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About The Book

While Stella Miles Franklin took on the world, her beloved sister Linda led a short, domestic life as a wife, mother and sister. In a remarkable, genre-bending debut novel Amy Brown thrillingly reimagines those two lives – and her own – to explore and explode the contradictions embedded in brilliant careers and a woman’s place in the world. Sliding Doors meets Wifedom.

Stella Miles Franklin’s autobiographical novel My Brilliant Career launched one of the most famous names in Australian letters. Funny, bold, often biting about its characters, the novel and its young author had a lot in common. Miles went on to live a large, fiercely independent and bohemian life of travel, art and freedom.

Not so her beloved sister Linda. Quiet, contained, conventional, Linda was an inversion of Stella. A family peacemaker who married the man Stella would not, bore a son and died of pneumonia at 25.

In this reflective, witty and revealing novel, Amy Brown rescues Linda, setting her in counterpoint with Stella, and with the lives of two contemporary women: Ida, a writer whose writing life is on hold as she teaches and raises her young daughter; and Stella, a singer-songwriter who has sacrificed everything for a career, now forcibly put on hold. Binding the two is the novella that Linda might have written to her sister Stella – a brilliant alternative vision of My Brilliant Career.

Innovative and involving, My Brilliant Sister is an utterly convincing (and hilarious) portrait of Miles Franklin and a moving, nuanced exploration of the balance women still have to strike between careers and family lives. It gives a fresh take on one of Australia’s most celebrated writers and an insight into life now.

About The Author

Photo credit: Carmen Zammit

Amy Brown is a New Zealand-Australian writer and teacher who lives in Naarm/Melbourne. She has published three collections of poetry, four children’s novels, and completed a PhD at the University of Melbourne. Her poetry, essays and reviews have been published in Australia and New Zealand. In 2022 she was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner Australia (January 31, 2024)
  • Length: 272 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781761424359

Raves and Reviews

‘Reading My Brilliant Sister felt like a private conversation I was having with myself and the one I’ve had with every woman I know many times over … And while many of the questions Brown asks are indeed irresolvable, I couldn’t help but feel like I had arrived somewhere different to where I started. Somewhere more honest and beautiful.’


‘A layered and involving story about womanhood, motherhood and art.’


‘both a novel of ideas and a joy to read’

Saturday Paper

‘a creative triumph’

The Guardian

‘A rich, playful meditation on art, domesticity, wildness and the struggle to be understood – I loved it.’

Emily Perkins, author of Lioness

‘Amy Brown’s impressive debut enters the minds of three women in two different centuries, all shaped by the author Stella “Miles” Franklin, a luminous figure who casts both shadow and light. This is a searing, multi-layered book that not only reflects on female authority and a queasy balance between family and ambition, but also perceptively pries open the ways in which we live our lives through others.’

Alice Miller, author of More Miracle Than Bird

My Brilliant Sister is truly that – brilliant. Amy Brown's writing is superb, and the story is wonderfully told. This novel speaks to both our literary past and our sense of who we are now. While some “careers” remain quiet, they are of vital importance to us.’

Tony Birch, author of Shadowboxing and The White Girl

‘If, like me, you love nothing more than diving into the hearts and minds of the characters in a novel, then My Brilliant Sister is the book for you. This exquisite novel asks big questions – about sisterhood, creativity, who should be considered extraordinary, and what makes a good life – while staying firmly grounded in the compelling voices of three strong women. I was spellbound by each of these subtly interlinked narratives. Amy Brown is a shining star!’

Emily Bitto, Stella Prize winning author of The Strays and Wild Abandon

'My Brilliant Sister is a work of such beauty and truthfulness. It’s also a sustained poetic and political enquiry, which moves effortlessly from the smallest to the largest, and poses irresolvable questions of being and language, with a melancholic lightness of touch.'

Miles Allinson, author of In Moonland

'Gorgeously alive to both the smallest and biggest elements that make up a life, and a nuanced, moving and compelling exploration of the necessary compromises that accompany any woman's attempt to find meaning in work, whether domestic or creative, or – sometimes, somehow, magically – both.'

Ceridwen Dovey, author of Mothertongues and Only the Animals

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