Australia’s most prestigious literary prize, the Miles Franklin Literary Award, has been won by a debut novel, Anna Funder’s All That I Am.
Funder’s book was selected by the judges from a shortlist of five including Blood by Tony Birch, Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears, Frank Moorhouse’s Cold Light and Past the Shallows by Favel
Inspired by true events, All That I Am tells the story of an elderly Australian woman and her role in the opposition to the Nazis in the years leading up to World War II.
The judging panel said they admired an “ambitious novel that moves across continents and decades, to remind us that experiences of exile and dislocation have long been part of Australian life.”
Panel member Professor Gillian Whitlock from the University of Queensland said Funder’s novel was shaped by the flawed memories and recollections of its two narrators.
“In this way the novel is both a testimony to those who led the resistance to Nazism, and a reflection on the limited ways that fiction and history can represent the traumatic past and do justice to its victims.”
While All That I Am is Funder’s debut novel she is no stranger to literary success, as her 2004 non-fiction work Stasiland was a best-seller.
While making the award John Atkin, CEO of The Trust Company, once again called for the federal government to consider making the $50,000 prize money tax free in line with The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.
The Miles Franklin Literary Award was established in 1954 through Franklin’s will, to encourage and support writers of Australian literature.