Miles Franklin Literary Award 2017 Longlist

The Miles Franklin Literary Award was established in 1957 through the will of writer Stella Miles Franklin and the prize is for the novel of the year that ‘is of the highest literary merit and which must present Australian Life in any of its phases…’

The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam (Hachette) – ‘Here’s the poison we’ve been discussing.’ Evan is a nurse, a dying assistant. His job is legal… just. He’s the one at the hospital who hands out the last drink to those who ask for it.

An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire (Picador) – When beautiful 25-year-old Bella Michaels is brutally murdered in the small New South Wales town of Strathdee, the community is stunned and a full investigation gets underway as a media storm descends.

The Last Days of Ava Langdon by Mark O’Flynn (UQP) – Mark O’Flynn first learned about legendary Blue Mountains writer and recluse Eve Langley when he stumbled across her abandoned hut outside the small town of Leura. Though he moved on to other projects, Langley’s voice stayed with him: ‘Why did she change her name (by deed poll) to Oscar Wilde? Why the romantic preoccupation with her past? So little is known of her final days.’ O’Flynn’s fascination with her life eventually led to the creation of the irrepressible Ava Langdon. (Good Reads)

Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill (Black Inc.) – Ryan O’Neill has created a book of imaginary literary biography where the invented rub shoulders with the actual, and where the true story is told in the connections and correspondences – some overt, some hidden – between writers of counterfeit note. (SMH review)

A Loving, Faithful Animal by Josephine Rowe (UQP) – Your father. His head is a ghost trap. It’s all he can do to open his mouth without letting them all howl out. Even so, you can still see them, sliding around the dark behind his eyes …It is New Year’s Eve, 1990, and Ru’s father, Jack, has disappeared in the wake of a savage incident.

Waiting by Philip Salom (Puncher & Wattmann) – Big is a hefty cross-dresser and Little is little. Both are long used to the routines of boarding house life in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, but Little, with the prospect of an inheritance, is worrying Big with by indulging in dreams of home owenership.

Where the Trees Were by Inga Simpson (Hachette) – Finding those carved trees forged a bond between Jay and her four childhood friends and opened their eyes to a wider world. But their attempt to protect the grove ends in disaster, and that one day on the river changes their lives forever.

Hold by Kirsten Tranter (Fourth Estate) – There is a window, a fireplace and a beautiful chandelier. But nothing else. When Shelley meets a man who seems to be Conrad’s uncanny double, the mysterious room begins to dominate her world, becoming a focus for her secret fantasies and fears, offering an escape which also threatens to become a trap.

Extinctions by Josephine Wilson (UWA Publishing) – When a series of unfortunate incidents forces Professor Frederick Lothian, retired engineer, and his neighbour, Jan, together, he begins to realise the damage done by the accumulation of a lifetime’s secrets and lies, and to comprehend his own shortcomings.