Happy 135th birthday, Miles Franklin


Google DoodleIf only Stella was still with us to tell us what she thinks of a tech multinational marking her birthday with a “Google doodle”. It’s a lovely tribute to a writer I admire for her pioneering feminisism and national pride, her adventurous spirit and her ability to write dozens of books while pursuing a career because she had to.

Speaking of careers, My Brilliant Career is one of my favourite books of all time. Stella also makes it onto my list of top ten historical figures I’d invite to dinner. She was my maternal grandfather’s first cousin, so we’d have family to talk about as well as books, writing, the country, the city, expat life and ambition.

Oh, and I’d thank her for having the foresight to bequeath to us all a literary prize that has become the country’s most respected award for writers. It raises awareness of a handful of new authors and their works each year, inspiring book clubbers and solo readers alike to pick up Australian works they’d never have noticed otherwise. It also helps those who win it to build on their success. More money means more time to write.

Thanks, Google, for reminding us all about the achievements of Stella, pictured outside one of the family homesteads in your doodle … or is that her most famous creation, the brilliant heroine Sybylla Melvyn?