Sofie Laguna wins the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award with The Eye of the Sheep

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We’re absolutely thrilled that Sofie Laguna has won the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award, with The Eye of the Sheep – huge congratulations to Sofie!

At an award ceremony at the State Library of Victoria, Sofie became the fourth woman in four years to win (including our own Michelle de Kretser in 2013), and was presented the award and the $60,000 prize.

Jane Palfreyman, Sofie’s publisher, said of the win:

We are absolutely thrilled for Sofie, that this beautiful novel will now be read by tens of thousands more readers is the best news possible. It’s a brave, gorgeously written and exhilarating and haunting glimpse into a world that is all too real for many people and unimaginable for many others. If we read to understand the world, this novel will enrich and teach us all.

Sofie on her win

I’m in shock. I’m speechless. I’m thrilled.

It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours for Sofie,  here she is last night talking about her win with ABC’s AM:

 

And here she is on RN Books and Arts program this morning:

 

Sofie Laguna’s The Eye of the Sheep

9781743319598The Eye of the Sheep is Sofie’s second novel, following her debut adult novel One Foot Wrong, which was also longlisted for the Miles Franklin in 2009The book was also shortlisted for this year’s Stella Prize.

The Eye of the Sheep is a haunting tale of a dysfunctional family, complete with alcoholism and violence, told through the sparkling voice of a little boy called Jimmy who shines light and humour on what is a dark story. The story, and thoughts of Jimmy, linger long in the mind for readers who are left with much to ponder.

Judges comments:

Commenting on behalf of the judging panel, State Library of New South Wales Mitchell Librarian, Richard Neville, said:

the power of this finely crafted novel lies in its raw, high-energy, coruscating language which is the world of young Jimmy Flick, who sees everything. But his manic x-ray perceptions don’t correspond with the way others see his world. His older brother understands him some of the time, and his mother almost all of the time, but other people, including his violent father, just see him as difficult.

Weathering successive waves of domestic violence, Jimmy navigates his way through the shoals of alcohol-abuse, illness and tragedy that swamp his parents, and ultimately reaches the possibility of equanimity.

The Eye of the Sheep is an extraordinary novel about love and anger, and how sometimes there is little between them.

Watch Sofie read from The Eye of the Sheep or  hear her further discuss the book on Radio National’s Books and Arts program below, as well as finding an extract to read and more reviews.

 

Reviews of The Eye of the Sheep:

Sofie Laguna’s The Eye of the Sheep captures autistic experience… Laguna has vividly brought to life what it must be like to be a child, and a different kind of child.
– Sydney Morning Herald

This is a novel very much of its time. If the measure of a government and a society is how well it treats its children, its sick and those on the fringes, then Laguna’s characters show the ways we are failing. In harnessing her storytelling facility to expose the flaws in the system with what is becoming trademark empathy, Laguna is an author proving the novel is a crucial document of the times.
The Australian

This book should be impossibly bleak, but Laguna has managed to imbue it with luminosity. This is a story about how to find your place in the world and how to accept what you have been given. The Eye of the Sheep will break your heart – a small price to pay to hear Jimmy’s story.
– Readings Books

About the Miles Franklin Literary Award

The Miles Franklin Literary Award was established in 1957, through the will of writer Stella Miles Franklin, and is presented to a novel of the highest literary merit which represents Australian life.

Past winners from our wonderful authors include Michelle de Kretser’s Questions of Travel in 2013, Andrew McGahan’s The White Earth in 2005, and two wins for Alex Miller with Journey to the Stone Country in 2003 following The Ancestor Game in 1993. Tim Winton, who like 2015 shortlisted author Christine Piper also started his career with The Australian/Vogel’s Award in 1982, has won the Miles Franklin four times since 1984.

More about the Miles Franklin award can be found on their website.

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