Stella Miles Franklin was born in the Australian bush and, at the age of twenty-one, became an international publishing sensation with My Brilliant Career. The book struck a chord with women and girls all over the country, and more than a century later is still regarded as an Australian classic.
Miles′ early success gave her entrée to literary and socialist circles in Sydney and Melbourne. There she met Banjo Paterson, the Goldstein sisters, and Joseph Furphy, among others. But by 1906 she had decided to make the bold move to travel overseas, and went to work for the women′s labour movement in Chicago. In 1915 she relocated to London and quickly found herself travelling to the Balkans to help nurse wounded Allied soldiers. Returning to London she worked for various feminist and progressive causes, all the while continuing to write. A prolific author of plays as well as novels and archetypal bush stories, she often submitted work under pseudonyms which she guarded fiercely all her life. In the 1930s she returned to Australia and determined to take up the cause of Australian writers.
Novelist, journalist, nationalist, feminist and larrikin -- Miles Franklin′s was a life of enormous range. And her endowment of the Miles Franklin literary award not only surprised all who knew her, but founded an Australian literary institution which remains our most prestigious literary award.
′To meet Miles Franklin was as invigorating as to ride on a spring morning across the Monaro plains she so dearly loved.′ Henrietta Drake-Brockman
′Roe has written a book that will be invaluable′ -- Canberra Times
′Roe has sleuthed out so much of the detailed background, beyond who she was or what made her write, that we are immersed in a rediscovery not just of Franklin′s life but Franklin′s world ... more than the definitive biography of Australia′s most gregarious literary figure′ -- Weekend Australian
′Roe′s biography is the first to look at the overall picture, to give weight to matters of perspective and context and change′ -- Sydney Morning Herald