New Zealand novelist, and Fremantle Press author, Tracy Farr has received a well-deserved literary nod. Her debut novel, The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt, has been longlisted for Australia’s prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award.
In her will, Miles Franklin – the award’s namesake – stated that “[the] prize shall be awarded for the Novel for the year which is of the highest literary merit and which must present Australian Life in any of its phases …” For over fifty years the award has honoured the authors of such works, including multi-year winners like Tim Winton and Peter Carey. That Farr’s novel has been considered, then, is a wonderful gesture of recognition.
Hailing from Perth, Farr has found a home in the lovely New Zealand city of Wellington, where she has resided now for twenty years. Farr’s debut novel, The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt, is the delightful fictional biography of “music’s most modern musician”, Lena Gaunt, a (well-travelled) theramin player. Prior to this novel, Farr has had her short fiction published in anthologies, literary journals, and magazines, as well as broadcast on Radio New Zealand. She has also been commended and longlisted for short fiction awards both in New Zealand and Australia.
Farr says that this acknowledgment for her novel has boosted her confidence and spurred on her energy for writing her second novel (currently in its early stages of development). She says it feels as though she has been accepted into, and embraced by the Australian literary community. Farr hopes that her “longlisting might contribute, in even a small way, to bridging the gap between the Australian and New Zealand literary scenes, or at least providing a talking point about it.”
The Miles Franklin Literary Award judges will announce the shortlist on the 15th May. In the meantime, the administrators are launching a public poll, inviting readers from the public to vote and select their own shortlist. Novel extracts, synopsis and author bios are all available to read. So, why not your don your judges hat and get voting?
Read the NZ Booklover’s review of Tracy Farr’s longlisted novel, The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt. For more information on Tracy Farr, visit tracyfarrauthor.net, on the Miles Franklin Literary Awards, visit www.milesfranklin.com.au, and on Fremantle Press, visit www.fremantlepress.com.au.