dilemma that confronts most — if not all — European Australians, the dilemma that Professor Hassall [in his introduction to the 2002 UQP Australian Authors version] defines as the continuing quest for psychic integration, for reconciliation with indigenous Australians, and with the land itself.'

Wells-Green, James. [Untitled Review.] JAS Review of Books 15 (May 2003)

1957 winner y separately published work icon Voss : A Novel Patrick White , London : Eyre and Spottiswoode , 1957 Z872480 1957 single work novel (taught in 33 units)

'Set in nineteenth-century Australia, Voss is the story of the secret passion between an explorer and a naïve young woman. Although they have met only a few times, Voss and Laura are joined by overwhelming, obsessive feelings for each other. Voss sets out to cross the continent. As hardships, mutiny and betrayal whittle away his power to endure and to lead, his attachment to Laura gradually increases. Laura, waiting in Sydney, moves through the months of separation as if they were a dream and Voss the only reality.

'From the careful delineation of Victorian society to the sensitive rendering of hidden love to the stark narrative of adventure in the Australian desert, Patrick White's novel is a work of extraordinary power and virtuosity.'

Source: Random House Books (Sighted 21/09/2012)