Three RMIT writing and editing graduates have been shortlisted for Australia's most prestigious literary award, the Miles Franklin.
Out of 10 nominees for the 2016 Miles Franklin Literary Award, three are former students of the Professional Writing and Editing (PWE) program at RMIT.
The shortlisted graduates are Peggy Frew for Hope Farm, Myfanwy Jones for Leap and Lucy Treloar for Salt Creek.
Hope Farm is Frew’s second novel set in the dying days of the hippie movement, and focuses on the difficult relationship between a 13-year-old teenager and her charismatic mother.
The novel was also shortlisted for the 2016 Stella Prize and long-listed for General Fiction Book of the Year in the Australian Book Industry Awards.
Frew said the Professional Writing and Editing course, with its excellent teachers, had much to offer.
“I learned valuable things about the craft of writing and about building a healthy identity and morale as a writer. I also entered a community where lasting, productive connections were made," she said.
Jones started out subbing and writing restaurant reviews in a Saigon newsroom before enrolling in the Professional Writing and Editing diploma. Under the tutelage of RMIT lecturer Olga Lorenzo she developed her debut novel The Rainy Season, published by Penguin in 2009 and shortlisted for The Melbourne Prize for Literature's Best Writing Award.
Leap is an urban fairytale about human and animal nature, and the transformative power of grief.
In addition to her Miles Franklin nomination Treloar’s Salt Creek has won the Indie Awards Debut Fiction in 2016 and has been shortlisted for the UK Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, one of the world's top literary prizes.
Treloar said she learned so much at RMIT, but probably the two most profound things for her were learning to read as a writer, and the discovery and ongoing reinforcement of the idea of the "work" of writing: the importance of drafting and redrafting, that it’s not easy for anyone.
“Being taught by gifted, practising writers, and learning alongside such talented peers is something I’ll always be grateful for too,” she said.
Penny Johnson, who manages the Professional Writing and Editing program at RMIT, said she wass thrilled that the work of these three talented graduates had been recognised by the judges of the Miles Franklin.
“Being shortlisted for Australia’s most prestigious literature prize will bring new readers to these wonderful novels and well-deserved attention to their authors,” Johnson said.
The Miles Franklin Literary Award winner for 2016 will be announced in August.
Story: Wendy Little