This 1901 novel was sent to Henry Lawson by its author, Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin. He forwarded it to his own publishers in the UK and wrote a preface for it. He did not know that several characters had been based on the author’s own family. Indeed, the book’s publication embarrassed Miles Franklin so much she withdrew it from publication until after her death.
Clearly the work of a teenage girl, it is an odd, contradictory book – strongly feminist, and with fabulous portrayals of the hard life of the bush, yet with one of the most irritating heroines ever! She fails to have any career at all, let alone a brilliant one. Miles Franklin gave her name and money to an award that now fosters uniquely Australian literature – this lecture looks at what places her own first novel so firmly in that category.
Proudly sponsored by Arab Bank Australia