Australian author Amanda Lohrey’s contemporary novel THE LABYRINTH has been announced as the winner of this year’s Miles Franklin Literary Award.

This Award is an annual literary prize valued at $60,000 which is awarded to “a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases”. The award was set up according to the will of Miles Franklin (1879-1954) who is best known for writing the Australian classic ‘My Brilliant Career’, published in 1901. Franklin bequeathed her estate to fund the award.

In THE LABYRINTH, Erica Marsden’s son, an artist, has been imprisoned for homicidal negligence. In a state of grief, Erica cuts off all ties to family and friends, and retreats to a quiet hamlet on the south-east coast near the prison where he is serving his sentence.

There, in a rundown shack, she obsesses over creating a labyrinth by the ocean. To build it-to find a way out of her quandary-Erica will need the help of strangers. And that will require her to trust, and to reckon with her past.

THE LABYRINTH is a hypnotic story of guilt and denial, of the fraught relationship between parents and children, that is also a meditation on how art can both be ruthlessly destructive and restore sanity. It shows Amanda Lohrey to be at the peak of her powers.

Amanda Lohrey’s THE LABYRINTH  was published by The Text Publishing Company in August 2020. The ISBN is 9781922330109.

Featured image : Miles Franklin Literary Award winner Amanda Lohrey