In November 2011 The Stella Prize was announced, a new annual literary prize for Australian women’s writing. The Stella is our answer to Britain’s women only Orange Prize, and at $50,000 it is even more lucrative. The prize is named after Miles Franklin, or more precisely Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin, for so she was christened.
The majority of readers, writers and publishing professionals in Australia are female. How then, are women so under represented in literary awards? Stella knew the answer.That is why she published works under the gender ambiguous name of Miles Franklin. Her contemporary, Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson, chose the pseudonym Henry Handel Richardson for the same reason. George Eliot, George Sand, Louisa May Alcott (aka A.M. Barnard), the Bronte sisters (aka the Bell brothers) … it’s a long list.