Friday, April 17, 2009

Miles Franklin short list

The shortlist for the 2009 Miles Franklin Award was released yesterday.

One of the nominees is a personal favorite. Tim Winton is compared in the official release to Ian McEwan and Philip Roth (“major chroniclers of the human condition”). He far more closely resembles Richard Russo. His novels are similarly loose, yet driven by narrative rather than theme or thesis. They invite you to keep reading, partly because they never invite you to stop, underline a passage, and ponder. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Literary intellectuals have become too tolerant of essayistic digressions and sententious reflections. Winton’s novels don’t loop back on themselves. They drive forward. Here is hoping that Breath, his novel about surfers, brings home his fourth Miles Franklin Award.

Perry Middlemiss’s page dedicated to the award is here. It includes a list of every award-winner since 1957.

Update: The Guardian says that Winton holds the “pole position” for the award (h/t: Books, Inq.).