We are days away from finding out which author will become the 2018 winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award! Since the Copyright Agency supports the Miles Franklin shortlist by providing each shortlisted author with a $5000 cash prize, naturally, all of our water-cooler chats are dominated by Miles Franklin speculation.

The Reading Australia team are particularly invested in the Award; after all, you know what they say, today’s Miles Franklin shortlist is tomorrow’s school set text. This year’s shortlist is exceptionally strong, and each book could easily find a place in a classroom.

On 26 August, one of these six brilliant finalists will be presented with the award:

  • NO MORE BOATS by Felicity Castagna (Giramondo Publishing): A man, once a migrant himself, finds his world imploding. He is forced to retire, his wife has left him, and his children ignore him. The 2001 Tampa crisis is the background to his despair at the disappearance of the certainties he once knew.
  • THE LIFE TO COME by Michelle de Kretser (Allen & Unwin): Revolving around three characters in Sydney, Paris and Sri Lanka, this novel is about the stories we tell and don’t tell ourselves as individuals, societies and nations, and highlights how the past and future can change the present.
  • THE LAST GARDEN by Eva Hornung (Text Publishing): When Matthias Orion shoots his wife and himself, on the same day their son Benedict returns from boarding school, a small religious community is shattered. Benedict is struck dumb with grief. Their pastor feels his authority challenged by the tragedy. Both must come to terms with the unknowable past and the frailties of being human.
  • STORYLAND by Catherine McKinnon (HarperCollins Publishers): Set on Lake Illawarra, this is a compelling novel of five separate narratives which span four centuries. Ultimately all these characters are connected by blood, history, place and memory: together they tell the story of Australia. 
  • BORDER DISTRICTS by Gerald Murnane (Giramondo Publishing): Similar to the author himself, the narrator of this novel has moved from bustling Melbourne to a small town on the Wimmera Plains, where he intends to spend the last years of his life. Mediating on fragments of his past, exhaustively and compulsively, Border Districts explores the border land between life and death.
  • TABOO by Kim Scott (Picador Australia – Pan Macmillan Australia): Set in present-day rural Western Australia, this novel tells the story of a group of Noongar people, who after many decades revisit a taboo area: the site of a massacre. Taboo explores how the Noongar and descendants of the family that initiated the massacre so long ago wrestle with the possibilities of reconciliation.

Inspired by the Miles Franklin Literary Award? Check out our 2017 blog post about ‘7 Miles Franklin Award-winners to add to your classroom library’.