Brisbane-based Bundjalung author Melissa Lucashenko has claimed one of Australia’s most prestigious literary prizes with her 2018 novel Too Much Lip.
Having previously earned a spot on the Miles Franklin Literary Award longlist for her award-winning 2013 novel Mullumbimby, Lucashenko’s follow-up Too Much Lip has been widely praised for its story of a woman returning to her hometown on Bundjalung country to navigate family legacies, the criminal justice system and commercial development of culturally important land. Since its publication the book has also been shortlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize and Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.
“It’s kind of terrifying,” Lucashenko says of the win. “I only recently realised that I could be doing so much more in my writing and now this goes and happens. I have no idea what to do next, other than keep plugging away at my civilising mission to mainstream Australia.”
“Too Much Lip is driven by personal experience, historical injustice, anger and what in Indigenous vernacular could be described as ‘deadly Blak’ humour,” judging panel chair and State Library of NSW Mitchell Librarian Richard Neville says of the book. “Lucashenko weaves a (sometimes) fabulous tale with the very real politics of cultural survival to offer a story of hope and redemption for all Australians.”
Lucashenko is set to receive $60,000 in prize money through the award, originally established through the will of celebrated author Miles Franklin and currently managed by investment group Perpetual.
Also shortlisted for the 2019 prize were South Australian author Jennifer Mills for her novel Dyschronia, The Lebs author Michael Mohammed Ahmad, A Sand Archive author Gregory Day, previously shortlisted The Death of Noah Glass author Gail Jones and two-time Miles Franklin winner Rodney Hall.
Miles Franklin Literary Award/Belinda Rolland