BALLARAT author Peter Temple has won Australia's most prestigious literary prize, the Miles Franklin Award.The South African-born writer took home the $42,000 prize money for his novel Truth, the long-awaited sequel to his award-winning book The Broken Shore.A story about contemporary Australian life, Truth brings together murder, corruption, family, friends, honour, honesty, deceit, love, betrayal and truth.Mr Temple said it was a great honour and very unexpected, particularly as he is considered a crime writer."I knew I was in the running for it but I didn't think it would actually happen," he told The Courier shortly after his win."Just to be on the shortlist is really important, I think. The Miles Franklin Award is such an important part of Australian literary life."There's no higher praise to get in Australian writing than that."Mr Temple was one of six writers in the running for the annual literary prize.Alex Miller, Brian Castro, Craig Silvey, Deborah Forster and Sonia Hartnett were also nominated.The award was announced at a dinner at the New South Wales State Library last night. Judge Morag Fraser said Truth was "writing tempered with fire". "It was a controversial and challenging shortlist, accomplished and diverse in ways that made the judges' task extremely difficult," she said. The Miles Franklin Award is given each year for a novel depicting Australian life.