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Tara June Winch wins the 2020 Miles Franklin Award

Tara June Winch wins the 2020 Miles Franklin Award

Wiradjuri author Tara June Winch has won the 2020 Miles Franklin Award for her novel, The Yield.

Winch won out over five other shortlisted books to take out the final prize.

At the time of the shortlist announcement, The Yield had already won Book of the Year, People’s Choice, and the Christina Stead Prize for fiction at the 2020 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

Since then, the novel also won Adult Fiction Book of the Year at the Australian Booksellers Association 2020 Booksellers Choice Book of the Year Awards, alongside There Was Still Love, by Favel Parrett.

It was also shortlisted for the 2020 Stella Prize.

The novel centres on the story of a young girl who returns home for the funeral of a patriarch, to find her ancestral land is under threat from mining companies.

2020 was the first year in the history of the award to feature two Indigenous authors on its shortlist. Winch said in her acceptance speech that she felt her fellow shortlisted Indigenous author, Tony Birch, deserved to share the accolade with her for his novel, The White Girl. 

She also used the speech to urge people to ‘demand change, for the sake of our past, our present and our possible future.’

The Yield was in high demand following the Black Lives Matter protests that swept across the globe in June of this year.

‘In some ways it’s like speaking into an echo chamber. Readers are on the bandwagon already, in a sense,’ Winch said, reflecting upon the importance of her awards as a platform to discuss change.

‘But then they talk to their family and friends, hopefully, about these issues, and it adds to a groundswell of awakening and learning, and conversation.’

‘It’s a tiny little piece of a wider and greater conversation that I think the country is having in the last few months.’

First awarded in 1957, the literary prize – Australia’s most prestigious – is valued at $60,000.