Miles Franklin Award Reactions

Jason Steger in "The Age" sums up the response right up front: "Most pundits fancied the novel about the early days of white settlement for this year's Miles Franklin. After all, it had already won both the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the NSW Premier's Prize...Last night, the novel set in early 19th-century NSW duly won Australia's most significant literary prize. But it wasn't The Secret River, Kate Grenville's much-acclaimed novel and the hot favourite; it was Roger McDonald's The Ballad of Desmond Kale...It was the fifth time one of his novels had been shortlisted for the award, and McDonald admitted he was 'gobsmacked' when told of his success."

In "The Australian", Murray Waldren reports that award judge Morag Fraser said the decision was unanimous. He also concentrates on the fact that McDonald won, rather than that Grenville lost, though he does acknowledge McDonald's history with the award: "Four times before, the writer, based in Braidwood, NSW, had been shortlisted for this most prestigious and richest award on the Australian literary calendar, and he feared he was fated to remain a perennial bridesmaid."

Catherine Keenan gives a nod to Grenville along the way to congratulating McDonald, in "The Sydney Morning Herald", and notes: "It was a particularly distinguished win given the strength of this year's shortlist".

In Brisbane's "Courier-Mail", Jonathon Moran produces the shortest report of the four but does give probably the best quote from the winner: "It is something that you hope for but you can never guarantee it will become a reality. It is a terrific prize to win, and it gets the recognition and the readership that every author craves."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 23, 2006 9:08 AM.

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