Text Publishing is pleased to announce that three Text authors have been longlisted for the 2018 Miles Franklin Literary Award.
First presented in 1957, the Award helps to support authors and to foster uniquely Australian literature. Miles Franklin believed that ‘Without an indigenous literature, people can remain alien in their own soil.’ She also had firsthand experience of struggling to make a living as a writer and was the beneficiary of two literary prizes herself.
Our three longlisted authors are:
Set in Newcastle, a city battered by the elements and built on ground riddled with tunnels, The Restorer tells the story of a family trying to make a fresh start in the rundown house their dad has purchased.
After a year apart, Maryanne returns to her husband, Roy, bringing their eight-year-old son, Daniel, and his teenage sister, Freya, with her. As Roy painstakingly patches the holes in the floorboards and plasters over cracks in the walls, Maryanne believes, for a while, that they can rebuild a life together.
But Freya doesn’t want a fresh start – she just wants out – and Daniel drifts around the sprawling, derelict house as if in a dream, infuriating his father, who soon forgets the promises he has made.
Some cracks can never be smoothed over, and tension grows between Roy and Maryanne until their uneasy peace is ruptured – with devastating consequences.
Some Tests begins with the normally healthy Beth – aged-care worker, wife of David, mother of Lettie and Gem – feeling vaguely off-colour. A locum sends her to Dr Yi for some tests. ‘There are a few things here that aren’t quite right,’ says Dr Yi, ‘and sometimes it is these little wrongnesses that can lead us to the bigger wrongs that matter.’
Beth is sent on to Dr Twoomey for more tests. Then to another specialist, and another…Referral after referral sees her bumped from suburb to suburb, bewildered, joining busloads of people all clutching white envelopes and hoping for answers.
But what is actually wrong with Beth – is anything, in fact, wrong with her? And what strange forces are at work in the system? As the novel reaches its stunning climax, we realise how strange these forces are.
Unnerving and brilliant, Some Tests is about waking up one morning and finding your ordinary life changed forever.
The Last Garden is a powerful literary work about frailty, redemption, and the healing power of animals, from the author of the award-winning Dog Boy.
The settlement of Wahrheit, founded in exile to await the return of the Messiah, has been waiting longer than expected. Pastor Helfgott has begun to feel the subtle fraying of the community’s faith.
Then Matthias Orion shoots his wife and himself, on the very day their son Benedict returns home from boarding school.
Benedict is unmoored by shock, severed from his past and his future. Unable to be inside the house, unable to speak, he moves into the barn with the horses and chooks, relying on the animals’ strength and the rhythm of the working day to hold his shattered self together.
The pastor watches over Benedict through the year of his crazy grief: man and boy growing, each according to his own capacity, as they come to terms with the unknowable past and the frailties of being human.
Congratulations to these talented authors.
The shortlist will be announced on 17 June and the winner on 26 August 2018.
For more details about the award, visit the Miles Franklin website here.
Our longlisted books are available in all good bookshops, on the Text website (free postage!) and as ebooks.