Entertainment Books Lasting effects of trauma haunts 2020 Miles Franklin Award shortlist

Lasting effects of trauma haunts 2020 Miles Franklin Award shortlist

The books shortlisted for the prestigious Miles Franklin Award. Photo: Miles Franklin/Twitter
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Four Miles Franklin contenders are set to take another tilt at Australia’s richest literary prize after making the shortlist for a second time.

A powerhouse of experienced local authors have made the shortlist for 2020, with no first-time writers in the field.

Among the contenders for the $60,000 award is Tony Birch with his novel The White Girl, described as a celebration of Aboriginal resilience which demands Australia address its savage past.

Previously nominated for Blood in 2012, his latest work won the NSW Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing.

There’s an even split between men and women, with other nominees including Peggy Frew, who was shortlisted for Hope Farm in 2016 and Carrie Tiffany, whose novels Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living and Mateship with Birds both made the shortlist.

The two newcomers are Tara June Winch, whose work The Yield is both a popular and critical darling, winning both the People’s Choice and Book of the Year at the 2020 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, and John Hughes, with his third novel No-One.

Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, Mitchell Librarian of the State Library of NSW and chair Richard Neville said while the books were diverse in form and tone they all explored the lasting effects of trauma.

“From familial stories of neglect and abuse to the national story of racial and cultural dispossession, these novels demonstrate powerfully how past trauma continues to inform the present,” Mr Neville said in a statement on Thursday.

The winner will be announced on July 16.

Each of the shortlisted authors will receive $5000 from the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.