New Zealand novelist longlisted for a Miles Franklin Literary Award

Fremantle Press author Tracy Farr is celebrating today aftpp_tracy_farrer her debut novel The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt was longlisted for the prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award.

Farr said making the longlist was a massive confidence boost while slogging away at the difficult early stages of writing her second novel.

‘It feels like being enveloped in a big, warm, literary and very Australian embrace,’ said Farr.

Farr who comes from Perth but has lived in Wellington for twenty years said it felt like concrete validation that her novel had a place in Australian literature.

‘It’s like being invited to join the gang, after lurking for years on the fringes as an observer,’ cv_the_lives_and_loves_of_lena_gaultshe said.

‘I wonder if my long-listing might contribute, in even a small way, to bridging the gap between the Australian and New Zealand literary scenes, or at least providing a talking point about it,’ said Farr.

This is the second consecutive year that a Fremantle Press title has made the Miles Franklin longlist and the third time since 2011.

Fremantle Press publisher Georgia Richter said it was always a thrill to have novels by new and emerging Western Australian authors receive recognition in Australia’s best-known award.

‘We believe deeply in the books we publish and in the talent of our authors. It’s lovely to see our own belief confirmed by the Miles Franklin, and to enjoy the validation it gives the recipients,’ said Richter.

The judges will announce the shortlist on 15 May. To celebrate the longlist announcement, the Miles Franklin administrators are launching a ‘You be the judge’ poll. This campaign invites readers to don a judge’s hat and select their own shortlist. The poll will be open for the six weeks between longlist and shortlist with novels extracts, synopsis and bio of authors available to help with the readers’ decisions.

For more information go to or tweet your comments @_milesfranklin

The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt by Tracy Farr is available online and from all good bookstores.

To congratulate Tracy send her a tweet @hissingswan or @FremantlePress, hashtag #milesfranklin.


Free events, with Writers Week guests popping up all over Wellington

Book fans will be spoilt for choice withNZF_WritersWeek_front free events this Writers Week, including the 2014 Janet Frame Memorial Lecture.

Celebrated author and illustrator Gavin Bishop will deliver a literary “state of the nation” at the New Zealand Society of Authors 2014 Janet Frame Memorial Lecture (6.15pm, 10 March, City Gallery) as part of 2014 Writers Week. This annual lecture is free, and will discuss the current state of literature and writing in New Zealand. For over 30 years, the lives of children and grown-up children have been shaped by the books of Gavin Bishop. Introduced by Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, Bishop’s lecture will focus on the value, standing and role of illustration in children’s literature.

As a picture book author and artist, Gavin Bishop has published more than 40 books and won numerous awards, including the Margaret Mahy Medal for Services to Children’s Literature in 2000. He has also written for television and the libretti for two children’s ballets for the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Another free event, First Published (6.15pm, 11 March, Meow Café), will feature four exciting new voices on the local literary scene in a session chaired by New Zealand Post Book Award winner Steve Braunias. Fall in love together with the protagonist of Sebastian Hampson’s novel The Train to Paris; marvel at the influence of that extraordinary instrument, the theremin, in Tracy Farr’s fictional biography The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt; and relish the poetry and insights of Irish-born Caoilinn Hughes and recent Michael King Writers’ Centre resident Alice Miller

Local visual art fans and aficionados can enjoy a special screening of The Man in the Hat (7.30pm, 11 March, Film Archive, koha), the documentary portrait of influential Wellington art dealer Peter McLeavey, directed by Luit Beiringa. The film explores McLeavey’s early life and the more than 500 exhibitions he went on to curate from his history-making Cuba Street gallery. Beiringa will introduce the screening and be available afterwards to talk about this extraordinarily influential character.

Other free events during Writers Week, 7-12 March 2014, include:

  • The launch of Where the Rēkohu Bone Sings by Tina Makereti (Random House), 6pm, 6 March, Unity Books
  • Big Ideas for Breakfast: half an hour of lively discussion between Writers Week guests, from 7.45am, 10-12 March, Westpac Festival Club, St James Theatre
  • Many events for Collected Stories of the Odd and Marvellous edited by Adrienne Jansen (Te Papa Press) with stories and workshops for children inspired by weird and wonderful museum objects, 8-9 March, Te Papa
  • A Victoria University Press party and book launch for Gathering Evidence by Caoilinn Hughes and Incomplete Works by Dylan Horrocks, 7.30pm, 8 March, Exchange Atrium
  • A Gecko Press party for visiting authors and book launch for Dappled Annie and the Tigrish by Mary McCallum, 6pm, 9 March, Westpac Festival Hub, St James Theatre
  • The book launch for The Train to Paris by Sebastian Hampson (Text Publishing), 6.15pm, 10 March,The Library Bar

For more details about these events and more visit the New Zealand Festival website:\

Writers Week is supported by Asia New Zealand, Australia Council for the Arts, Canada Council for the Arts, Creative New Zealand, Flemish Literature Fund, Goethe-Institut, Institut Ramon Llull, Lion Foundation, Museum Art Hotel, National Library of New Zealand, New Zealand Book Council, New Zealand Listener, Royal Society of New Zealand, Swedish Arts Council, Unity Books and Victoria University of Wellington.