The shortlist for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award, worth $42,000, has been announced. The shortlisted titles are:
As always with these awards there is some controversy about the novels that have been selected and those that missed out. The most striking thing about this year’s list is the absence of any female authors. Toni Jordan, Claire Thomas and Sofie Laguna were all in the long-list but missed out in the cut down to the final five. Another long-listed author that I was surprised to not to see in the shortlist was Steve Toltz for his Booker shortlisted novel A Fraction of the Whole
All that been said, the five finalists are extremely strong and deserving of their place. Tim Winton has won the award three times previously and will be the popular favourite with his bestselling novel Breath. I’m tipping Christos Tsiolkis’ The Slap for the prize, however, for his powerful dissection Australian middle class values and morals. Personally though I am cheering for Richard Flanagan to win and get the recognition I think Wanting deserves – a haunting novel that enthralled me all the way through. Murray Bail and Louis Nowra are the outsiders this year but The Pages is an authoritative novel and Ice is a beautifully written, visually spectacular book so I won’t count them out either.
The winner will be announced at a gala dinner to be held at the State Library of New South Wales on Thursday 18 June.