What about a best of the best Miles Franklin award in 2027?
12 March 2023
Image courtesy of Eli Digital Creative.
To mark its twenty-fifth anniversary, Britain’s Baillie Gifford literary prize, which recognises excellence in non-fiction writing, is holding a Winner of Winners Award to select the best title — the best of the best, if you like — among the past twenty-four winners of the prize.
Riffing on this idea, Jason Steger, literary editor for Australian newspapers The Age, and The Sydney Morning Herald, suggests the Miles Franklin Literary Award could do likewise to commemorate its seventieth anniversary in 2027. The Booker Prize also did something similar in 2008, for their fortieth anniversary, with the Best of the Booker.
Steger put forward the proposal in his weekly newsletter The Booklist last week. A special panel of judges could create a shortlist of perhaps a dozen past Miles Franklin winners, with a public vote to determine an overall victor:
Like the Booker, choosing a shortlist and a public vote would seem the optimum way to go if the Miles were to do it. A panel of judges would have to be chosen and they could pick perhaps a 10- or 12-book shortlist. And then the likes of you and me would have our say.
Selecting a crème de la crème winner would be a big ask, as would drawing up any shortlist, but anything that boosts interest and excitement in Australian literature can only be a good idea.