Miles Franklin shortlist announced
Miles Franklin shortlist announced

A cross-dressing man and the media's obsession with pretty dead girls are among the shortlisted tales in one of Australia most prestigious literary awards.

Five first-time nominees have been named for this year's Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlist, with the award celebrating its 60th anniversary.

Contemporary Australian poet Philip Salom's third novel, Waiting, is among the ranks.

"It is a double narrative of two different classes of people. Big and Little live in a rooming house," he told AAP.

"Big is a hefty, a cross-dressing bloke and he reads and reads to be able to profess his knowledge. While she is little."

Salom said the other couple is an bitterly divorced landscape gardener Angus and an academic Jasmin who live isolated lives.

"It is a novel of meetings and encounters, and eccentric characters," he said.

Author Emily Maguire said her psychological thriller is about a woman named Chris whose sister Bella is brutally murdered, leaving a trail of destruction behind.

"It felt urgent (to write). It pays attention to how they are feeling in the immediate moment, then when the media spotlight is on and then when it all disappears," she said.

Other shortlisted authors include; Mark O'Flynn for his book The Last Days Of Ava Langdon, Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O'Neill and Josephine Wilson's Extinction.

State Library of NSW Mitchell librarian Richard Neville said the shortlist celebrated diversity of voices and approaches to writing about Australian life.

"None of these novels draw on familiar tropes of Australian literature - yet each brings a distinctive pitch of truth and insight into the Australian experience," he said on behalf of the judging panel.

The shortlisted authors will receive $5000 from the Copyright Agency's Cultural Fund.

The winner will be announced on September 7.

AAP

Latest From 7News