The Miles Franklin Literary Award was established in 1954 with a bequest from the author Miles Franklin and is given to the novel of the year which is of “the highest literary merit and which must present Australian life in any of its phases”. Novels submitted must have been published in the year of entry of the Award.
The shortlist for 2008 included:
The Fern Tattoo by David Brooks
The Time We Have Taken by Steven Carroll
Love Without Hope by Rodney Hall
Sorry by Gail Jones
Landscape of Farewell by Alex Miller
You can read more about each of the shortlisted titles here.
The Time We Have Taken is the third novel in a trilogy about a family living in an outer Melbourne suburb from the 1950s through to 1970. Both the first two novels, The Art of the Engine Driver and The Gift of Speed, were also shortlisted for the Miles Franklin in previous years.
A list of past winners since 1957 can be seen on the Miles Franklin Literary Award page on wikipedia.