Bookseller & Publisher
The shortlisted titles are:
- When Colts Ran (Roger McDonald, Vintage)
- That Deadman Dance (Kim Scott, Picador)
- Bereft (Chris Womersley, Scribe).
The winner of this year's award will be announced at a special event at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne on 22 June.
The judging panel described this year's shortlisted titles as having 'a distinctive, indelible Australian voice'.
'It's a voice that has nothing to do with reflex nationalism, or jingoism--rather the reverse,' said the judges. 'The shortlisted books this year are like barometers of the state of our culture: they take the readings, and give them back to us in fiction of extraordinary accomplishment. They force us to look again at ourselves, and to think--hard.'
Womersley's Bereft is 'a beautifully written book, spare and compelling', said the judges. 'The tragedy and bleakness of the story are, at time, almost unbearbale but Womersley's fine prose and narrative intensity make Bereft unforgettable.'
Following the announcement of the shortlist some members of the Australia literary community expressed concerns about only three titles making the list. In 2010, six titles were shortlisted for the award. The absence of female authors on this year's list has also attracted attention.
As previously reported by the Weekly Book Newsletter, the prize money for the award has increased to $50,000 this year, up from $42,000 in 2010.
The 2010 Miles Franklin Literary Award went to Peter Temple for his crime novel Truth (Text).