My Career Goes Bung Written by Stella 'Miles' Franklin, Narrated by Amy Soakes
The perfect companion piece to her earlier work, My Career Goes Bung tells the tale of how My Brilliant Career came into being, as well as what its publication cost its author, and why she withdrew it from publication in 1910 (a situation which persisted until after her death 40 over years later).
First published in 1901, My Brilliant Career, quickly became an Australian Classic. Written when the author was 16, it describes Sybylla Melvyn, an intelligent and feisty young woman growing up in the 1890s in country Australia. Publication quickly brought acclaim, criticism and notoriety to its young author, with most people taking the book to be autobiographical and serious – where Stella had intended it as a satirical work lampooning English romance novels of the day.
So instead, Stella wrote a 'sequel' in which she described how and why 'Sybylla Melvyn' had written a novel, why she regretted doing so and the negative aftermath of its publication; and her adventures in Sydney - including her impressions of Australia's social and literary 'royalty', after accepting an invitation to visit there for several weeks.
With its straight-talking, pro-sexual-equality, socialist ideas; its questioning of the accepted religious and social conventions of the day; and its thinly-disguised portrayals of Sydney socialites and literary figures, no publisher would take on The End of My Career (the original title of My Career Goes Bung), and it was not published until 1945, some 40 years after the original work.
My Career Goes Bung is a fascinating insight into the woman behind My Brilliant Career. Growing up in a poor farming family during years of drought near Goulburn, New South Wales, Stella's father was a brilliant-minded, progressive-thinking man of political aspirations, while her mother was an austere and accomplished woman from an upstanding landholding family. A feminist before the word was even invented, Stella 'Miles' Franklin's work continues as engaging, insightful and relevant reading well over a century after being written.