Fremantle Press author Jacqueline Wright is celebrating today after her novel Red Dirt Talking was longlisted for the prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award.
The Broome writer said she was totally gobsmacked when her publisher phoned to deliver the news.
‘They were on the other end of the phone waiting quietly for me to scream or show some form of excitement,’ she said.
‘But instead I dropped into the foetal position and started bawling my eyes out.
‘I walked back into work with mascara down my face, all hot and sweaty from the 37 degree heat and my colleagues thought something terrible happened to me.’
Ms Wright, who won the 2010 T.A.G. Hungerford Award, said being longlisted was unbelievable and that the achievement had restored her confidence as a writer.
‘Being a writer is a lonely and isolated business, especially when you’re a regional writer,’ she said.
‘When you don’t have access to the writing world and when you can’t regularly attend festivals, it can really affect your confidence.
‘When I looked at last year’s longlist there were some really polished, exceptionally talented writers in the mix and to even be considered in the same league as them is a dream come true.’
Ms Wright hoped being longlisted for the Miles Franklin would help WA literature be taken more seriously.
‘… it’s nice for a regional WA writer to be recognised by a competition like this and be given a voice,’ she said.
Ms Wright said she would be both excited and apprehensive to hear the shortlist announced but wanted to enjoy this achievement first.
‘I am quite happy to sit in this amazing bubble for a month revelling before the shortlist is announced.’
‘I think I will go home, sit on the front verandah and listen to the green tree frogs with a nice beverage in hand.’
The judges will announce the shortlist on 30 April at the State Library of NSW. To help celebrate the longlist novels, the Trust Company, as trustee of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, has launched the 2013 Miles of Reading Challenge. Incorporating book reviews and interactive online forums, the Challenge encourages Australians to read at least one book from the Miles Franklin longlist.
For more information go to www.milesfranklin.com.au/news or tweet your comments @_milesfranklin.
Red Dirt Talking by Jacqueline Wright is available online and from all good bookstores.