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Miles Franklin Award 2019 Longlist

May 22, 2019

Trent Dalton, Boy swallows universeWoo hoo! Last year I had only read and reviewed one book on the Miles Franklin longlist, but this year I’ve read three! It’s a record (for me, anyhow!)

Here is the list:

  • Michael Mohammed Ahmad’s The Lebs (Nancy’s review) (Hachette)
  • Robbie Arnott’s Flames  (Lisa’s review) (Text)
  • Trent Dalton’s Boy swallows universe (my review) (Fourth Estate)
  • Gregory Day’s A sand archive (Lisa’s review) (Picador)
  • Lexi Freiman’s Inappropriation ( A&U)
  • Rodney Hall’s A stolen season (my review) (Picador)
  • Gail Jones’ The death of Noah Glass (Text)
  • Melissa Lucashenko’s Too much lip (my review) (UQP)
  • Jennifer Mills’ Dyschronia (Lisa’s review) (Picador)
  • Tracy Sorenson’s The lucky galah (Lisa’s review) (Picador).

Rodney Hall, A stolen seasonSome random observations:

  • There are 10 on the longlist. The Miles Franklin judges have, in recent years, not constrained themselves to a set number for their longlist. In 2018 there were 11 books, In 2016 and 2017, there were 9 books, and in 2015 there were 10.)
  • Half of the longlisted books are by women writers. Two of these, Gail Jones and Melissa Lucashenko, were also longlisted for the Stella Prize.
  • Rodney Hall has won twice before, for Just relations and The grisly wife, and been shortlisted three more times.
  • I was little surprised not to see Enza Gandolfo’s The bridge on the list – but this is always the way. I accept that!
  • There are debut authors here – including Trent Dalton and Tracy Sorenson – and many well established ones (who don’t seen to be named!)

Melissa Lucashenko, Too Much LipState Library of NSW Mitchell Librarian Richard Neville, said, on behalf of the judging panel:

The 2019 Miles Franklin longlist yet again highlights a mixture of new and established writers. It showcases ten of the most vibrant voices of Australian fiction speaking to us of lives facing, or having endured, some version of extremity. Angry, funny, contemplative and urgent, these voices—which include a galah—explore personal, historical and ecological loss, cultural inheritances and disenfranchisement, and the fraught bonds of friendships, families and communities.

I am rushing to go out… so will leave that for you to think about.

The judges for this year are almost the same as last year’s: Richard Neville (State Library of NSW),  Murray Waldren (journalist and columnist for The Australian), Dr Melinda Harvey (book critic), Lindy Jones (bookseller), and Bernadette Brennan (author and literary critic). Brennan replaces last year’s Susan Sheridan.

The shortlist will be announced on 2 July at the State Library of New South Wales, and the winner on 30 July in Sydney.

What do you think?

38 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2019 11:44

    LOL This is what happens when I spend all my time catching up on missed MasterChef episodes…
    No Enza Gandolfo? No Kristina Olsen? What were they thinking??

    • May 22, 2019 13:59

      Haha. Lisa. We are pleased that this year for the first time in a few, we’ll be here for most of it and not away for the final week.

      I thought I’d leave the Olsson reference to you!

      • May 22, 2019 23:31

        I am NOT happy…

        • May 23, 2019 08:07

          About MF or Masterchef!!

          Good to see Hall and Lucashenko there, for a start, though, isn’t it?

        • May 23, 2019 09:26

          MF! (Though MasterChef too: that bloke who won a pin in week one for cooking a steak? Seriously?)
          Yes, and good to see Greg Day too (I’ve reviewed his as well, BTW) but no, I think this list is unforgiveable. The Lucky Galah instead of The Bridge? Seriously?!.

        • May 24, 2019 18:56

          Oops I missed your MasterChef reference. That was a couple of weeks ago. Was that when they just gave the pin away without competing against a chef?

          I like how this year they’ve further reduced all the dramatic tension/build up, and quickly cut to the chase.

  2. May 22, 2019 13:18

    Mention of the MF Awards recall the erstwhile beloved presence of my favourite author of all times, Peter Temple.
    I doubt I’ll ever get over his untimely death.

    • May 22, 2019 14:02

      Haha MR. Too many untimely deaths eh? I’ve only read two of his but I liked them. Not a big crime reader as you can probably tell.

      • May 22, 2019 16:09

        He wrote the best dialogue I’ve ever read, regardless of genre.

        • May 22, 2019 18:49

          That’s a big call MR! I would find it hard to say “the best” as I can name many authors who write great dialogue BUT I’m happy to agree that he’s up there with the best!

          (Have you read Stephen Orr, for example? His dialogue between men, between fathers and sons, is excellent.)

  3. Meg permalink
    May 22, 2019 16:04

    Hi Sue, I have not read them all. I am still to read Day’s, Sorenson”s and Mills’ novels. However, at the moment my money is on Boy Swallows the Universe.

    • May 22, 2019 18:57

      That’s interesting Meg. I’ve only read three of course, and would find it hard to choose, but I’d probably fo for Too much lip – I loved the way she showed the dysfunction but also showed why. And her writing was wonderful too. I think it’s the whole package.

  4. May 22, 2019 18:07

    Who has read The Lebs?
    I did!

    • May 22, 2019 18:51

      Yes, I know – and I will link to yours. I was in a rush this morning, and quickly checked Lisa’s reviews, but I did remember that you’ve read The Lebs.

      BTW Your giveaway book was mailed yesterday.

      • May 22, 2019 19:27

        I apologize for my comment “I did”…it sounds so self-aggrandizing and distracting…about my personal blatherings. I had to push myself to read this book…and well, was glad I could say “I did it”…the comment is meant to convey this joy! 🙂

        • May 22, 2019 21:31

          No need to apologise at all Nancy. I was in a rush this morning, and really did plan to link to your post.

          Your comment did convey the joy, to me anyhow!

        • May 23, 2019 17:03

          MF longlist for The Lebs? I’m shocked.

        • May 23, 2019 21:53

          I haven’t read it so won’t comment, Nancy, but it’s interesting isn’t it that few bloggers have read it. However, I reckon that it never hurts to have a few shocks in there! Keeps us all on our toes.

        • May 23, 2019 22:06

          …true, very few have read this book but it managed to sweep the judges at NSW Lit their feet…and MF as well! 🙂

        • May 23, 2019 22:12

          I don’t think I’d say it swept the NSW Lit Awards judges off their feet – it won the Multicultural Award. That’s confined to books on multicultural topics, so the field it was up against was relatively small. The long-listing for MF though is a feather in Ahmad’s cap!

      • June 5, 2019 16:33

        Sue….my surprise arrived yesterday afternoon…it took 2 weeks to get here.
        Many, many thanks for one of my favorite authors, Thea Astley! I’ve read and reviewed 6 of her novels and 1 collection of short stories. This book was my NEXT planned read as I’m reading them chronologically. Also I will use the Munupi Arts mini-tote bag for pens, pencils and things I need while reading/writing. It was so thoughtful of you to take the time to include a card with a personal message. I placed a foto on twitter…have a look! @nl_burns

        • June 5, 2019 16:42

          Phew … somehow I thought you hadn’t read her. I should have checked. You’re sure you haven’t read that one? I couldn’t resist adding the little bag so I’m glad you like it. I’ll check your twitter account now!

  5. May 22, 2019 23:01

    I won’t get into what books missed out! I’ve only read one on this list and it was my first five-star read for 2019 – Boy wallows Universe (still need to write my review!). It’s an outstanding book and I loved every word.

    • May 22, 2019 23:14

      Haha Kate. I’m impressed that I’ve actually read 3 this year. I don’t know what happened to me to achieve that! I do love Boy swallows universe. I agree it’s a good read, intelligently written.

      • May 22, 2019 23:16

        And it made me laugh and cry and challenged the notion of love in a family… I have recommended it to lots of people.

    • May 23, 2019 15:32

      Oh go on, do tell us!

      • May 23, 2019 16:11

        Haha, Lisa – the gauntlet’s been thrown Kate!

      • May 23, 2019 23:32

        Year of the Farmer, In the Garden of Fugitives, Bluebottle, The Bridge…

        • May 23, 2019 23:40

          I haven’t read those, Kate, besides The bridge (I hope to post my review of this on Saturday, – it is nearly finished) but as I said in my post I’m a little surprised about The bridge. I’d love to read The year of the farmer.

        • May 24, 2019 10:18

          Yes, to Rosalie Ham and of course to Enza Gandolfo, and I have Ceriden Dovey’s one on the TBR and will/must read it soon, and have heard of Bluebottle (probably from your blog!)

        • May 24, 2019 10:55

          And Bluebottle was long listed for the Stella. That’s when I really noticed it.

        • May 24, 2019 21:09

          My enjoyment of the Dovey may have been because I was fresh from Pompeii!

          I reviewed Bluebottle but had only come across it when it was longlisted for the Stella – there’s Stella, doing her work!

        • May 24, 2019 21:22

          I haven’t read any of her books yet – which is very poor of me and something I’d love to rectify.

  6. May 23, 2019 08:44

    I too have read 3 of the shortlist this year – Flames, Boy Swallows Universe and Noah Glass. I too wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Dalton win this year – he has the zeitgeist.

    • May 23, 2019 23:42

      Yes, I wouldn’t be surprised either, Brona, for the same reason. And it wouldn’t be a bad win, though I could argue for each of the three I’ve read.


  1. 2019 Miles Franklin Longlist | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog
  2. The 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award longlist – Reading Matters

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