The six contenders for Australia’s most prestigious literary prize have been revealed for another year, with two newer faces sitting alongside titles from Tony Birch, Peggy Frew, Philip Salom and Carrie Tiffany – have all made previous appearances on the annual literary prize’s shortlist.
Two celebrated works by First Nations storytellers lead the 2020 crop, with Birch’s The White Girl – which explores the child removal policies of the mid-20th century – and Wiradjuri author Tara June Winch’s The Yield. Winch makes her first appearance in the prize’s shortlist with her acclaimed second novel The Yield, and will be familiar to local readers after her appearance at Adelaide Writer’s Week earlier this year alongside Birch.
Sydney author John Hughes has also gained his first Miles Franklin nod with his third novel, the No-one, having previously claimed the since-discontinued Innovation prize at the 2008 Adelaide Festival Literature Awards for his essay collection Someone Else. No South Australian authors made the 2020 shortlist, after former Clare Valley resident Jennifer Mills was recognised in 2019 for her book Dyschronia, a novel inspired by the state’s post-industrial coastal towns.
The winner will be announced on 16 July, with the $60,000 prize judged by a panel that includes the State Library of NSW’s Mitchell Librarian Richard Neville, The Australian’s Murray Waldren, academic Dr Melinda Harvey, bookseller Lindy Jones and literary critic Dr Bernadette Brennan.
Walter is a writer, editor and broadcaster living on Kaurna Country. His work has appeared in Rip It Up, The Saturday Paper, Smith Journal, Royal Auto, Swampland Magazine, Broadsheet and The Thousands.