Miles Franklin (October 14, 1879 – September 19, 1954),was an Australian novelist and feminist, born Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin. Her best-known novel, My Brilliant Career, is the story of a teenage girl growing up in Australia eager to break free as her own person. Franklin was only 18 years old when she finished writing it. Though Australian publishers rejected it, it was published in Britain in 1901 under the name Miles Franklin.
Like a small number of other female authors, she wanted to keep her gender a secret from the public so she would be taken more seriously; though a friend had “outed” her as a woman in the introduction of My Brilliant Career.
Life in the U.S.
She soon met and became close with members of the feminist movement, and in 1906 moved to the United States to work with the National Women’s Trade Union League of America.
While in the U.S., she wrote a number of drafts for later works, one of which, Up the Country, was published in 1928. It couldn’t have come at a better time. She and her family were struggling financially, as they were most of their lives, despite her literary successes.
Return to Australia
Franklin returned to Australia in 1932. She wrote a suite of six historical novels set in the Australian bush and published them under the odd pseudonym “Brent of Bin Bin.” During this time, she worried that nothing she did would ever live up to the success of her freshman effort, My Brilliant Career. She wrote under various pseudonyms to protect herself, or so she thought, from bad reviews. All That Swagger was published under her own name in 1936.
Death and legacy
Franklin bequeathed her estate to fund the Miles Franklin Literary Award, given annually to “a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases” In 2016, the award was valued at approximately $60,000 in U.S. Dollars.
She died in September of 1954 in New South Wales, Australia, of a coronary occlusion at the age of 75. A charming Australian film version of My Brilliant Career was released in 1979.
More about Miles Franklin on this site
- My Brilliant Career
- My Career Goes Bung
- The End of My Career
- All That Swagger
- Up the Country
- Some Everyday Fold and Dawn
- Sarah Miles Franklin on Wikipedia
- Miles Franklin Literary Award
- Reader discussion of Miles Franklin books on Goodreads
- Miles Franklin page on Amazon
- Miles Franklin Goulburn: A Self-guided Walking Tour – Goulburn, Australia
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