The Hands: An Australian Pastoral, by celebrated South Australian author Stephen Orr, has been longlisted for the highly prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award. It is the second time Orr’s work has been nominated, after Time’s Long Ruin was longlisted in 2011.
The Miles Franklin Literary Award is Australia’s most prestigious and literary prize, having been won numerous times by celebrated authors such as Peter Carey, Tim Winton and Kim Scott. Speaking with The Adelaide Review, Orr expressed his pleasure at The Hands’ inclusion in the longlist alongside other Australian writers from a variety of publishers. “There are a lot of small publishers included in the longlist this year, and only one really large one.” Most importantly, the exposure inclusion in the longlist provides is great for a novelist like Orr. “Australian books have this tendency to disappear into the ether.” Noting that the collection of nine longlisted novels all focus on themes of grief and loss, Orr says there are some “pretty interesting ideas in there” and is optimistic for the future of small Australian publishers. “It seems that some of the more unique voices are coming through smaller publishers at the moment.” The Hands is a “very claustrophobic sort of book,” says Orr, with a “Tennessee Williams feel to it.” Part Australian pastoral, part tragedy the novel follows the story of a family coming to terms with each other and the harsh environment they exist within.
2016 Miles Franklin Literary Award Longlist:
- Ghost River, Tony Birch
- Coming Rain, Stephen Daisley
- Hope Farm, Peggy Frew
- Leap, Myfanwy Jones
- The World Without Us, Mireille Juchau
- The Hands: An Australian Pastoral, Stephen Orr
- Black Rock White City, A.S. Patrić
- Salt Creek, Lucy Treloar
- The Natural Way of Things, Charlotte Wood