My Brilliant Career was written by Stella Franklin (1879-1954) when she was just nineteen years old. The novel struggled to find an Australian publisher, but was published in London and Edinburgh in 1901 after receiving an endorsement from Henry Lawson. Although Franklin wrote under the pseudonym 'Miles Franklin', Lawson’s preface makes it clear that Franklin is, as Lawson puts it 'a girl.'
The novel relates the story of Sybylla Melvyn, a strong-willed young woman of the 1890s growing up in the Goulburn area of New South Wales and longing to be a writer.
In this introduction to the Text Classics re-issue of My Brilliant Career, Jennifer Byrne writes about Sybylla Melvyn's fury and wonders if Miles Franklin had the sense that she was living in the wrong time. Byrne also discusses the history of the book's reception and the changes wrought by feminism.