This year women dominate the best Australian writing

  MF_home_banner The season of literary awards is well under way with various longlists of major literary awards being released almost every week. Today, the longlist for the 2013 Miles Franklin Literary Award, the most prestigious and coveted literary award in Australia, was announced. It is interesting to note that this year’s list is dominated by women writers who took out eight of the ten books chosen. The list also reflects an interesting mix of new comers and well established names.  One thing is for sure, if you are looking to discover some great new novels there is plenty to choose from on this lineup. The ten finalists are as follows:

Floundering by Romy Ash   A debut novel which is already getting wonderful reviews from some of  Australia’s literary voices: “her unsentimental, suspenseful and strangely elegant story is as powerful as its backdrop is instantly recognizable  “ Robert Drewe

Lola Bensky  by Lily Brett   ‘Both hilarious and deeply moving, Lola Bensky is a spirited story of one woman’s life – and a snapshot of some of the most celebrated and tragic events of the latter twentieth century.’ We were very lucky to catch up with Lily in person, so read our blog for a very insightful interview with this highly acclaimed author.

Street to Street  by Brian Castro  Brian Castro is a writer with a number of major Australian awards under his belt so it is no surprise to see this novel on the list. Street to Street  is a ’comic-tragic enactment of the anxieties of the writing life, in which the early twentieth-century Sydney poet Christopher Brennan plays a major role. Read more .

Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser. This is the second distinction for this novel which was also longlisted for the inaugural list of The Stella Prize and a title that really resonated with The Booker winning author Hilary Mantel. Read what Mantel had to say about Questions of Travel and listen to a short interview with Michelle de Kretser

The Beloved by Annah Faulkner In 2011, The Beloved won the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for an Emerging Queensland author. ‘Tender and witty, The Beloved is a moving debut novel which paints a vivid portrait of both the beauty and the burden of unconditional love.’  You can read more here.

The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally. Does one really need to say anything about this beloved Australian storyteller? Check our site to hear Thomas Keneally talk about the experience of researching and writing his latest novel.

The Mountain by Drusilla Modjeska Papua New Guinea is not a place that has been used often as a canvas for a novel and yet it is a place of immense beauty, magic and complexity. We were thrilled to see The Mountain on this list especially since we had the great pleasure of talking with Drusilla and hearing first hand about her affinity for PNG. Watch our exclusive interview with Drusilla Modjeska.  

The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman ‘This is a story of right and wrong, and how sometimes they look the same …’ The Light Between Oceans is already a bestselling novel around the world, and Hollywood movie rights were recently snapped up by Dreamworks. Read glowing reviews by our members and view two different book trailers for this heart breaking story.

Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany This is the most honoured book on this list, since it can be found on the longlists of both The 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly known as the Orange Prize) and The Stella Prize. It is great news for this talented writer who deserves to become a lot better known both in Australia and further afield. Read a great review  from The Guardian  

Red Dirt Talking by Jacqueline Wright This is regional Australian writing at its best! A captivating story described by the Weekend Australian as: ‘one of those rare novels that actually changes the way you look at the world’ Read more.

Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, Richard Neville, Mitchell Librarian, State Library of NSW said: “This year we have seen one of the highest number of entries indicating the robust strength of new fiction. From those 73 books the judges have selected ten outstanding novels for this year’s longlist…These range from conventional to multiple narratives, with settings as diverse as a lonely lighthouse, battlefield hospitals on the Western Front, colonial Papua New Guinea, the dusty outback and the inner city. The list provides a feast of reading, including close encounters with a polio-stricken girl determined to be an artist, a young boy kidnapped by his runaway mother, an unexpected shipwreck adoption, a family of kookaburras, a rock journalist and a famously shambolic poet.”

The shortlist will be announced on April 30, and the finalist will be declared on June 19 so you still have some time to read these great titles and decide which one of these titles represents Australia’s writing at its best. We would love to hear if you have any favorites on this list. Any dark horses? Any predictions?. Any recommendations for our members who are not Australians?