Josephine Wilson, a graduate of The University of Western Australia, has won the prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award for her second novel Extinctions, published in 2016 by UWA Publishing.
The Western Australian-based author, who wrote Extinctions as part of her creative writing PhD at UWA under the supervision of Associate Professor Tanya Dalziell, said she was incredibly excited and honoured to win the award.
“I was just thrilled to be longlisted and then shortlisted for the Miles Franklin and to be placed among a group of my peers from around Australia,” she said.
“All of those novels are a reflection of the power and strength of Australian writing. So hopefully what the award does is bring in a whole new community of readers, not just to read the books but to follow all the writers that have been longlisted and shortlisted.”
Ms Wilson described Extinctions as being about ‘a grumpy, ageing man disconnected from his family who discovers himself and his community through a process of being thrust into a different situation than the one in which he’d placed himself’.
“Writing the book was like putting together, planning and structuring something almost architectural or engineered; all the different elements needed to fit together,” she said.
The Miles Franklin judging panel praised the winning novel, saying: “In this clever and compassionate novel, Josephine Wilson explores ageing, adoption, grief and remorse; rescue and resistance to rescue.”
This year is the 60th year since the award was established by My Brilliant Career author Stella Miles Franklin (1879-1954) to recognise a novel “which is of the highest literary merit and which must present Australian life in any of its phases…” Previous WA winners include Kim Scott, Randolph Stow, Elizabeth Jolley and Tim Winton.
Extinctions also won UWA Publishing’s inaugural prize for an unpublished manuscript, the Dorothy Hewett Award, established in 2015.
The Miles Franklin Literary Award was announced tonight at the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney with the winner receiving $60,000. The other shortlisted books were An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire, The Last Days of Ava Langdon by Mark O’Flynn, Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill and Waiting by Philip Salom.
Charlotte Guest (UWA Publishing) (+61 8) 6488 3670
David Stacey (UWA Media and PR Manager) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 32 637 716