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12 December 2019
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Griffith Magazine

Melissa miles ahead with literary prize

Alumni

Fourth Edition December 2019

Nearly two decades ago, Melissa Lucashenko was a delivery driver in Brisbane’s northern outskirts. Now, the Griffith graduate and Griffith Review contributor is a recipient of Australia’s most prestigious literary prize – the Miles Franklin Award.

‘Too Much Lip’ is Lucashenko’s sixth title of contemporary Aboriginal life. It centres on a character named Kerry Salter, who after avoiding prison and her family for years, is forced to return home to Bundjalung country to deal with a crisis involving Goorie politics and struggles. Race, class, land and family are key motifs for the novel also shortlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize.

“I feel shocked and I feel really pleased to be honest to win such an acclaimed prize,” Ms Lucashenko said.

A graduate of Griffith University with a major in Public Policy, the path to the literary stardom she now holds has been unconventional to say the least.

“I was working as a delivery driver in 1982 and applied to go to Griffith. I had no real concept of what it meant to go to university or how life would change. And here I am 25 years later and I’m a novelist,” Ms Lucaseneko told Griffith Review in a 2013 interview.