Miles Franklin Entry Criteria

No, this isn't another rant from me about who should and who should not be eligible for the Miles Franklin Award. It's just a query about a note I saw in the paper on the weekend.

Jason Steger, literary editor of "The Age" and panellist on ABC TV's "The First Tuesday book Club", has a column each weekend in the book pages called "Bookmarks" (not on the web). This week he included, under the heading "Hyland's consolation" the following paragraph: "Written in Melbourne by a writer who lived in Melbourne for many years and developed her writing talent here, but not eligible for the Miles Franklin, Australia's most significant literary prize, M.J. Hyland's Carry Me Down was entered for the award but didn't feature on the longlist announced last week." The consolation was that Hyland was included on the longlist for the Orange Prize.

But that's not the point. The point actually relates to the "but not eligible for the Miles Franklin" phrase. I'm not sure if the writer is referring to the author or the novel here. If to the novel, then he is correct. If to the author then this infers a possible misunderstanding of the actual entry criteria, which relate solely to subject matter and content and not to the author's nationality or residence. In support of this argument I present English Passengers by Matthew Kneale which was shortlisted for the award in 2001; Kneale is described in Wikipedia as "British".

But the original sentence is somewhat confusing and may give some readers (like me for instance) the wrong impression about the award's entry criteria. Maybe a mild rewording was in order.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 28, 2007 8:38 AM.

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