Miles Franklin Literary Award

The Miles Franklin Literary Award is named after Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin who was born on the 14th October 1879 on Talbingo station. Talbingo is a tiny township in southern NSW sitting on the north-western edge of the Snowy Mountains. The original village was moved in the 1960’s to accommodate the Snowy Mountain Hydro Electric Scheme. 

Franklin’s family moved a little to the east to Brindabella Station when she was a child.

She was the eldest daughter of two Australian born parents (which is noteworthy for the time as most of the population were new immigrants). In fact, one of Franklin’s great-great grandfathers was a convict on the First Fleet. 

Franklin’s most famous novel, My Brilliant Career, is a coming of age story about a feisty, rural, feminist Sybylla. Franklin wrote this during her teenage years and was it loosely based on her own life. It was published in 1901. A movie was also made in 1979 which rekindled interest in the story and Miles Franklin all over again. 

Australia’s most prestigious literary award was established through the will of the writer Stella Miles Franklin, best known for her novel My Brilliant Career. The bequest came as a surprise to the literary world as Franklin had told nobody – save her trustees – of her plans.Miles Franklin had first-hand experience of the struggle to make a living as a writer and was herself the beneficiary of two literary prizes. She was also extremely conscious of the importance of fostering a uniquely Australian literature. She wrote,

“Without an indigenous literature, people can remain alien in their own soil.”

Accordingly, the Award is presented each year to a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases. The Miles Franklin was first awarded in 1957. Since then, the annual announcement of the winner has become an event anticipated and discussed throughout Australia and around the world.

 (MFLA website)
  • 2021 The Labyrinth | Amanda Lohrey
  • 2020 The Yield | Tara June Winch
  • 2019 Too Much Lip | Melissa Lucashenko
  • 2018 The Life to Come | Michelle de Kretser
  • 2017 Extinctions | Josephine Wilson
  • 2016 Black Rock White City | A.S. Patrić
  • 2015 The Eye of the Sheep | Sofie Laguna
  • 2014 All the Birds, Singing | Evie Wyld
  • 2013 Questions of Travel | Michelle De Kretser
  • 2012 All That I Am | Anna Funder
  • 2011 That Deadman Dance | Kim Scott
  • 2010 Truth | Peter Temple
  • 2009 Breath | Tim Winton
  • 2008 The Time We Have Taken | Steven Carroll
  • 2007 Carpentaria | Alexis Wright
  • 2006 The Ballad of Desmond Kale | Roger McDonald
  • 2005 The White Earth | Andrew McGahan
  • 2004 The Great Fire | Shirley Hazzard
  • 2003 Journey to the Stone Country | Alex Miller
  • 2002 Dirt Music |Tim Winton
  • 2001 The Dark Palace | Frank Moorhouse (R)
  • 2000 Drylands | Thea Astley
  • 1999 Eucalyptus | Murray Bail (R)
  • 1998 Jack Maggs | Peter Carey
  • 1997 The Glade within the Grove | David Foster
  • 1996 Highways to a War | Christopher Koch
  • 1995 The Hand that Signed the Paper | Helen Demidenko
  • 1994 The Grisly Wife | Rodney Hall
  • 1993 The Ancestor Game | Alex Miller
  • 1992 Cloudstreet | Tim Winton (R)
  • 1991 The Great World | David Malouf
  • 1990 Oceana Fine | Tom Flood
  • 1989 Oscar and Lucinda | Peter Carey (R)
  • 1988 The year of the Award was changed to the year granted rather than the year published.
  • 1987 Dancing on Coral | Glenda Adams
  • 1986 The Well | Elizabeth Jolley
  • 1985 The Doubleman | Christopher Koch
  • 1984 Shallows | Tim Winton
  • 1983 No award
  • 1982 Just Relations | Rodney Hall
  • 1981 Bliss | Peter Carey
  • 1980 The Impersonators | Jessica Anderson
  • 1979 A Woman of the Future | David Ireland
  • 1978 Tirra Lirra by the River | Jessica Anderson
  • 1977 Swords and Crowns and Rings | Ruth Park
  • 1976 The Glass Canoe | David Ireland
  • 1975 Poor Fellow My Country | Xavier Herbert
  • 1974 The Mango Tree | Ronald McKie
  • 1973 No award
  • 1972 The Acolyte | Thea Astley
  • 1971 The Unknown Industrial Prisoner | David Ireland
  • 1970 A Horse of Air | Dal Stivens
  • 1969 Clean Straw For Nothing | George Johnston
  • 1968 Three Cheers For the Paraclete | Thomas Keneally
  • 1967 Bring Larks and Heroes | Thomas Keneally
  • 1966 Trap | Peter Mathers
  • 1965 The Slow Natives | Thea Astley
  • 1964 My Brother Jack | George Johnston
  • 1963 Careful He Might Hear You | Summer Locke Elliott
    • & The Cupboard Under The Stairs | George Turner
  • 1962 The Well Dressed Explorer | Thea Astley
  • 1961 Riders in the Chariot | Patrick White
  • 1960 The Irishman | Elizabeth O’Connor
  • 1959 The Big Fellow | Vance Palmer
  • 1958 To The Islands | Randolph Stow
  • 1957 Voss | Patrick White

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