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Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au is shortlisted for the 2023 Miles Franklin

Jessica Au. Credit: Leah Jing McIntosh

Jessica Au’s novel Cold Enough for Snow has been shortlisted for the 2023 Miles Franklin Literary Award. The announcement was made on 20 June by Perpetual, the body that manages the award.

According to the judging panel: ‘The 2023 Miles shortlist celebrates six works that delve deeply into archives and memory, play confidently with style and structure and strike new grounds in language and form…this is novel-writing at its freshest and boldest.’

Read their comments on Au’s book below.

Based around a finely observed account of a mother and daughter holidaying in Japan, Cold Enough for Snow is an elegant short novel that reflects on the twinned mysteries of life and art. The calm surface of Jessica Au’s superb prose creates a languid, dreamy atmosphere that belies the novel’s true emotional depth. Her narrator’s reflections move fluidly between past and present, summoning a web of memories whose meanings seem at first to be ambiguous and elusive. The acuity and sensitivity with which Au registers the distances between her characters, their small failures of communication, their unspoken feelings of unease, is one of the novel’s triumphs. Au’s uncertain and possibly unreliable narrator is nevertheless ingenuous in her restless desire to understand, a desire that finds its focus in her meditations on the mysteries of art. In an understated way, Cold Enough for Snow is a novel that, in asking questions about the enduring power of art, becomes a subtle reflection on its own process of creation. Its search for an entree into the mysteries of art is a search for a way to capture the disquiet at the novel’s core, to find resonant symbolic expressions of the narrator’s regrets and doubts. Cold Enough for Snow is a sublimely atmospheric novel that considers the transformation that occurs when an experience is drawn into the realms of memory and art; a novel respectful of the fact that when a moment is captured something is preserved, but something is lost.

Au’s book has now won four awards (including the inaugural Novel Prize), been shortlisted for six, and longlisted for three.

The 2023 winner of the Miles Franklin will be announced on 25 July 2023.

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