University of Queensland Press ( UQP ) author Melissa Lucashenko has won the Miles Franklin Literary Award , considered Australia’s most prestigious literary prize.
Goorie writer Ms Lucashenko was named the 2019 winner in a ceremony in Sydney last night (30 July) for her work Too Much Lip , published by UQP in 2018.
This is the first time in 24 years that a Queensland-based writer has won the Miles Franklin award.
UQP Publishing Director Madonna Duffy said the award recognised Ms Lucashenko’s longstanding contribution to Australian literature.
“When we got this book I knew it was special, because this novel does something that I felt no other Australian fiction was doing at the time,” Ms Duffy said.
“Melissa successfully brought together Indigenous mythology and tackled the legacy of black and white relations, within the setting of a family drama.
“The flawed and full-of-life characters jump off the page, coupled with sharp dialogue and insightful humour.”
UQP Director Ben James said the Miles Franklin prize for Too Much Lip came after several other prestigious awards.
“Too Much Lip has been highly acclaimed since its release and has been shortlisted for the Stella prize, the Australian Book Industry awards, and the Victorian and New South Wales Premiers’ literary awards,” he said.
“We’re extremely proud to have been Melissa’s publisher for more than a decade, and to see her work celebrated at this national level.
“UQP has long been a champion of Indigenous writers, and we are delighted to see Melissa’s brilliant and important work about contemporary Aboriginal life reach an even bigger audience.”
Ms Lucashenko will receive $60,000 in prize money.
“I only recently realised that I could be doing so much more in my writing and now this goes and happens,” Ms Lucashenko said.
“I have no idea what to do next, other than keep plugging away at my civilising mission to mainstream Australia.”
Ms Lucashenko’s novel Mullumbimby was also longlisted in 2014 for the Miles Franklin.