Shankari Chandran wins 2023 Miles Franklin Literary Award for her novel Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens

Shankari-Chandran-Chai-Time-at-Cinnamon-GardensShankari Chandran has won the prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award for her novel, Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens, published by Ultimo Press.

It’s such an honour to win the Miles Franklin Literary Award, honestly, I’m still in shock. To be recognised among my Australian writing peers in this way is extraordinary,” said Shankari Chandran. “It means so much to me that Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens, a novel that explores what it means to ‘be Australian’, has been recognised in this way.”

Established through the will of My Brilliant Career author, Miles Franklin, for the “advancement, improvement and betterment of Australian literature”, the Miles Franklin Literary Award recognises a novel of “the highest literary merit” that presents “Australian life in any of its phases”. Perpetual serves as Trustee for the Award.

“Since 1957 the Miles Franklin Literary Award has shone a spotlight on not only the wonderful literary talent we have in Australia, but also, the way in which an individual can leave a lasting legacy on a community and an industry,” said Perpetual’s Managing Partner Community, Social and ESG Investment, Caitriona Fay.

“Miles’ will left provision for the foundation of this Award, and more than 65 years later it continues to impact and shape the lives of many.”

Ms Chandran will receive $60,000 in prize money. Her novel was chosen from a shortlist that included Hopeless Kingdom by Kgshak Akec (UWA Publishing), Limberlost by Robbie Arnott (Text Publishing), Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au (Giramondo Publishing), The Lovers by Yumna Kassab (Ultimo Press) and Iris by Fiona Kelly McGregor (Pan Macmillan Australia).

When describing this year’s winning novel, the judges said, “Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens is alive with character, dialogue and action. With enormous skill Chandran recounts a solemn history, largely through a cast of squabbling, endearing elders, and invites us to open our hearts and minds: If you read the literature of a country… you will understand it; you will fall in love with it.”

The 2023 judging panel comprised of author and literary critic, Dr Bernadette Brennan; literary scholar and translator, Dr Mridula Nath Chakraborty; book critic, Dr James Ley; NSW Mitchell Librarian and Chair, Richard Neville; and author and editor, Dr Elfie Shiosaki.

First awarded in 1957, past winners of the Miles Franklin Literary Award have included Patrick White, Randolph Stow, Ruth Park, Thea Astley, Tim Winton, Peter Carey, Anna Funder, Michelle de Kretser, Melissa Lucashenko, Tara June Winch, Amanda Lohrey and Jennifer Down.

For more information about the Miles Franklin Literary Award, visit: For more information about Shankari Chandran, visit: for details.

Image: Shankari Chandran and Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens – courtesy of Ultimo Press