The Miles Franklin Literary Award 2009
On Thursday 18 June at a gala dinner held at the State Library of New South Wales. Tim Winton was announced as the 2009 winner for his novel Breath.
It is twenty-five years ago when Tim won his first Miles Franklin Literary Award for Shallows. This year's win means that he is the only writer ever to have won four times in his own right.
On his win, Tim Winton said that this award has tried to do its part over time to stiffen the resolve and bolster the confidence of Australian writers and by honouring local stories and voices it's contributed to the success our literary culture has enjoyed in recent years.
Commenting on the winner’s novel, the Judging Panel wrote:
“Breath is a searing document about masculinity, about risk, and about young people’s desire to push the limits. Winton is at the height of his powers as a novelist, and this is his greatest love letter yet to the sea, to the coast of West Australia, and a compelling testimony to the role of surfing in Australian culture. Written in Winton’s own distinctive voice, we can sense that it is also a homage to some of his favourite writers: Salinger, Faulkner, Melville and Hemingway. But as we are drawn in by the elemental currents of its narrative and the compelling, wave-like force of events, Breath raises disturbing questions about desire and ‘the damage done’. What lines are crossed during rite’s passage? What ethical constraints affect relations between different generations of men and women? Throughout the novel we hear the scream of wind and storm waves and the distant, siren call of the bombora – surf breaking far out at sea. After ‘so much damage, too much shame’, can there be a going back?”