Miles Franklin was born and reared on farms in remote parts of New South Wales. These early experiences of a family struggling against an inhospitable land served as the basis for her first and best-known novel, My Brilliant Career (1901). The story of Sybylla Melvyn and her fantastic adventures in colonial Australia was made into a successful film, which brought about a revival of interest in Franklin and her long-forgotten novel; the interest, however, has been directed more toward her feminism than her literary work. Immediately after My Brilliant Career, Franklin wrote My Career Goes Bung (1946), which follows Sybylla's experiences as a successful author. Both of these novels foretell Franklin's lifelong revolt against the roles open to women. Through her literary and feminist contacts after the success of My Brilliant Career, Franklin found work as a freelance writer in Sydney before going to the United States in 1905, where she remained for nine years. In Chicago, she engaged in social work and suffragist activity for the National Women's Trade Union League. In 1927, she returned permanently to Australia, where she continued to write. Under the pseudonym "Brent of Bin Bin," she published six novels depicting Australian bush life, but they were never particularly successful. It has been pointed out that by the 1930s Australian fiction was changing, taking up new topics and moving away from realistic accounts of colonial life. Franklin's tireless promotion of Australian writing through her criticism and active involvement in literary circles, along with her feminist activities, make her an important figure in Australian literature, even though much of her work is of more historical significance than literary. Following her death in 1954, the Miles Franklin Award for Fiction was instituted to be given to a novelist whose work authentically represents Australian life. (Bowker Author Biography)
— biography from My Brilliant Career… (more)
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Miles Franklin's autobiographical first novel, "My Brilliant Career," written when she was 16, was hailed as the first uniquely Australian novel when it was published in 1901. She continued writing while doing hospital and social work in the US, UK and Serbia and working for women's suffrage. In her will, she endowed the Miles Franklin Literary Award, an annual literary prize given for "the best Australian published novel or play portraying Australian life in any of its phases."
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