Congratulations to acclaimed Tasmanian author Amanda Lohrey who has won the 2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award for her elegiac novel The Labyrinth – a beautifully written meditation on sorrow, loneliness and art.
The novel follows Erica Marsden, who retreats to a quiet hamlet near the prison where her son has been incarcerated for homicidal negligence. Living in a rundown shack, she obsesses over creating a labyrinth by the ocean. To build it, Erica will need the help of strangers.
Seven-time novelist Amanda Lohrey has appeared on the Miles Franklin longlist three times and on the shortlist twice, making this a well-deserved win.
She now joins a group of distinguished and revered alumni of Miles Franklin prize winners, including last year’s winner Tara June Winch (for The Yield), and fellow Tasmanian, the late Christopher Koch (for The Doubleman, in 1985 and Highways to a War, in 1996).
AMNESTY by Aravind Adiga
Danny is an illegal immigrant living in Sydney, having fled Sri Lanka three years ago. But then one morning, Danny learns that a female client of his has been murdered. Should Danny come forward with knowledge he has about the crime and risk getting deported, or say nothing? Over the course of a single day he must wrestle with his conscience and decide if a person without rights still has responsibilities.
THE RAIN HERON by Robbie Arnott
From the author of Flames, The Rain Heron is equal parts horror and wonder. Ren lives alone on the remote frontier of a country devastated by a coup. High on the forested slopes, she survives by hunting and trading – and forgetting. But when a young soldier comes to the mountains in search of a local myth, Ren is inexorably drawn into an impossible mission, and both Ren and the soldier are forced to confront what they regret, what they love, and what they fear..
AT THE EDGE OF THE SOLID WORLD by Daniel Davis Wood
In a village in the Swiss Alps, a husband and wife find their lives breaking apart following the death of their firstborn. On the other side of the world, in their hometown of Sydney, a man commits an act of shocking violence. As the husband recognises signs of his own grief in both the survivors and the perpetrator, his fixation on the case feeds into insomnia, trauma and an obsession.
LUCKY’S by Andrew Pippos
This book centres around Lucky, a second-generation Chicago-born clarinet-playing Greek man who finds himself in wartime Australia in the ’40s, escaping service by impersonating the “king of swing” Benny Goodman. Lucky comes into money through personal tragedy and uses it to run a successful franchise of cafe diners. Spanning decades, this unforgettable epic tells a story about lives bound together by the pursuit of love, family, and new beginnings.
THE INLAND SEA by Madeleine Watts
Our young narrator finds that the world around her is coming undone. She works part-time as an emergency dispatch operator, tracking the fires and floods that rage across Australia during a year that grows increasingly unstable. Drinking heavily and sleeping with strangers, she finds herself wandering Sydney’s streets late at night as she navigates a troubled affair with an ex-lover. Reckless and adrift, she begins to contemplate leaving.