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Today, 14 October, marks the day that Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin, better known simply as Miles Franklin, was born in 1879.
Growing up in remote New South Wales formed the background for her most famous work, My Brilliant Career (1901). Other novels include:
· Some Everyday Folk and Dawn (1909)
· Old Blastus of Bandicoot (1931)
· Bring the Monkey (1933)
· All That Swagger (1936)
· Pioneers on Parade (1939) – with Dymphna Cusack
· My Career Goes Bung (1946)
· On Dearborn Street (1981)
She also published novels under the pseudonym ‘Brent of Bin Bin’:
· Up the Country (1928)
· Ten Creeks Run (1930)
· Back to Bool Bool (1931)
· Prelude to Waking (1950)
· Cockatoos (1955)
· Gentleman at Gyang Gyang (1956)
Before becoming more involved in literature, she worked in Sydney as a nurse and as a housemaid. She also spent time in both America and England. Miles was active in the Australian feminist movement, and was involved in the war effort after the outbreak of World War I. She is an author just as famous for her, at the time, unconventional life and attitudes which were much ahead of her time, as she is for her fiction.
In her will, she left a bequest for her estate to establish an annual literary award known as The Miles Franklin Award. It is awarded to “a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases” (Miles Franklin Literary Award)
You can find books about Miles and the Miles Franklin Award on our catalogue, and read some of Miles Franklin’s works here. We also hold a number of interesting items that Miles Franklin donated to us, including the pictured waratah cup and saucer, and correspondence to Henry Lawson. They are listed in our Manuscripts, Oral History and Pictures catalogue.