Jason Steger, Sydney Morning Herald, June 23, 2011
The prize, worth $50,000 and a significant fillip to book sales, was presented at Victoria's State Library, the first time the ceremony has been held away from Sydney.
Scott pipped two other shortlisted books for the prize: When Colts Ran, by a former winner, Roger McDonald, and Bereft, the second novel by the Age journalist Chris Womersley.
This year's Miles Franklin provoked some controversy when the nine-book longlist was cut back to only three, all written by male novelists. It is the second time in three years that the judges have produced an all-male shortlist.
That Deadman Dance is a story of the encounters between the Noongar people in south-west Australia, the early settlers and visiting American whalers. Using the central figure of Bobby Wabalanginy, who adapts a military drill he has observed to create the deadman dance that becomes a symbol of cross-cultural borrowings, it follows the friendly relations between the indigenous population and the British that eventually give way to something darker.
The judges said That Deadman Dance was powerful, innovative fiction that shifted the sense of what a historical novel could achieve. It ''is alive in the spaces between these two worlds as they collide and collaborate. It tells the story of the rapid destruction of the Noongar people and their traditions. At the same time, there is the enchanting possibility of the birth of a new world in the strange song, dance, ceremony and language that are produced by these encounters of very different people.''
Scott, the son of a Noongar father and white mother, said that while the resolution of the book was to some extent tragic, the picture of what he calls cross-cultural leakage was intended to signal that the story is not over.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/scott-wins-second-miles-franklin-20110622-1gfod.html#ixzz1Q4NIzTZ1