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Josephine Wilson claims Australia’s most prestigious literary prize

Media release

Curtin University has congratulated Dr Josephine Wilson, from the Faculty of Humanities, on winning the esteemed 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award for her novel Extinctions.

Dr Wilson, a Perth-based writer and sessional academic at Curtin University, was acknowledged with Australia’s most prestigious literary prize in Sydney last night.

Dr Wilson became the sixth West Australian to receive the award, joining fellow Curtin University staff and alumni Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Jolley, Professor Kim Scott (two-time winner) and Tim Winton (four-time winner) as winners of the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

Curtin University Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor John Cordery congratulated Dr Wilson on her outstanding achievement, which recognises the novel of “the highest literary merit” that presents “Australian life in any of its phases”.

“On behalf of all staff and students at Curtin University, we extend a sincere congratulations to Josephine Wilson for receiving this tremendous honour and being named the winner of the 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award,” Professor Cordery said.

“Dr Wilson is a valued member of WA’s writing community, a true champion of the literary craft and her work will continue to inspire the next generation of creative writers and thinkers.”

Dr Wilson said she honestly felt that being nominated, longlisted and then shortlisted was reward enough, let alone being named the winner.

“When I found out I won, I was absolutely speechless and completely overwhelmed, I feel genuinely honoured to have been given such an extraordinary opportunity – it has made finishing off marking my students’ assessments very challenging,” Dr Wilson said.

“Writing can be quite a solitary affair, but the beauty of the Miles Franklin is that it brings together writers, regardless of where they come from, and creates such a great sense of community.

“The whole journey of the Miles Franklin Literary Award nourishes a field of writers and that is what is important – that critical mass of writers, not just one winner.”

The Miles Franklin Literary Award, celebrating its 60th anniversary, was established through the will of My Brilliant Career author Miles Franklin for the “advancement, improvement and betterment of Australian literature”.