‘Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens’ by Shankari Chandran is the 2023 Miles Franklin Literary Award winner.

Australian author Shankari Chandran, who is of Sri Lankan descent, had trouble getting her first novel published ten years ago. Publishers believed her book wasn’t “Australian” enough to succeed in their own market, which is why. Chandran has recently been named the 2023 Miles Franklin Literary Award recipient for her book, “Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens.”

A novel “of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases” is granted the Miles Franklin Literary Award each year. The judges for the award this year were poet Elfie Shiosaki, author Bernadette Brennan, translator Mridula Nath Chakraborty, critic James Ley, and Richard Neville, Mitchell librarian and chair of the State Library of NSW.

The bestselling book “Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens” by Chandran is a tale of race, community, and family. It is a cross-generational epic that emphasizes Australia’s challenging and complicated relationship with multiculturalism and the post-colonial traumas. It also emphasizes how our past experiences have shaped who we are today. Chandran’s third book is this one.

In a joint statement, the judges discussed the book and noted that it serves as a reminder that “horrors forgotten are horrors bound to be repeated” and that “the reclamation and retelling of history cannot be undertaken without listening to the storytellers.”
One of Australia’s most esteemed literary honors is the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Tim Winton, Jessica Anderson, Thea Astley, and others have received the honor in the past.

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