Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin was born in Talbingo in central New South Wales, in 1879. Raised in the country, in a family of diminishing fortunes, she received only a basic education but enough to spark an interest in writing.
By the age of twenty, Franklin had completed her first novel, My Brilliant Career. After it was rejected by local publishers, she sent it to Henry Lawson, who called it ‘the first great Australian novel’. He wrote a preface for it and helped her to get it published in Britain in 1901.
After this success Franklin worked as a domestic servant to gather material for her second novel, My Career Goes Bung, which remained unpublished until 1946.
She moved to Chicago in 1906, where she wrote two novels and worked for the National Women’s Trade Union League. After World War I, she worked in a women’s hospital in England.
Franklin returned to Australia in 1927. The following year she had a hit on her hands with Up the Country, published under the pseudonym Brent of Bin Bin.
Miles Franklin published nineteen novels before her death in 1954. In her will she provided for the creation of the Miles Franklin Award, Australia’s premier literary award.