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December 22 , 2008

Up the Country

A saga of Pioneering Days


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My Brilliant Career/My Career Goes Bung

Passionate, headstrong and imaginative, Sybylla Melvyn is one of the most endearing heroines of Australian literature. 'I am given to something which a man never pardons in a woman. You will draw away as though I were a snake when you hear.' With this warning, Sybylla confesses to her rich and handsome suitor that she is given to writing stories…

  Miles Franklin (born "Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin"; 1879 – 1954) was an Australian writer and feminist, who is best known for her autobiographical novel, My Brilliant Career, published in 1901. While she wrote throughout her life, her other major literary success, All That Swagger, was not published until 1936.

She was committed to the development of a uniquely Australian form of literature, and she actively pursued this goal by supporting writers, literary journals, and writers' organisations. She has had a long-lasting impact on Australian literary life through her endowment of a major literary award known as the Miles Franklin Award.

  Franklin was born at Talbingo, New South Wales, and grew up in the Brindabella Valley. She was the eldest child of Australian-born parents, John Maurice Franklin and Susannah Margaret Eleanor Franklin, née Lampe. Her family was a member of the squattocracy.

  Her best known novel, My Brilliant Career, tells the story of an irrepressible teenage feminist growing to womanhood in rural New South Wales. This heroine, Sybylla Melvyn, is one of the most endearing characters in Australian literature and obviously has much in common with Franklin herself, who wrote the novel while she was still a teenager. It was published in 1901 with the support of Australian writer, Henry Lawson. After its publication, Franklin tried a career in nursing, and then as a housemaid in Sydney and Melbourne. Whilst doing this she contributed pieces to The Daily Telegraph and The Sydney Morning Herald under the pseudonyms "An Old Bachelor" and "Vernacular." During this period she wrote My Career Goes Bung in which Sybylla encounters the Sydney literary set. The book proved too hot to publish and did not become available to the public until 1946.

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