Those with are supposedly in the know are spruiking either Alexis Wright (The Swan Book) or Tim Winton (Eyrie) to walk away with Australia’s top fiction prize, the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Both are previous winners. However, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it will be Richard Flanagan’s moving The Narrow Road to the Deep North which will scoop the $60,000 prize when it is announced in Sydney on Thursday June 26 with either Evie Wyld (All the Birds, Singing) and Alexis Wright as longshots. Other contenders are Fiona McFarlane (The Night Guest) which was one of my favourite books last year, and Cory Taylor (My Beautiful Enemy).
Richard Neville, Mitchell Librarian at the State Library of NSW speaking on behalf of the judging panel, said the novels explored “fascinating and varied facets of Australian life … From prisoner of war camps and a sinister windswept island to a seedy high rise apartment block, and a future dystopia where Swan Lake becomes a polluted pond in a high energy narrative unlike anything ever heard before in Australian literature,” he said.