When the Miles Franklin shortlist was announced earlier this week, the public response seemed unusually muted and polite. In the early reactions, one discerned a few recurrent talking points. Three of the six finalists don’t currently live in Australia. Does this matter? Only two of the six are women. Is that enough? Few big-name writers made the list. Is that a good sign or a bad one?
As a practicing critic, I find it hard to get excited about such questions. To feel they matter, you have to take literary prizes seriously in the first place. And I don’t. I think they’re a terrible idea all round ... [READ MORE]