Running for Miles: the first 10 announced

Interesting list out today (March 31) for the first stage of judging for this year’s Miles Franklin award.

Things have certainly changed on the prize landscape: you’ll remember Evie Wyld won last year with a spare and innovative novel, All the Birds, Singing. That kind of fiction is now much more likely to win this award than those by better known writers. Tim Winton’s excellent book Eyrie was up for last year’s award but, along with the more contentious Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, was overlooked for the Wyld novel.

There’s a couple of books on this longlist that I’m puzzled to see there, but that’s the roll of the dice. A longlist is a way to mention books that a judge may have found interesting and want to alert readers to, without really thinking it is likely to win. It’s a kind of encouragement, and acknowledgement that such a range of books are now being published.

I can’t pick a winner on this longlist, however: can’t see one yet that leaps out and says, it’s me, I’m the book everyone should read this year.

Here’s the list, along with some useful information via The Guardian’s article: http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/mar/31/miles-franklin-award-longlist-2015

Festivals and writers: who pays?

Any organiser of a literary festival who tells the writers they’ve invited that they ought to be grateful for the invitation really shouldn’t be in the job.

Most festival directors, in fact, aren’t really in the “job” anyway: much of the organising of the increasingly popular writers festival is done by volunteers. And most of those volunteers scrimp and save here, cut corners there, beg and borrow as they can, to try to pay authors at least a small fee for their time and involvement.

But, as Joanne Harris writes on her blog, http://joannechocolat.tumblr.com/post/112440623146/on-festivals-and-fees#notes there is a perception that writers are expected to work for nothing, to come along, as Harris says, because the “exposure” is good for them. Continue reading