Cover of the book Last Days of Ava Langdon
Cover of the book Last Days of Ava Langdon
21 June 2017

University of Queensland Press publishing director Madonna Duffy knew she had found “something special” when she first read a manuscript from Mark O’Flynn in 2015.

That manuscript became his novel, The Last Days of Ava Langdon, and was this week named among five books shortlisted for Australia’s premier literary prize – the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

“(The novel’s) empathetic journey into the mind of an eccentric elderly writer and its gorgeous writing about place and ageing and madness made for a reading experience I won’t forget,” Ms Duffy said.

“I’m delighted the Miles Franklin Awards judges have recognised how special it is.”

UQP chief executive Jill EddingtonUQP chief executive Jill Eddington (pictured) said the UQP staff and board were “extremely proud” to have published The Last Days of Ava Langdon.

“To be shortlisted for the Miles Franklin award – what an achievement,” Ms Eddington said.

“It’s a fair bet that Miles Franklin herself would be delighted to see five first-time nominees, each with their own distinct voice and writing style, recognised in this, the 60th year of the awards.

“This demonstrates that independent publishing houses are punching above their weight in terms of supporting quality Australian literature.

Author Mark O'Flynn“The Miles Franklin Literary Award plays an important role in celebrating great Australian books.

“As an independent press, UQP is very proud of this shortlisting, and of UQP’s ongoing place in Australian literary culture as a publisher of great books.”

UQP titles have won the Miles Franklin title twice, been shortlisted five times and longlisted six times.

“UQP titles shortlisted in the past 10 years include Tony Birch’s Blood (2012) and David Brooks’s The Fern Tattoo (2008).

“Tony Birch’s Ghost River was longlisted last year and Melissa Lucashenko’s Mullumbimby was longlisted in 2014.”

Each 2017 shortlisted author gets $5000 from the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. The 2017 winner, to be announced on 7 September, will get $60,000.

Mark O’Flynn (pictured) has published five collections of poems, most recently The Soup’s Song. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in Australian and international journals.

His novels include Grassdogs and The Forgotten World. He has also published the comic memoir False Start and a collection of short fiction, White Light. He lives in the Blue Mountains.

Mark O’Flynn is available for interview.

Media: Sally Belford,, +61 7 3365 2060.