I think the Miles Franklin Award long-list looks interesting this year. Absent are the mega names that turn up year after year. No Peter Carey, no David Malouf, no Alex Miller, no Helen Garner, Louis Nowra, Kate Grenville, Tim Winton etc. With the dinosaurs away, the small, furry mammals can peep out of their burrows. Okay, Kim Scott won the Miles Franklin back in 2000 with Benang but he’s hardly a household name and Roger McDonald won if for The Ballad of Desmond Kale a few years ago but, on the whole, the list is of newish or low-key writers.
John Bauer and Kirsten Tranter are debut authors and the nominations for Chris Womersley, Honey Brown and Patrick Holland are for their second books. It’s surprising to see Melina Marchetta there – not because she’s not a good writer, she’s a great writer – but because she’s known as a YA author (The Piper’s Son is short-listed for the NSW Premier’s Award under YA).
- Rocks in the Belly, Jon Bauer, Scribe Publications
- The Good Daughter, Honey Brown, Viking (Penguin)
- The Mary Smokes Boys, Patrick Holland, Transit Lounge Publishing
- The Piper’s Son, Melina Marchetta, Viking (Penguin)
- When Colts Ran, Roger McDonald, Vintage (Random House)
- Time’s Long Ruin, Stephen Orr, Wakefield Press
- That Deadman Dance, Dance, Kim Scott, Picador
- The Legacy, Kirsten Tranter, 4th Estate
- Bereft, Chris Womersley, Scribe Publications