In 1901, the new federation of Australia produced its first ever novel (or so history remembers), My Brilliant Career. Written by the teenage Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin – whose attempts to cloak her gender from a sneeringly paternal publishing word were thwarted by the poet Henry Lawson, who outed her as a “little bush girl” in his preface to the book – it was a remarkably radical work to launch the literary form here. Narrated by a young, implacably intelligent woman who will not surrender herself to anyone or anything – even love – Kendall Feaver’s adaptation over a century on still inflames, still aches.

Nikki Shiels and Blazey Best in Belvoir's My Brilliant Career. Photo © Brett Boardman Nikki Shiels and Blazey Best in Belvoir’s  My Brilliant Career. Photo © Brett Boardman

It’s almost dismaying. But if the enduring themes of the story are testament to the work society must yet undertake so that women don’t feel their gender inhibitive to their ambitions, it’s equally a testament to Feaver’s superb revision for modern theatre. Graced by a uniformly excellent cast, Kate Champion’s...

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