As champions of great Aussie writers, the Reading Australia team are counting down the days until we discover which author will be crowned the 2017 winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award! On 7 September, one of these five dazzling finalists will be presented with the prize:

  • An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire (Pan Macmillan Australia)
  • The Last Days Of Ava Langdon by Mark O’Flynn (University of Queensland Press)
  • Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill (Black Inc.)
  • Waiting by Philip Salom (Puncher & Wattmann)
  • Extinctions by Josephine Wilson (UWA Publishing)

We are now one month away from the upcoming announcement, so to celebrate we take a look at some of the past winners of Australia’s most prestigious literary award.


1. Black Rock White City
Author: A. S. Patric
Year won: 2016

First up is last year’s winner – inspired by the author’s own migrant heritage, the story follows a couple who escape Sarajevo and land in Melbourne as refugees. It is a stunning debut novel about displacement, unimaginable trauma, language and loss.

Book Info


2. Cloudstreet
Author: Tim Winton
Year won: 1992

Tim Winton’s sprawling Western Australian saga chronicles over twenty years the histories of two families who come together to live in Number One, Cloud Street. The novel explores ways of belonging, relationships to place and people, and the contradictions that exist within the myth of Australia as the lucky country.

Teacher Resource Essay AustLit


3. That Deadman Dance
Author: Kim Scott
Year won: 2011

That Deadman Dance is an imagined first contact story that explores the complexity and fragility of those early contact years when the relationship between Indigenous people and the non-Indigenous colonisers was marked by uncertainty, curiosity, and different ways of understanding the land and sea.

Teacher resource essay


4. Truth
by Peter Temple
Year won: 2010

Peter Temple made Miles Franklin Literary Award history when his book, Truth, became the first crime fiction novel to win the prestigious prize. Set in Melbourne during fire season, Temple’s sparse, atmospheric language tells a complex tale of corruption, the struggle for honour, and the value of truth.

Teacher resource essay essay 2


5. Journey to the Stone Country
by Alex Miller
Year won: 2003

According to Alex Miller, there are three characters in Journey to the Stone Country: Bo, a man from the Jangga tribe, Annabelle, who is running from a failed marriage, and the Landscape, who is turned into a figure suffused with meaning and probing questions. The journey for all three characters is towards recovery and reconciliation.

Teacher resource essay


6. Tirra Lirra by the River
Author: Jessica Anderson
Year won: 1978

Tirra Lirra by the River, a novel about a remarkable life of liberation, is interested in the interior mind as a place to belong and as a means of escape. Imagination and memories are the things that Nora Porteous discovers when she returns to the Queensland childhood home she fled from all those years ago.

Teacher Resource Essay


7. Carpentaria
Author: Alexis Wright
Year won: 2007

Carpentaria is set in the fictional coastal town of Desperance in Australia’s north, and follows a wide cast of characters: feuding Aboriginal communities, the mining company, and the white officials from Uptown. In writing Carpentaria, Alexis Wright has produced an allegorical epic that captures the interconnectedness of Indigenous myths and history, past and present, and ancestry and trauma.

Essay AustLit Trail