Nominated by:

The State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Publisher of nominated edition:

Allen & Unwin, Australia

Coal Creek

Alex Miller      

2015 Longlist

An extraordinarily powerful exploration of tragedy, betrayal, the true nature of friendship and the beauty of lasting love from one of Australia’s most highly acclaimed literary writers.

‘Me and Ben had been mates since we was boys and if it come to it I knew I would have to be on his side.’

Bobby Blue is caught between loyalty to his only friend, Ben Tobin, and his boss, Daniel Collins, the new constable at Mount Hay. ‘Ben was not a big man but he was strong and quick as a snake. He had his own breed of pony that was just like him, stocky and reliable on their feet.’ Bobby understands the people and the ways of Mount Hay; Collins studies the country as an archaeologist might, bringing his coastal values to the hinterland. Bobby says, ‘I do not think Daniel would have understood Ben in a million years.’ Increasingly bewildered and goaded to action by his wife, Constable Collins takes up his shotgun and his Webley pistol to deal with Ben. Bobby’s love for Collins’ wilful young daughter Irie is exposed, leading to tragic consequences for them all.

Miller’s exquisite depictions of the country of the Queensland highlands form the background of this simply told but deeply significant novel of friendship, love, loyalty and the tragic consequences of misunderstanding and mistrust. Coal Creek is a wonderfully satisfying novel with a gratifying resolution. It carries all the wisdom and emotional depth we have come to expect from Miller’s richly evocative novels.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Alex Miller is twice winner of Australia’s premier literary prize, The Miles Franklin Literary Award for The Ancestor Game and Journey to the Stone Country. He is also an overall winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. He won the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction in 2001 for Conditions of Faith and in 2011 for Lovesong. Lovesong also won the People’s Choice Award in the NSW Premier’s Awards, the Age Book of the Year Award and the Age Fiction Prize. Landscape of Farewell won the Chinese Annual Foreign Novels 21st Century Award for Best Novel and the Manning Clark Medal for an outstanding contribution to Australian cultural life. Alex is published internationally and widely in translation and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Librarian’s Comments

Coal Creek was selected by Victoria public librarian vote from a list of nominations complied by the State Library of Victoria.

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