Five books have been shortlisted for this year's prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award, with the winner to be announced on July 20.
This year the shortlist includes an author of a self-published title, a past Miles Franklin winner and three established authors. The winner will receive $60,000, while each of the shortlisted authors will receive $5000 from the Copyright Agency's Cultural Fund.
The Other Half of You by Michael Mohammed Ahmad (Hachette Australia)
In this moving and timely novel, the author balances the complexities of modern love with the demands of family, tradition and faith. The powerful, insightful and unforgettable new novel is as potent and powerful as the author's previous Miles Franklin shortlisted book, The Lebs.
Bani Adam has known all his life what was expected of him: To marry the right kind of girl; to make the House of Adam proud.
But Bani wanted more - he wanted to make his own choices. Being the first in his Australian Muslim family to go to university, he could see a different way.
Years later, Bani will write his story to his son, telling him of the choices that were made on Bani's behalf and those that he made for himself... of the hurt he caused and the heartache he carries... of the mistakes he made and the lessons he learned.
Scary Monsters, by Michelle de Kretser (Allen and Unwin)
From the twice-winner of the Miles Franklin Award, Scary Monsters is an affecting, profound and darkly funny exploration into racism, misogyny and ageism.
Lili's family migrated to Australia from Asia when she was a teenager. Now, in the 1980s, she's teaching in the south of France. She makes friends, observes the treatment handed out to North African immigrants and is creeped out by her downstairs neighbour. All the while, Lili is striving to be a bold, intelligent woman like Simone de Beauvoir.
Lyle works for a sinister government department in near-future Australia. An Asian migrant, he fears repatriation and embraces "Australian values". He's also preoccupied by his ambitious wife, his wayward children and strong-minded elderly mother. Islam has been banned in the country, the air is smoky from a Permanent Fire Zone, and one pandemic has already run its course.
Three scary monsters - racism, misogyny and ageism - roam through this mesmerising novel.
Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down (Text Publishing)
A quiet, small-town existence. An unexpected Facebook message jolting her back to the past. A history she's reluctant to revisit: dark memories and unspoken trauma, warning knocks on bedroom walls, unfathomable loss.
She became a new person a long time ago. What happens when buried stories are dragged into the light?
This epic novel from the two-time Sydney Morning Herald Young Novelist of the Year is a masterwork of tragedy and heartbreak - the story of a life in full. Sublimely wrought in devastating detail, Bodies of Light confirms Jennifer Down as one of the writers defining her generation.
One Hundred Days by Alice Pung (Black Inc. Books)
From one of Australia's most celebrated authors comes a mother-daughter drama exploring the fault lines between love and control.
In a heady whirlwind of independence, lust and defiance, 16-year-old Karuna falls pregnant. Not on purpose, but not entirely by accident, either. Incensed, her mother, already over-protective, confines her to their 14th-storey housing-commission flat to keep her safe from the outside world - and make sure she can't get into any more trouble.
Karuna battles her mother and herself for a sense of power in her own life, as a new life grows within her. As the due date draws ever closer, the question of who will get to raise the baby festers between them.
Grimmish by Michael Winkler (Puncher and Wattmann)
Pain was Joe Grim's self-expression, his livelihood and reason for being.
In 1908-09 the Italian-American boxer toured Australia, losing fights but amazing crowds with his showmanship and extraordinary physical resilience.
On the east coast Grim played a supporting role in the Jack Johnson-Tommy Burns "Fight of the Century"; on the west coast he was committed to an insane asylum. In between he played with the concept and reality of pain in a shocking manner not witnessed before or since.
Award-winning writer Michael Winkler braids the story of Grim in Australia, meditations on pain, thoughts on masculinity and vulnerability, plus questionable jokes into a highly creative haymaker.
The Miles Franklin Literary Award was established in 1954 by the estate of My Brilliant Career author Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin to celebrate the Australian character and creativity. It supports the betterment of Australian literature by each year recognising the novel of the highest literary merit which presents Australian life in any of its phases.
The award is overseen by the Copyright Agency's Cultural Fund, alongside award trustee Perpetual.
We have a pack of all five titles to give away valued at $162.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.