“They say any fool can get married but it takes a devilish clever woman to remain an old maid.”

Renowned author and life-long single woman Stella Miles Franklin put those words into the mouth of the heroine of one of her many novels. Franklin was born in 1879, and Australia’s most prestigious literary prize was named for her.

I wish I could say that I’ve known this for decades. In fact, I just learned it yesterday, thanks to Kay Trimberger, who sent me a review of Jill Roe’s 2009 book, Her Brilliant Career: The Life of Stella Miles Franklin. In The Women’s Review of Books, Kerryn Higgs says this about Franklin:

“She wrote a great number of other novels…as well as plays, sketches, and newspaper columns, but My Brilliant Career was her most enduring contribution to the Australian canon. The story of a headstrong girl who refuses her suitor, the book regained popularity during the second wave of feminism in the 1970s.”

There’s also a 1979 movie based on the book. It has the same title, My Brilliant Career. Has anyone seen it?

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