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News & Media > Achievements > Madeleine Watts (2007), shortlisted for 2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award

Madeleine Watts (2007), shortlisted for 2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award

'The Inland Sea', the debut novel of Old Girl Madeline Watts (2007) has been shortlisted for the 2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award, Australia's most prestigious literature prize.
21 Jun 2021

Madeleine’s debut novel "is about coming of age in a dying world and exploring our capacity for harming ourselves, each other, and the world around us. Facing adulthood, the narrator finds that the world around her is coming undone. She works part-time as an emergency dispatch operator, tracking the fires and floods that rage across Australia during an increasingly unstable year. Drinking heavily, sleeping with strangers, she finds herself wandering Sydney's streets late at night as she navigates a troubled affair with an ex-lover. Reckless and adrift, she begins to contemplate leaving." (

At MLC School, Madeleine demonstrated all-round academic excellence and was one of the top high achieving IB students for 2007. While in Year 10, Madeleine co-wrote and co-directed (and designed, produced, cast, lit and promoted) Working Title, a play about a girl whose life slides between reality and the world of movies. Excelsior 2005 described it as an “impressive original work” with “wonderful performances and script”.

Madeleine went on to complete an MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University, NY. Her fiction has been published in The White Review and The Lifted Brow. Her novella, Afraid of Waking It was awarded the 2015 Griffith Review Novella Prize, and her non-fiction has appeared in The Believer and the Los Angeles Review of Books. The Inland Sea is her first novel.

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