Her Brilliant Career

By Alice Spigelman; Moira Blumenthal Productions; directed by Moira Blumenthal; Gallery Room, State Library of NSW; 16 – 19 June, 2022.

Seen : 19 June, 2022

Illustration : website

Presented as a staged reading at the State Library. Performed by James Bean, Annie Byron, Jessica Patterson and Wendy Strehlow. Dramaturg :Tim McGarry

Her Brilliant Career looks through the prism of Miles Franklin’s explosive relationship with her mother, as the play brings to life Miles’ stellar rise to fame as a young girl and why she was never able to repeat that success. We see her refusal to commit to marriage; her years in Chicago working alongside the Suffragettes, and why she had to stay away from Australia for close to 30 years yet remained a trenchant nationalist who joined a nationalist/pro-fascist group on her return. Haunted by poverty and failure, she established the Miles Franklin Award, which remains Australia’s highest literary prize.

The State Library was a home away from home for Miles where she often arranged to have tea with one of the librarians. It was to the State Library that she bequeathed her papers, journals and diaries.