Official Web Site of the Janet Frame Literary Trust


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News and Announcements


Frequently updated news and views from Janet Frame's estate

plus news of latest releases

will now be posted on the blog:


An Angel @ My Blog


REAL NZ Festival: Explore the Janet Frame House in Oamaru


Janet Frame's childhood home at 56 Eden Street, Oamaru will be open early this year and for an extra hour every day - from the 9th of September, 1pm to 4 pm daily, thanks to support from the REAL NZ Festival associated with the Rugby World Cup 2011:


The Friends of the Janet Frame House have also produced a series of attractive book marks celebrating Janet Frame's writing and with illustrations of features of the former Frame house. The book marks will be available at the house.


Friends of the Janet Frame House Website


The Friends of the Janet Frame House in Oamaru ("The Janet Frame Eden Street Trust") have a new website:


Recent books on Janet Frame written by academics


Chasing Butterflies: Janet Frame's The Lagoon and Other Stories Vanessa Guignery  (Publibook 2011)


Janet Frame: Short Fiction edited by Marta Dvorak & Christine Lorre (Commonwealth Essays & Studies 33.2 Spring 2011)


The Frame Function: An inside-out Guide to the Novels of Janet Frame Jan Cronin (Auckland University Press 2011)


Janet Frame (Writers and Their Work) Claire Bazin (Northcote 2011)


Janet Frame: Semiotics and Biosemiotics in Her Early Fiction Matthew St Pierre (Rowman & Littlefied 2011)


The Lagoon and Other Stories: Naissance d’une Œuvre Claire Bazin & Alice Braun (Presses Universitaires de France 2010)


Janet Frame: The Lagoon and Other Stories Ivane Mortelette (Atlande 2010)


Frameworks: Contemporary Criticism on Janet Frame edited by Jan Cronin & Simone Drichel (Rodopi 2009)



2011 Janet Frame Literary Award for Poetry


Has been awarded to poet and printer Alan Loney. See the Awards page for more details about Alan Loney and the other recipients of the awards.

28 August 2011



Penguin NZ Acquires 3 New Janet Frame Titles


Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Press Release: Penguin Group NZ


Penguin NZ has acquired the rights to publish the first non-fiction book by Janet Frame for 25 years, as well as two new works of fiction.


For the first time ever, all of Janet Frame’s published short non-fiction will be brought together in a new collected volume. Published essays, reviews and reports will feature alongside speeches and extracts from interviews. The work also includes published letters spanning 50 years of Frame’s life and passages from her personal correspondence.


Pamela Gordon of the Janet Frame Literary Trust says: “The whole effect is to provide a kind of manifesto of one writer's life."


"Our hope is that this collection of non-fiction writings and speeches and interviews will challenge the many inaccuracies about Janet Frame that are disseminated even by apparently reputable sources,” said Gordon.


Penguin will publish the non-fiction collection at the end of 2011, and has acquired the rights also to publish two new fiction titles.


The first fiction work will be a volume of previously uncollected short stories, as well as some unpublished stories. The second work is an adult fable written by Frame in Ibiza during the 1950s. It is the first publication of material written by Frame when she lived on Ibiza, where she had her first profound romantic encounter.


“We are absolutely delighted to be able to offer these three new works by arguably New Zealand’s best known writer. Very few Janet Frame works have been published since her death in 2004, and Penguin is honoured to be publishing these new works now.” (Debra Millar, Penguin NZ's General Manager of Publishing.)



Gifted by Patrick Evans: A review


I’d like to think my book is a sort of consummation of what she [was] trying to do …

 having been so intimate with her work [Gifted is] her work, it’s her last novel... 1

(Patrick Evans, October 2010)


Patrick Evans’ forty year long urge to mine Janet Frame’s genius and reputation reaches its climax in this publication. Readers who do not recognise Evans' agenda risk buying into it, not understanding why and how this novel fails. His characterisation of the character he names Janet Frame is incoherent.


Evans’ ‘Janet Frame’ is an illogical cipher, a nonhuman figurine that morphs between the bodiless and the ineffable (a cruel distant person who turns away from human distress), a nebulously crazy person (a creature sometimes living in a hedge), and the dully mundane (a homely knitter). To pretend that this ragbag of descriptions represents the actual Janet Frame is a travesty and, if she were alive, a slander.


Evans inverts the real Janet Frame in many ways. He invents a Frame who denies her past, namely her experience in mental hospitals; who has no sympathy with Sargeson’s lover Harry Doyle, and who recoils from human distress. These inventions (and there are more) are lies. Frame was upfront about her experience: she was good friends with Harry Doyle, and she had great compassion for the messiness of the human condition in her work as well as in her life. She worked as a nursemaid in an old folks home prior to staying at Sargeson’s place, for example.


Commentators so far have either not understood, or have overlooked, the unusual appropriation of Frame’s name (and Sargeson’s) . To graft your own obsessions onto a recently living person, deliberately undermining facts of that person’s life, creating your own fictional character but giving it the name of the recently dead person is strange behaviour.


Only four years after Frame’s death, Evans advertised in the quarterly journal New Zealand Books asking for anecdotes about Frame:


I am compiling a collection of anecdotes and urban legends about the late Janet Frame and her family members... I am particularly interested in stories that are untrue, and stories which she knew to be untrue, but am keen to receive any other information. Truth should be no obstacle to contributors. 2


 He seemed to be planning some exploitation of her, a miscellany of half-truths and myths – a ‘Frameana’. But then he seems to have hit on the idea of purging his obsessions about Frame by writing a ‘novel’, thus hoping to avoid infringing copyright and the dangers of ‘false attribution’ and ‘derogatory treatment’, which are aspects of copyright law that continue in force after the death of an author.


The Sargeson character is similarly a caricature of the human Sargeson. Evans' pastiche of Sargeson’s later prose style with equivocations and fusty phraseology wears thin as a literary exercise; it is a diminution of the actual Sargeson at his incisive, crystalline best. Arguably, one of the few aspects of Gifted that works is the fictional portrait of Sargeson’s lover Harry Doyle, of whom few people know anything. Evans shows empathy in his creation of a gay romance. Some commentators regard this aspect of the novel as the most successful.


Frame was not disembodied like Evans' fantasy figure, which serves only his own private obsessions and which resonates with those who have created their own fantasy Frame, often derived from the simpering portrayal by the actor Kerry Fox in Jane Campion’s interpretation of Frame’s autobiography, An Angel at My Table. Campion admitted she was working out some of her own personal issues in the film, particularly to do with her mother, and these colour the film to such an extent that it is as much about Campion as it is about Frame.


Evans has been frustrated his whole career by Frame. He has long sought to question her agency. What has driven his fascination with Frame’s biography? One clue is that he is a self avowed masculinist, and his previous novel that came out more than twenty years ago stinks of literary testosterone: one of the main characters is a talking penis. Two decades ago Frame scholar Gina Mercer brilliantly analysed Evans' masculinist approach to Frame, teasing out the consequence of his approach, the violation that results from swaggeringly and doggedly questioning Frame’s integrity and self-determination (which in Gifted leads Evans to change the facts of Frame’s life and character so that they accord with his ‘Janet’).


Here is a trenchant example of Mercer’s exposure of Evans:


In these writings [on Frame’s Autobiography] of Garebian, Simpson and Evans I detect common feelings, along the spectrum of anger, frustration and suspicion. These three masculinist critics have energetically attempted to “penetrate” (their term) the work of Janet Frame, some of them have been determinedly at it for years. When the autobiographies were published, perhaps they were hoping for the ultimate “show and tell”, a strip show providing complete accessibility, hoping that Frame would reveal all. 3


Many years ago, Frame protested to Evans about his pursuit of her and his errors :


Perhaps you feel that inaccuracies of fact don’t matter? … Perhaps you feel that writers should inhabit as well as write their fiction? 4


Evans thought that Frame’s rebuffing of, and distaste for, his pursuit of her life, a life he also chose to see embedded in her fiction, was because he was “getting close to some kind of uncomfortable aboriginal truth, some skeleton in the oedipal closet”.5 This is his make-believe.


Two of the main aspects of Frame’s life and work escape Evans: the centrality of poetry to her imagination, and the aptness and precision of her own definition of imagination, most clearly presented in the third volume of her autobiography, The Envoy from Mirror City. Frame often claimed she was not writing conventional fiction but imaginative explorations, conveyed in language employing many of the nuances of poetry. The rich ambiguity and indeterminacy of such powerful and successful prose-poetry stumps the simple-minded approach of Evans. Rather than finding poetry in Frame, he finds annoying puzzles that need to be solved, her oeuvre a gigantic crossword puzzle cold-bloodedly constructed and needing to be as cold-bloodedly worked out, each clue to be tracked down – the perfect career project for an academic. Evans pursues clues in Frame’s texts by fossicking through her biography, and if he can’t find the smoking gun in her life he invents it – for example he invents the fiction that there must have been physical violence, and worse, in Frame’s childhood (– it has to be true, there are so many clues!).


Evans’ motif of inane cryptic clues in Gifted is a pointer to one aspect of his wrongheaded obsessiveness. His projection of Frame’s very occasional word-games onto the period she spent in Sargeson’s hut, and his elaboration of this motif into a dominant philosophical position of Frame in regard to reality (or is that language) reads like the meanderings of an undergraduate seminar.


A recent book of essays by various Frame scholars on Frame’s works, Frameworks, refers to:


“the old occultist urge to crack codes” … [has] more often than not been regarded as the downfall of otherwise promising Frame criticism, and this knowledge tends to stay the impulse to focus on the features of Frame’s work that inspired Worthington’s [and Evans’] “cryptic crossword” analogy. The alternative to the code-cracking trajectory has been criticism that adopted Frame’s own preference for the term “exploration” in place of “novel” and portrayed Frame’s texts as fluid and largely indeterminate. I am thinking specifically here of Gina Mercer’s sensitive Frame criticism in the 1990s … 6


Evans preposterously claims in a recent online interview with one of his students that rather than creating a portrait of Frame he is “channeling Janet”, and that he achieves what she sought to achieve but failed to – the capturing of ‘reality’ in language. His overall and simple-minded characterising of Frame as someone who did not accept ordinary everyday reality but who retreated into a bloodless condition of seeking reality in language rather than using language as a means of engaging with reality is a travesty of her rich humanity that was evident not only to her friends, family and colleagues, but is an insight available to all readers who are open to her writing.


Evans’ ruminations in the online interview are an example of a rhetoric he has developed that, especially in regard to Frame, is a wild mix of speculation, provocation, equivocation and contradiction:


Everything I write is about masculinity … All the time Frame was trying to find a language that was reality … [Gifted is] primarily about Frame’s theory of language, and I wanted to write something wherein the reader could actually experience what she never gave us to experience, which is the moment when language incarnates reality. … I’d like to think my book is a sort of consummation of what she [was] trying to do … having been so intimate with her work [Gifted is] her work, it’s her last novel… 7


Not only does Evans fail in his novel to achieve some creative epiphany – a fanciful fusion of reality with language – he fails to ‘capture’ Frame. His appropriation of her name and then wilful distortion of many of the facts of her life to suit the obscure thesis of his novel is, at least, extremely unethical.


A further passage of Mercer’s, written almost 20 years ago, on Evan’s attitude to Frame’s Autobiography, prophetically analyses the misappropriation and misrepresentation of Frame that Evans enacts in Gifted:


Evans chastises Frame for her ability to realistically evoke the events of her life. Her worst crime for him is that she can “convince … readers that the events she described had actually taken place”. Did they not? How does he know? Perhaps he’s smarting because Frame’s version of her life doesn’t totally tally with his earlier unauthorised version [his 1977 book on Frame]. And not only can she write more convincingly, but she will be presumed by readers to have superior powers of truth-telling when it comes to the facts of her own life. In his own strange and autobiographical piece about Frame’s autobiographies this is one subtext to be detected. He seems to feel really furious with her for daring to reclaim and control the story/history of “her life”, to make it “available to us … in her own terms”, to “possess” and deliver it in a manner of “her own devising”. 8


Complicit with Evans is his publisher Fergus Barrowman of Victoria University Press, who only months prior to the publication of Evans’ novel expressed public outrage at C.K. Stead's prize-winning short story, which Barrowman read, as did many people, as an attack on the memory of Barrowman’s dear departed friend, Nigel Cox, an author published by VUP. (Stead, actually, did not use the name Nigel Cox for his character and denied the story was based on Cox.) After Barrowman’s protestations of outrage in defense of his friend, what consistency then does he show in publishing a novel that so grossly misrepresents the recently dead Janet Frame?



By D. Harold


Posted 15 February 2011





1 Evans in interview on Kea and Cattle Blog, 24 October 2010


2 New Zealand Books 18:1 Issue 81, Autumn 2008


3 Gina Mercer, Janet Frame: Subversive Fictions, University of Otago Press: Dunedin, 1994, 230


4 Frame letter to Evans, 14 May 1978, cited in M. King, Wrestling with the Angel, Penguin: Auckland, 2000, 419


5 Evans, “The Case of the Disappearing Author”, Journal of New Zealand Literature, 1993


6 Frameworks, eds J. Cronin and S. Drichel, Otago University Press: Dunedin, 2010, 4


7 Kea and Cattle Blog


8 Mercer, 231




Dear Charles Dear Janet: Frame & Brasch in Correspondence


The latest release from the Janet Frame Estate has been published by  the University of Auckland's Holloway Press. The book contains an edited selection of the correspondence between Janet Frame and her friend, editor and patron Charles Brasch.

(16,000 words, 61 pages, including a photograph and facsimiles)


The text was selected and edited by Frame executors Pamela Gordon and Denis Harold, and builds on the material successfully performed by several readers at the 2009 Auckland Writers and Readers Festival.


The fine edition of 150 numbered copies has been designed and letterpress printed by Tara McLeod. Price NZ $250. Further information and an order form can be found at the publisher's web site:


The book has been reviewed by Isabel Michell for the New Zealand Listener: Parallel Lives

"Frame and Brasch corresponded for 24 years. Their letters leaven the professional with the personal, noting books written and read, music heard and films seen; news of friends and places in common; assurances of general well-being; as well as matters regarding their respective work."


"Most wonderful are the incidental details: “the budding broom and gorse” in Dunedin; “a seal, a penguin, and a tiny hedgehog” on Pipikariti Beach; “the exotic waves of people and traffic” in London; the “spectacle of the surrounding fire of maple, birch” at the MacDowell Colony in North America – building up a picture of lives lived in parallel attentiveness."


A review by Gordon McLauchlan also appeared in the New Zealand Herald: Book review


" I enjoyed this engaging book for what it contained, instructive as it is about both personalities, and for the craftsmanship of the people involved in making it. It has an attractive, linen-finished cover, and a clear typeface on lovely paper; so it looks good, feels good and smells good. A beautiful example of the book as artefact."


"At one stage in their 20-year association Frame writes about Brasch to her close American friend, Bill Brown, and describes him as "a noble, upright old man with discipline instead of marrow in his bones". But you find out when he dies, from her beautifully expressed grief, how much his support and muted affection had come to mean to her."


The text of the speech given by Elizabeth Smither at the 26 August Launch in Auckland:


"The progression of this friendship, inside this elegant book, is a real treasure"


"Everything Charles writes about Janet is true: ‘She is so quick, receptive, all her antennae alive, aware’ and everything Janet writes about Charles is the same: ‘When I was leaving and Charles saw it was raining he said innocently, - Would you like a coat? I can give you a coat!"




 CK Stead apologizes for using Janet Frame's work without permission



"C K Stead, author of South-West of Eden, and its publisher, Auckland University Press, regret quoting from the work of Janet Frame without permission and apologise to the Janet Frame Literary Trust for doing so."


~ Auckland University Press Website,

(retrieved 25 June 2010)


A review by Frame trustee D. Harold:


C K Stead has included an unpublished poem by Janet Frame, and other works by her, all without permission, in his recent memoir. Stead also selectively quotes from a Frame letter so that the meaning of the letter is seriously misrepresented.


Stead has apologized for using Frame’s work without permission after her estate took legal proceedings to seek an injunction against him and his publisher, Auckland University Press. He also has agreed to exclude the unpublished poem from any future edition, and either restore a missing part of a sentence to the extract from the letter, or else exclude the letter entirely.


These are the main facts of the matter, but underlying them are the issues of motives and effects. Why does Stead use Frame’s work in this way, and how does his use of her work enhance his memoir?


Stead uses two of Frame’s poems as a basis on which to make judgments about her, but he then denies the poems are unequivocally hers.


A memoir by its nature is emotional writing, an author having their say about their life and times, but nevertheless the reader expects honesty.


Stead in his portrait of Frame, which is a major aspect of the last section of the memoir, uses all his rhetorical skills to create an atmosphere that will support his summing up of Frame as someone “who rejected the whole human order”, and whose work was “structureless, directionless”, which “offered not hope but a black hole”.


The two Frame poems that Stead uses in order to carry out his ‘analysis’ of Frame are exceedingly minor works – one poem Frame chose never to publish and the other she withdrew from publication. Where is the academic rigour in this use by Stead of trivial Frame works to represent what he claims are her failings as a person and a writer? Surely if he wanted to give a genuine estimation of Frame, he would have used work that truly represented her?


But of course this is a memoir and not a critical work, so therefore ‘fair dealing’ for the purposes of criticism or review is not Stead’s intention. He wants to characterize Frame as childlike, nervous, and strange (“there was something intangible”), and interweave these observations with his demeaning comments on the two poems.


Santie Cross


The unpublished Frame poem that Stead has published without permission is derived almost word for word from the stream of consciousness prose poetry on the first page of Frame’s novel, Owls Do Cry. Frame, egged on by Frank Sargeson, recast this passage into a ‘hoax’ poem that she sent under the pseudonym ‘Santie Cross’ to a London literary magazine, which turned it down. Frame then chose never to publish the poem. After her death her estate refused permission for the display of a manuscript of the poem in an exhibition curated by Jenny Bornholdt and Greg O’Brien, at the Turnbull Library in Wellington. Frame and her estate have always considered this ‘poem’ a curiosity piece, unpublishable unless explained within the context of its genesis.


The poem is solely by Frame. She describes the story behind it in her autobiography (chapter 23 of the second volume, An Angel at My Table), as does Michael King in his biography of Frame (chapter 8). In neither book, tellingly, did Frame allow the poem to be published, either whole or in part.


Not only does Stead deny that his publication of this poem is an infringement of Janet Frame’s copyright, he has the effrontery to deny that the poem is Frame’s. On page 316 of his memoir, Stead claims that it was Sargeson who composed the poem by extracting lines from the opening pages (“shown to him” by Frame) of Owls Do Cry and typing them as a poem. The law firm representing Auckland University Press later reiterated this claim in a letter to the Frame estate’s lawyer, Rick Shera, on 21 May 2010.


Stead found a copy of this poem at the Hocken Library in Dunedin pinned to a letter Sargeson wrote to Charles Brasch. There is also a manuscript copy in Frame’s own papers, and there is a third typed copy (signed "Janet") in the Sargeson papers at the Turnbull Library.


In reproducing the poem, Stead has introduced an error. He has added the word 'the' to the line “it said to plant”, which he renders as “it said to the plant” thereby changing the word 'plant' from a verb to a noun and therefore serving to reinforce his allegation that the poem has “no structure, no shape”. Stead goes on to make the amazing leap from his dismissive judgment of the poem to the intellectually untenable conclusion that this off-the-cuff ‘hoax’ of a poem is a fair representation of Frame’s poetry, that like this poem her work as a whole has “no structure, no shape”:


“It had no structure, no shape, but it was full of striking imagery and flashes of brilliance. That is what I thought; and I suppose, it is almost true to say, that is what I would go on thinking about the work of Janet Frame.” [page 315 of Stead’s memoir]


But wait! We have already heard Stead’s claim that this poem is not the work of Janet Frame. Therefore, how can it represent her?


Our Town


To develop his thesis in regard to both Frame and her work, Stead then goes on to quote, without permission, from a Frame poem called “Our Town”. This poem is composed of lines from poems by other poets, and is the result of a literary game similar to one played at Sargeson’s house. The poem was accidentally included in Frame’s only collection published in her lifetime, The Pocket Mirror (1967), and in 1992 she withdrew it from subsequent editions because in itself the poem infringed the copyright of other authors. As of 2010 the poem "Our Town" that Stead claims to subject to 'fair dealing' "for the purposes of criticism or review" has been thus withdrawn from circulation and removed from Frame's canon by her own hand, for nearly 20 years.


“Our Town” is solely by Frame. Stead acknowledges this in his 2002 book Kin of Place on page 275:


“she has taken [the first lines of poems] from what would have been, at a date prior to 1967, a modern anthology. The lines are managed, nudged, manoeuvred towards a recognizable Janet Frame statement about ‘our town’,”


But now in 2010, Stead amazingly claims that he, his wife and Sargeson had a hand in composing the poem. Again we see Stead’s attempt to blur ownership. And again we see the curious double-think, the contradiction, that if this is not unequivocally a Frame work then how can it represent Frame?


Stead cobbles together ten lines from “Our Town” and inserts them into his evolving pattern of innuendo, which climaxes with his observation that Frame was someone:


“who rejected the whole human order, and whose work, structureless, directionless, brilliant, with flashes of genius, offered not hope but a black hole.” [page 318 of Stead’s memoir]


Saying that Janet Frame “rejected the whole human order” is absurd, an insult to her memory, her family, her friends, to all who knew her and loved her, an insult to truth. Frame’s work is not “structureless, directionless”, as the countless scholarly studies of her work affirm, not to mention her growing international readership. The only black hole is that of envy and revenge, the black hole of being the last man standing, attempting the last word:


“when you’re writing about such a long time ago there is in a way the advantage that so many people are dead and can’t quarrel with your view” [Stead speaking to Chris Laidlaw on his “Sunday Morning” programme on Radio New Zealand National on Sunday May 16, 2010]


The Letter


Just a few pages from the end of his memoir, Stead performs his last act of turning Frame’s own work against her. Stead, by his use of selective quotes from a letter Frame wrote to him creates the impression that she confirmed his claim that her story “The Triumph of Poetry” was “targeted” at him.


Stead selectively quotes from the letter, leaving out vital parts so that he represents Frame as saying the opposite of what she is really saying.


This is the final sentence from Stead’s extraction from the letter:


But I want you and Kay to understand that I’ve never felt any malice towards you.


Stead actually ends his extraction midway through a sentence (and in the process changes a comma into a full-stop). He leaves out Frame’s categorical statement that the story is not about Stead and his wife. This is what Frame wrote:


But I want you and Kay to understand that I’ve never felt any malice towards you, that the poet of the story is a certain elderly Scotsman who is now living in Dunedin, dividing his time between his garden and Shakespeare.


Not only does Stead use Frame’s work without permission, but, Janet Frame’s estate contends, also infringes Frame’s moral right (that continues for twenty years after death) not to have a statement falsely attributed to her.




In the second to last paragraph of his memoir, Stead inserts an adjective lifted from the unpublished Frame poem that he has published, echoing Frame’s “pepperpot breast of thrush” with his phrase, “pepperpot lighthouse”. His intention is perhaps to create the subliminal impression, “it is almost true to say”, of how a ‘real’ poet uses language.


According to Stead, Sargeson “revered the great poets, and would like best of all to have been a poet himself. (The same was true of Janet Frame).”


Yes, Mr Stead, Janet Frame would have liked best of all to have been a poet herself. She revered the great poets, and is one.


Janet Frame’s estate initiated legal proceedings against Stead and his publisher, who have agreed to apologise for using Frame’s work without permission. They have also agreed to exclude the unpublished poem from any further edition. Also, if Stead wishes to continue quoting from the letter, he has agreed to include the omitted clause.


There is more that could be said on Stead’s machinations in regard to Frame in this memoir.


D. Harold


Janet Frame Literary Trust

25 June 2010


Link to news item: "CK Stead settles dispute with Frame's trust" New Zealand Herald 25 June 2010


 $85k for 85th birthday


A total of $85,000 has been gifted to NZ authors by Janet Frame's estate since the inaugural award ceremony in 2005.


Two awards worth $10,000 each were announced to commemorate Janet Frame's 85th birthday on the 28th August 2009. The 2009 recipients were Geoff Cochrane (Janet Frame Award for Poetry) and Alison Wong (Janet Frame Award for Fiction).


Geoff Cochrane and Alison Wong are highly regarded for their poetry as well as for their fiction, as of course was Janet Frame.

- 31 August 2009


Virago releases UK paperback edition of TOWARDS ANOTHER SUMMER


One year after the successful first UK/Canada publication of Virago's hard cover edition of Towards Another Summer, an attractive paperback edition has been released. The novel attracted stunning reviews in the UK and the verdict was unanimous that "this is no literary curiosity but a deeply rewarding and beautiful novel" (Hilary Mantel in the Guardian).


- 1 July 2009


Major Review of TAS in the New York Times


Except for “David Copperfield,” few novels have rendered a child’s viewpoint more convincingly and affectionately (David Gates)



On the 14th May 2009 a significant review of Janet Frame's novel Towards Another Summer appeared in the New York Times Book Review.


The NYTBR reviewer David Gates is one of a very few reviewers of this book who has intuited that the reason Frame considered this book (written in 1963) "too personal" to publish in her lifetime, was not because it revealed any shocking or new fact about herself, but because, being autobiographical in nature, it was inspired by some real life events that were not disguised, and she probably did not want to over-expose friends and family who could be identified as the basis for some of her fictional characters.


It is worth remembering that Frame herself took pains to distinguish between "autobiographical" prose (a fiction that draws on the experiences and observations of the author, but alters and enhances these true-life facts if not beyond recognition, then beyond any ability to identify which aspects are "real" and which are "invented") and "autobiography" which is an attempt to chronicle the author's experiences as truthfully as possible. Frame's uncanny imaginative ability to evoke an authentic sense of character and human interaction in her fiction, has led to these two genres becoming blurred in some commentators' minds, to the extent that her fiction is searched and scanned obsessively for signs and symptoms of the "real" Janet Frame, while in contrast, the revelations about her life that are contained in her memoirs are dismissed as "made up".


The excellent NYT review contains a timely critique of the extent to which Frame's sanity "became, and continues to be, the subject of tedious and condescending debate — as does the degree to which her fiction was autobiographical".


- 17 May 2009


"A Great Good Man"


This exhibition of archeological and other treasures donated by Charles Brasch and his family to Dunedin's Otago Museum is named for Janet Frame's description of her friend, editor and patron Charles Brasch as "A Great Good Man".


 Can you hear me, Whangaparaoa?


On Friday the 15th May at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival the Janet Frame executors presented the première of a tribute session in honour of Charles Brasch's 100th anniversary in 2009.


 Can you hear me, Whangaparaoa?


A programme of readings from unpublished correspondence

between Janet Frame and Charles Brasch


Selected by Janet Frame Estate executors Pamela Gordon and Denis Harold


A hundredth birthday celebration of Charles Brasch

poet, editor, arts philanthropist

1909 – 1973


Lower NZI Room, Aotea Centre

1.30 pm - 2.30 pm

Friday 15 May 2009



Stella McKay, Tim Kerr

Hannah Taylor, Cameron McLachlan

Pamela Gordon, Peter Simpson



Alan Roddick, Charles Brasch Estate

Pennsylvania State University Libraries, Hocken Collections

Jenny McLeod, Radio New Zealand Concert

Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir, New Zealand String Quartet

Auckland Writers and Readers Festival



The text of this programme consisted entirely of passages written by Janet Frame and Charles Brasch, sourced mostly from their unpublished letters. The readings portrayed the relationship between Frame and Brasch, and ranged from their early correspondence concerning Frame's submissions to Landfall in the 1940s, to Frame's reminiscences about Brasch after his death in 1973. "Can you hear me, Whangaparaoa?" is the first line of a poem Brasch dedicated to Frame on his deathbed. The readings were selected by Frame executors Pamela Gordon and Denis Harold with the cooperation of Brasch executor Alan Roddick.


The capacity audience was receptive and full of praise for the event afterwards. Some glowing reviews of the performance:





Janet Frame's posthumously published novel Towards Another Summer (first published in Australia and New Zealand in 2007; published in the UK, Canada, and in Spanish translation in 2008) was released in the USA by Counterpoint Press.

Never published during her lifetime, Janet Frame’s novel asks the universal question: How do we make ourselves at home in the world?


“In this deeply personal novel of exile and loneliness,

Janet Frame proves the master of nostalgia, beauty, and loss.

Frame is, and will remain, divine.”

(Alice Sebold)


COUNTERPOINT | 978-1-58243-476-6 | Cloth | $24.00


- April 2009


Charles Brasch Centenary 2009


2009 marks 100 years since the birth of Janet Frame's friend the NZ poet, editor, and arts patron Charles Brasch (1909 - 1973). Many activities have been planned to commemorate this self-effacing man who did most of his acts of extraordinarily generous philanthropy under a veil of secrecy.



Radio France programme on Janet Frame


A programme on Janet Frame's life and work is to air on Radio France on Saturday the 14th February 2009 from 3 to 4 pm (local time).


- 9 February 2009


Introduction to UK edition of FACES IN THE WATER not to be missed



Novelist Hilary Mantel's introduction to the new UK edition of Faces in the Water is not to be missed. It is a brilliant, moving and perceptive introduction to this classic work of literature (the only work by a New Zealand author to feature in the popular list 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die).


The new edition of Faces in the Water is to be released in March 2009 by Virago Press.







A book launch is to be held at the University Book Shop, Dunedin, at 6 pm on the 24th February 2009. The book, to be released by Random House New Zealand will be launched by Emeritus Professor Jocelyn Harris.


Prizes is a new selection from all Janet Frame's published stories, and includes several previously uncollected stories. It also features an introduction by Ian Richards, Associate Professor of English at Osaka University, author of Dark sneaks in : essays on the short fiction of Janet Frame (2004).




 Spanish translation first out of the gate



Announcing the publication of the first of the foreign translations of Towards Another Summer: the Spanish Hacia Otro Verano.


The Spanish publisher Seix Barral has also reissued the Spanish translation of Frame's autobiography Un ángel en mi mesa in an omnibus edition.



Owls Do Cry to be available as an MP3


Bolinda Publishing are to release their 2008 audio version of Janet Frame's first novel Owls Do Cry as an MP3.






29th January 2009 marked the fifth anniversary of Janet Frame's death in Dunedin at the age of 79. Frame died of leukemia. She had about six month's advance notice of her death from the terminal illness and for most of that time was well enough to enjoy her last days, and to bid meaningful farewell to her many friends and family.


One of the factors that contributed to Frame's excellent quality of life in those months, even while her health steadily deteriorated, was the regular visit to the blood transfusion facility at Dunedin Hospital.


The New Zealand number to ring to arrange donating blood is 0800 GIVE BLOOD or 0800 448 325.




Frame poem features as Saturday Poem in the GUARDIAN


In a continuation of the increasing interest in Janet Frame as a poet as well as a novelist and memoirist, The Saturday Poem in The Guardian for 22 November 2008 was Frame's 'The Happy Prince'.


The poem appears in the anthology From Women's Work: Modern Women Poets Writing in English (eds Eva Salzman and Amy Wack) released in 2008 by Welsh literary publisher Seren.


This is an anthology which 'showcases the range, craft, intelligence and skill of women’s poetry over the last century'.



NZSA announce inaugural Janet Frame prize recipient


Poet Emma Neale of Dunedin was selected by the New Zealand Society of Authors as the first recipient of their NZSA Janet Frame Memorial Award for Literature.


The biennial award has been funded from a grant given to the NZSA by the Janet Frame Literary Trust for the purpose of encouraging mid-career authors.



Frame poems appear on POETRY DAILY


Three poems by Janet Frame recently featured on the popular POETRY DAILY web site.


The editor of the web site explains the rationale for the project as follows:


The daily poem is selected for its literary quality and to provide you with a window on a very broad range of poetry offered annually by publishers large and small. Included with each poem is information about the poet and the poem's source.


Our purpose is to make it easier for people to find poets and poetry they like and to help publishers bring news of their books, magazines, and journals to more people. Well over 1,000 books of poetry are published in the United States alone each year, but they can be difficult to find, even in areas brimming with bookstores. The numerous journals presenting new poetry and poets can be even more elusive. We will lead you to them and, in the meantime, we give you a new poem to carry with you through your day and share with others.


The three Frame poems chosen by Poetry Daily were 'Storms Will Tell', 'Wyndham', and 'The Suicides'. The first is from The Goose Bath and the other two are from The Pocket Mirror.



Counterpoint to publish posthumous novel in USA


We are delighted to confirm that Janet Frame's posthumously published novel Towards Another Summer will be released in the USA by Counterpoint.


The Counterpoint imprint represents a new publishing venture formed in January 2008 from the acquisition of three notable independent presses: Shoemaker & Hoard, Counterpoint, and Soft Skull Press.


Counterpoint will also publish a volume of selected short stories by Janet Frame.

- 23 October 2008


Towards Another Translation


Time for an update on recent translation deals.


Seix Barral – has acquired the Spanish rights for Towards Another Summer and has renewed the rights for the Spanish edition of Frame's 3-volume Autobiography


De Geus – the Dutch publisher has negotiated a six book deal renewing the rights to their Autobiographical trilogy omnibus as well the three separate volumes. De Geus will publish the Dutch edition of Towards Another Summer, and a Selected Stories is also being translated.


Albert Bonniers – has signed for the Swedish translation of Towards Another Summer and for a renewal of the Swedish rights for the Autobiography.


Also in Sweden, Modernista has acquired the rights to Scented Gardens for the Blind, Owls Do Cry; Faces in the Water, and The Edge of the Alphabet.


Discussions are well underway for French, Italian and German rights for Towards Another Summer and a variety of other titles including backlist renewals. Announcements are expected shortly.


For all rights enquiries please approach the Frame Estate's literary agency: The Wylie Agency.


- 23 October 2008



Rare TV Interview with Janet Frame now online


The launch of exciting new web site NZ ON SCREEN has made some rare documentary footage of Janet Frame available for viewing online.


Six clips of Frame being interviewed by Michael Noonan have been archived from the production Three New Zealanders: Janet Frame. This series, also featuring Ngaio Marsh and Sylvia Ashton-Warner, was made to mark International Women's Year in 1975.


The website provides an interesting background perspective by Mary-Jane Duffy in which she comments:


"The interview that is central to the film negates any stereotypes about Frame's inarticulacy or shyness. The extensive rare footage of this internationally acclaimed and much loved New Zealand writer presents a confident writer in her prime."


Frame was 50 years old at the time and living near the seaside at the Whangaparaoa Peninsula north of Auckland. As her wide circle of friends and family well know, she was not an anti-social person. She merely chose to live a private life, as much as possible away from the glare of publicity.


Frame was characteristically self-deprecating about her performance during the extended interview. To her friend Bill Brown she wrote:

"I appeared as what I am, a complete ninny with not a word in my head."


Comparing this self-report with Duffy's observation that "throughout the interview, Noonan elicits considered and open responses: the warm, funny, brainy Frame comes across strongly" is instructive as to the unreliability of Frame's own humble protestations in which she appears to despair of her deficiencies as a communicator. But as Duffy says, "despite Frame's apprehension, onscreen she is confident and self-assured."


- 23 October 2008


Celebrating 50 years of the Robert Burns Fellowship


The Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago, which was established to commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of Robert Burns, aims to encourage and promote imaginative New Zealand literature.


The fellowship has provided an impressive array of New Zealand authors, including of course Janet Frame, with an office and lecturer's salary for twelve months.


To celebrate the 50th Anniversary, an exhibition of works, manuscripts and scribbles from the 49 recipients went on display at Otago University's Special Collections Library on August 29th 2008. The exhibition includes an unpublished light verse written by Janet Frame on the subject of the fellowship.


On October 11th 2008 an anthology of work of the former Burns Fellows was released as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations held during a literary weekend held in Dunedin as part of the Otago Festival of Arts. The collection has been edited by Lawrence Jones, and is called Nurse to the Imagination from a quote by poet and literary philanthropist Charles Brasch. (University of Otago Press 2008).


The anthology includes three examples from Frame’s writing, showing once again her versatility and range: a poem she wrote that year, an excerpt from one of the novels she worked on while holding the fellowship, and an essay she later wrote about her experiences as Burns Fellow.


Frame held the fellowship formally in 1965 and was also funded the following year. She worked prolifically in those two years, finalising The Adaptable Man, completing the final draft of A State of Siege, writing several drafts of The Rainbirds (also known as Yellow Flowers in the Antipodean Room), editing a new edition of formerly published stories and writing more stories, as well as writing many of the poems later to appear in The Pocket Mirror. She renewed old friendships and made new friends while in Dunedin, and the experience was so positive, she decided to stay on in the city where she had been born. The generosity of the Burns Committee in funding a second year enabled her to buy a house in the suburb of Opoho.


 - 13 October 2008

Happy Birthday Janet!


Timaru poet Rhian Gallagher has been named as the recipient of the 2008 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award. Gallagher will receive a $10,000 grant from an endowment fund set up by Janet Frame to benefit New Zealand writers. The Frame estate times the annual award to commemorate Janet Frame's birthday on the 28th of August.


Rhian Gallagher was born in Timaru in 1961. After completing Bill Manhire's composition course at Victoria University in 1985, she moved to London in 1987. Her first poetry collection, Salt Water Creek, was published in the UK in 2003, and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Gallagher returned to New Zealand in 2005 and is currently living in Timaru.


Janet Frame Literary Trust chair Pamela Gordon said 'Rhian Gallagher is a highly original poet whose well-crafted work has attracted praise both in the UK and in New Zealand. Now that she has settled back in her home country, she could do with some more recognition here, so the Frame trustees are pleased to acknowledge her talent and give some tangible support for her career.'


Bill Manhire added his endorsement: 'I first knew Rhian Gallagher when she was in a workshop with a bunch of other formidable young writers: Jenny Bornholdt, Ken Duncum, Elizabeth Knox. Those three are famous now, while Rhian is one of the quiet, astonishing secrets of New Zealand writing - perhaps because she has spent so many recent years out of the country, perhaps because her one book of poems, Salt Water Creek, was published by the Enitharmon Press in London. Those poems, though, are full of New Zealand -- its pines and paddocks and 'wild and unprotected light'. Some of them - 'The Quiet Place', 'Backyard', and especially the poems of childhood - remind me of work by Janet Frame.'


Gallagher's response: 'The award came out of the blue; I'm in the midst of working on my second collection of poetry so the timing is great. The money will buy some time and the award itself is a real encouragement. I have been an admirer of Frame's poetry for years so there is this good feeling to it also. As a poet, Frame definitely ploughed her own furrow.'


Gallagher will be appearing at the Christchurch Writers Festival at midday on the 5th of September.


Link to some poems by Rhian Gallager at the NZETC: NZ Electronic Text Centre


Link to Enitharmon Press London details of Salt Water Creek


Link to Best New Zealand Poems 2003, Rhian Gallagher's poem BURIAL and author's note





A second previously unpublished story by Janet Frame has appeared in the pages of the NEW YORKER (September 1 2008).


The story 'GORSE IS NOT PEOPLE' was written in 1954 when Janet Frame was working as a live-in waitress at the Grand Hotel in Dunedin (now the Southern Cross Hotel). Frame (who already had a prize-winning book of short stories to her credit) had submitted Gorse is not People and two poems for publication in the influential literary magazine Landfall. The story was rejected by Charles Brasch, the editor of Landfall, on the grounds that it was 'too painful to print.' Janet Frame describes the circumstances surrounding the writing of the story, and her feelings about the rejection, in Chapter 17 of her memoir An Angel at My Table.


One can also partly sympathise with the Landfall editor's position. Frame's story contains a heartbreaking and powerful criticism of the medical authorities of the day, and she was well ahead of her time in making a stringent critique of the fact that mental hospitals had become a dumping ground for anyone who was not considered by a conformist society to be fit to live in 'the world'.


Link to news report in Otago Daily Times


Link to Channel 9 Video Clip news story






Poetry Review (Volume 98:2 Summer 2008):


"these rolling dense-packed lines spill over with language"


"Frame's poems are neither timid nor derivative; they spin fascinating yarns, lend themselves to the surreal, thrive on the senses."


"Another ambitious poet in need of posthumous recognition"


Poetry London (No. 60 Summer 2008):


"Grace and Authenticity"


"Frame's range in these previously uncollected works is wide. She can, for instance, do a perfectly attuned three-line lyric ('The Chickadee'). She can also do extended, long-lined free verse like 'The Landfall Desk'."


". . .an answering back to the world"


Don Share has the following to say on his blog:


"it's chastening and heartening to see the publication of Janet Frame's poetry at long last, albeit posthumously - her choice, in fact: she once remarked that 'posthumous publication is the last form of literary decency left'."


"American poets gripe about getting out their first and second books, but Frame only published one, an incredible touchstone for me, The Pocket Mirror; whenever asked, as she repeatedly was, when the next collection would appear, she would explain that she wrote poems all the time, but wrote them too quickly: she wanted her poems to be slower: "Somehow I can't get that." And so everyone just had to wait."


In a later blog post, Don Share speaks of his "love for Frame's work, of course - and joy at the publication of Storms Will Tell."




Posthumous Novel Nominated for IMPAC Dublin Literary Award - but is Disqualified



Random House New Zealand has proudly announced that five of their books are included in the nominations for the 2009 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.


This annual award is presented to a novel which, in the opinion of the judges, makes a lasting contribution to excellence in world literature.


The nominations are submitted by libraries in major cities world wide.


The RHNZ books are:


Mr. Allbone's Ferrets, by Fiona Farrell

Towards Another Summer, by Janet Frame

Drybread by Owen Marshall

Rocking Horse Road, by Carl Nixon

Lucky Bastard, by Peter Wells


Unfortunately the DUBLIN IMPAC award is one of those that require the author to still be alive, so Towards Another Summer doesn’t in fact qualify.




Publishing News from the 2006 Janet Frame Literary Award Recipient


'O.E. Middleton is a fine writer ... he's the only New Zealand writer who has made me weep over a story. ' (Janet Frame)


Beyond the Breakwater: Stories 1948-1998 by O.E. Middleton (edited by Lawrence Jones) brings together 26 outstanding short stories spanning half a century by an acclaimed master of the genre, O.E. Middleton. While Middleton has been linked with the masculine realist New Zealand tradition, this anthology also contains a diverse range of international settings and characters. At his best, Middleton's attention to detail and fully realised context brings to mind earlier masters such as Yukio Mishima and Guy de Maupassant; in a typical Middleton story, carefully observed detail builds an impressionistic platform on which the destinies of his characters unravel.


Ted Middleton spoke to Nigel Benson for a recent feature in the Otago Daily Times (Sat, 19 July 2008).


Ted first met Janet Frame in the 1950s when she was living in an army hut at the back of Frank Sargeson's house on the North Shore of Auckland. Ted's first impression was that 'She was terribly, terribly shy.' But Frame's initial reserve soon melted. Ted says: 'In the 1960s, when Janet was living on Waiheke Island, Frank, Janet and I would sometimes meet for dinner at Frank's, or at a local Chinese restaurant.' The two met up again later when they were both living in Dunedin. 'Charles Brasch, Janet and I used to go to concerts together. One night I was escorting her back to her bus stop at the corner of George St and London St and she told me that thing about making her weep. My initial defensive reaction was to deflect it away by saying ''But, there could be various reasons for that'',' he chuckles. 'She laughed. '


In a thoughtful review for the NZ Listener (August 23 2008), Nelson Wattie suggests that 'it is time to dismiss the term 'sons of Sargeson' from the vocabulary of literary history… it does no justice, for example, to Middleton's originality, unique vision, sincerity and vernacular liveliness. To the extent that it suggests not merely 'subsequent to' but 'inferior to' Frank Sargeson, it is especially unjust. If I had to choose between Sargeson's stories and Middleton's for that test-piece desert island, I would choose Middleton's without hesitation.'


Gordon McLauchlan also gives Middleton's book a warm recommendation in the New Zealand Herald (August 14th 2008). He praises the 'beautifully wrought,' 'casual, unostentatious descriptions of mood and background,' and found the best of the stories 'effectively written, sincere and with absorbing characters.'


Moonlight : New Zealand Poems on Death and Dying



'This intelligent, moving collection taps into the extraordinarily powerful way New Zealand poets address the subject of death, dying and grief. There are 65 poems from poets as diverse as Janet Frame and Glen Colquhoun, James K Baxter and Michael Jackson, drawn together by one of this country's finest mid-career poets, Andrew Johnston.'


The Frame Estate is pleased to be associated with this beautiful anthology edited by Andrew Johnston. All royalties go to Hospice New Zealand. The charitable connection was the editor's plan, as a mark of gratitude for the quality of care given to his late father by the hospice several years ago.


Another new Frame publication out of Melbourne!



BOLINDA Publishing, an international company based in Melbourne Australia, is set to release their audio book of Towards Another Summer on the 1st September 2008. The novel is read by acclaimed Australasian actor Heather Bolton on a 6-CD set. (ISBN: 9781742015507). This reading of Janet Frame's last published novel follows the publication earlier this year by Bolinda of the audio book of Frame's first published novel Owls Do Cry.


THE GOOSE BATH Australian edition to be launched September 2008



Melbourne independent publisher WILKINS FARAGO has secured the Australian rights to Janet Frame's posthumously published masterwork The Goose Bath.


'When we heard that Australian rights to the book were available, we leapt at the chance,' said Wilkins Farago's publisher, Andrew Wilkins. 'The Goose Bath will read a hundred years from now, alongside Frame's greatest novels and her autobiography. It's a major work by one of the Southern Hemisphere's most celebrated writers and deserves a wide readership in Australia.'




The Australian edition will be released in September 2008.



Janet Frame's Elegy for Sylvia Plath


A recent post on the SLIGHTLY FRAMOUS blog reveals the connections between Janet Frame's Towards Another Summer and Sylvia Plath's death in London in 1963.


The weblog at has been set up as an occasional forum for Frame's literary executor to air some more personal insights about Janet Frame and her Estate.



More Glowing Reviews in the UK for TOWARDS ANOTHER SUMMER


The Times Review by Salley Vickers, 8th August 2008:


'a flair for poetic metaphor and emotional authenticity'


''Home' is a complex and emotionally ambiguous concept for most of us and part of Frame's special gift is her visionary's refusal - or inability - to diminish the stark impact of early experience with the perspectives of adulthood. The horror and the glory remain intact. (Almost certainly it was this faculty that led to the misdiagnosis of schizophrenia.)'


'All of us will have known the agony of feeling out of place in another's domain. What is so remarkable about Frame is her ability to raise such quotidian crises to the level of comi-tragedy. '



The Daily Mail Online Review by Stephanie Cross, 4th August 2008:


'Towards Another Summer reveals a writer of both skill and transcendent beauty. '


'a quicksilver narrative: elusive, evocative and, at times, overwhelmingly dense and inward-looking, yet pierced by lightning flashes of wit. '



The Sunday Times Review by Lucy Atkins, 27th July 2008:


'a literary treat that has generated much excitement. '


'Much of the power of this novel … lies simply in the breathtaking economy of the prose.'


'Whether this posthumous book can offer new insight into Frame's life or psyche is also surely debatable. After all, a migratory bird is surely not the most reliable witness.'


The Telegraph Review by Jane Shilling, 20 July 2008:


 'comic, melancholy and piercingly observant'



The First Post July 31st 2008 has cobbled together some of the highlights from several reviews.




THE GOOSE BATH – A paperback edition was released in New Zealand in July 2008





Due to the popularity of the hardback edition of Janet Frame's prizewinning second volume of poetry, Random House NZ have now published a paperback edition.


This attractive new edition is smaller than the hardback, $10 cheaper, and appears in the flexibind livery of 'The Janet Frame Collection', a series which has seen the reissue of all of Janet Frame's 11 previously published novels.


The new edition was released on Friday the 18th of July 2008 to mark MONTANA POETRY DAY.


This red letter day was also the first anniversary of the announcement that The Goose Bath had won the 2007 Montana NZ Book Award for Poetry, securing its author a posthumous hat-trick: the distinction of having won the nation's most prestigious literary prize not just for fiction, but also for non-fiction, and finally, for poetry.




End of an Era


June Gordon 1928-2008


Janet Frame's closest friend, her last remaining sibling June,

died in Dunedin on the 12th July 2008,

after a long illness,

aged 80 years.


June's ashes were mixed with those of her beloved husband Wilson,

and by prior arrangement with their longtime companion Janet Frame,

the remains of the couple were buried alongside hers, in the Frame family grave at Oamaru.


May they rest in peace.




When the sun shines more years than fear


When the sun shines more years than fear

when birds fly more miles than anger

when sky holds more bird

sails more cloud

shines more sun

than the palm of love carries hate,

even then shall I not in this weary

seventy-year banquet say, Sunwaiter,

Birdwaiter, Skywaiter,

I have no hunger,

remove my plate.


- Janet Frame



Brilliantly perceptive reviews of Towards Another Summer:


Hilary Mantel in The Guardian :


'a deeply rewarding and beautiful novel'


'In this fictionalisation of her experience Frame calls herself 'Grace Cleave': 'cleave' meaning both to split and to adhere. Small talk is impossible if in every word you find a dazzling plurality of meaning. '


'She knows that ordinary talk is required, but poetry keeps breaking through.'


'Her sentences display the pressured uprush of thought, the associative fleetness that her doctors had called schizophrenic thought disorder but which the more enlightened call inspiration'


'She is not - not in this book, at least - hard to read, but piercingly clear. Intensely personal, her writing is always spiralling in on itself, towards the condition of myth, and yet it nails the moment, pins down experiences so fleeting that others would never grasp them. What eludes ordinary language, she can capture in the extraordinary argot of her imagination. She wasn't divorced from reality - rather, she had a private glimpse of its heart. '


Laura Thompson in The Telegraph:


'It is a relief to read this book. The reader knows immediately that the prose can be trusted, that this novel exists for a reason beyond contract fulfilment or career advancement. '


'With absolute assurance, Frame renders the lost, uncertain figure of Grace, and considers perhaps the most profound questions a novel can ask: what a person actually is, what it means to live. '


'Frame has been compared with Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf. I am more often reminded of Jean Rhys, similarly distanced from her homeland in the West Indies, with an artistic viewpoint that may seem skewed by its own sensitivity but is, in fact, courageously clear-sighted. '


'if it is rather hard to say what Towards Another Summer is about, that is because in the end, like all the best novels, it is simply about itself'



Heartwarming reception for UK edition of posthumous novel:



This beautiful hardback edition - in the Virago imprint - was released in the UK 3rd July 2008


'In this deeply personal novel of exile and loneliness,

Janet Frame proves the master of nostalgia, beauty, and loss.

Frame is, and will remain, divine'

Alice Sebold


'The idea of a new novel by Janet Frame is in itself a delight

and Towards Another Summer is a joy to read,

with all the poise, inventiveness and clarity of her other work.'

Maggie O'Farrell




Rachel Cooke's review in The Observer:


'Frame's portrait of the grimy north of the Sixties is humorously grim.'


'As an account of what it is like to be an overly sensitive and lonely single young woman, it is as true and as piercing as anything I have read in a very long time.'


'The novel is exciting for its language - it plays with poetry, magical realism and metaphor in genuinely daring ways - and for the way it embraces themes that will later be central to Frame's best work: the dichotomy between inner and outer worlds, between fantasy and reality, between innocence and experience.'


'It is a short novel, but a numinous one. This time, the keepers of the flame did the right thing.'


Kate Gould's review for THE LIST:


'Far from elucidating the balance between autobiography and fiction in Frame's writing, the novel simply heightens the mystique surrounding her.'


Michele Roberts speaking on BBC Radio 3 Nightwaves, Monday 30 June:


'A wonderful social comedy'


'She carries an entire universe inside herself. She presents herself as shy and sensitive but she wants to be the writer with the chip of ice in her heart, which gives her a wonderful vantage point.'


Emily Perkins speaking on BBC Radio 4 Front Row, Monday 30 June:


'This is definitely a book that enhances the Frame collection'


'Frame has an ability to evoke life as it is lived, a powerful way of describing interiority'


'I was startled by how rarely you read about homesickness in such an eloquent way.'


The Ibiza Affair


Frame scholars have gathered in Florence, Italy, for an in-depth examination of Janet Frame's stay on the island of Ibiza in the mid 1950s. The session took place on the 2nd July 2008 as part of the 15th annual conference of the New Zealand Studies Association. The conference theme this year was: New Zealand and the Mediterranean.


Speakers at the 'Janet Frame and Ibiza' session were:


* Claire Bazin (University Paris X): 'Sea, Sex and Sun: Janet Frame's Experience(s) in Ibiza'

* Simone Oettli-van Delden (University of Geneva): 'From Plato's Cave to Mirror City: Mediterranean Inspiration in the Autobiography of Janet Frame'

* Valerie Baisnee (University Paris XI): 'To Ibiza: Separation and Recreation in Frame's Island Narrative'


Chair was Janet Wilson (University of Northampton).



BBC Interview with Frame and Kerouac literary executors


Harriett Gilbert, presenter of the BBC World Service book show The Word, spoke to the literary executors for Janet Frame and Jack Kerouac 'to find out what they do to protect the copyright and reputations of their late authors.'


The programme first aired on Tuesday 1st July 2008: BBC World Service The Word




US edition confirmed:


The Janet Frame Literary Trust is delighted to announce

that there will be a US edition of Towards Another Summer.

Further details will follow.





A Night at the Opera: Fiction:The New Yorker


Quite a stir has been created by the appearance of a formerly unknown Janet Frame story in the 2nd June 2oo8 issue of The New Yorker. The publication of "A Night at the Opera" has revived an old relationship between Janet Frame and The New Yorker, which printed several Janet Frame stories in the 1960s.


"A Night at the Opera" was written in 1954, when Janet Frame was working as a live-in waitress in the Grand Hotel, Dunedin. She had recently received her discharge from Seacliff Mental Hospital after having won a literary prize for her first book The Lagoon and other Stories. Janet Frame wrote several superb stories at this time drawing on her experiences in psychiatric institutions. She found to her dismay that the subject matter was "too painful" for the journal editors of the day, and the stories have languished amongst her papers ever since.


"A Night at the Opera" is a powerful evocation of a screening of the Marx Brothers' movie in a back ward for disturbed patients. Janet Frame wrote later (in her autobiography An Angel at My Table) of her compassion for her fellow inmates, most of whom never escaped their incarceration: "It was their sadness and courage and my desire to 'speak' for them that enabled me to survive," and the publication of this brilliantly crafted story has been a source of much satisfaction for the Janet Frame Estate.



The Goose Bath achieves Premier New Zealand Gold Bestseller accreditation


From the Booksellers New Zealand website: "Books become Premier New Zealand Bestsellers when they achieve outstanding sales within New Zealand. Top-selling New Zealand books are recognised with accreditation to four levels of success...The total sales within New Zealand for each book, across all editions, are verified and, once confirmed, the book becomes an officially accredited Premier New Zealand Bestseller. Only accredited Premier New Zealand Bestsellers can wear the official platinum, gold, silver and bronze seals."


We are especially delighted at this recognition of the strong sales for Janet Frame's second poetry volume, given that Janet Frame's first book of poetry, The Pocket Mirror, has been one of the best selling collections of poetry in New Zealand history but has never been sufficiently acknowledged as such. This and several other of Frame's titles, although they have also sold well within New Zealand, for various reasons are either not officially recognised as bestsellers, or their level of accreditation does not adequately reflect their actual sales history. (This anomaly is due to a chequered publishing history involving multiple publishers and multiple editions and the consequent difficulty of collating sales figures.)



The latest title in Random House NZ's "Janet Frame Collection"




June 2008 sees the reissue of the last two novels in Janet Frame's back list: Intensive Care and Daughter Buffalo.



Investigating those pesky old myths... and some new ones!


Which of the often bizarre anecdotes about Janet Frame that circulate without attribution, are true, and which are false?


Where do the stories come from and why do they seem to be preferable to the truth, which is often - but not always - far more boring?


In common with "urban myths", the source of the "Janecdote" is often tantalisingly almost verifiable. It has usually been sworn to be true by someone who talked to someone who knew or met Frame, or who once met a distant family member or a friend or a former neighbour.


Janet Frame's niece and close friend Pamela Gordon has been collecting these "Janecdotes" for many years now, at first involuntarily, but in more recent years with a growing fascination. She has been mulling over the possible conditions of the genesis of the often unlikely tales, and investigating how they are circulated and propagated.


She has discovered that Frame fans are very interested in unpicking the pseudo-biographical vignettes, and she has developed an entertaining talk on the subject, titled:


"Unravelling the 'Janecdotes': fact and fiction in stories about Janet Frame."


This talk was first given on May 13th 2008 at Oamaru to an audience of about a hundred people.



RIP Paul Wonner, April 2008


Sadly we mourn the loss of another of Janet Frame's inner circle: artist Paul Wonner died recently in San Francisco, on the eve of his 88th birthday.



Frame's friend & fellow poet Ruth Dallas dies in Dunedin on 18 March 2008 aged 88


Ruth Minnie Mumford (Ruth Dallas)


Another sad loss of one of Janet Frame's close friends. Click link to see the NZ Book Council page on DALLAS, Ruth


Frame Translator to Direct New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation


New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark congratulates Jean Anderson at the launch of the Centre, 3rd March 2008


Dr Jean Anderson, Senior Lecturer in French at the School of Asian & European Languages & Cultures, Victoria University of Wellington, is to direct the new New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation based at the University. She explains: "As a centre, we are going to have two mission statements. One is to do whatever we can to increase awareness of what literary translation is, and increase the amount of translation into New Zealand English. The other is to assist with the translation of New Zealand writers into other languages. Both these activities will be supported by research into the processes and reception of translated works."


Jean Anderson is a notable translator from French into English and co-translator of New Zealand writing into French. She collaborated with French author Nadine Ribault on the translation of a selection of Janet Frame's stories and essays for French Publisher Antoinette Fouque.


Le lagon et autre nouvelles (Antoinette Fouque, Editions des Femmes, Paris France 2006).



New Australian editions of two of Janet Frame's most popular novels


Living in the Maniototo (Vintage Australia, March 2008)

"Quirky, rich, eccentric" - Margaret Atwood
"Probably as near a masterpiece as we are likely to see this year... it is a novel full of riches." - The Daily Telegraph (UK)
"Puts everything else that has come my way this year in the shade." - The Guardian
"The most original and resourceful novel I have read for a long time." - New Statesman
"Frame's novel is remarkable - full of word plays, cameo portraits and deliberate mystery" - Publisher's Weekly

Faces in the Water, (Vintage Australia, April 2008)

An undisputed classic, this is the only New Zealand novel to be listed in the bestselling 1001 Books you must read before you die.

Nobel prize-winning Australian author Patrick White said that Frame's fiction made him feel that "I have always been a couple of steps from where I wanted to get in my own writing".

Doris Lessing was moved to write, "what an extraordinary woman she is, overcoming such obstacles, and making fresh and good use of them in her work".



Australian Edition of Frame's 3-Volume Autobiography released March 2008


AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE (Vintage Australia March 2008)


(contains all three volumes + an introduction by Jane Campion)


' ... one of the most beautifully toned and moving books I have ever read and the best book ever written by a New Zealander.' Jane Campion

(from her Introduction to this Volume)


More Australasian reviews of TOWARDS ANOTHER SUMMER:


From GLEEBOOKS of Sydney comes an enthusiastic recommendation for the new Janet Frame novel:


'"It's not often that my 'book of the year' and 'book for Christmas' are one and the same, but I've been bowled over by the discovery of Janet Frame's Towards Another Summer" ... "This is as poignant an expression of the dislocation and blurring of the creative and the real world as you're likely to read, yet it''s not without irony or humour, or gorgeous and intricate description of the physical world..."


"Stunning" ... "An ultra-modern blend of poetry, fiction, memoir and self-revelation" - The Courier Mail

Follow the link for a thoughtful review from New Zealand: The Lumiere Reader -Arts -'Towards Another Summer



Latest Italian Translation



The Carpathians (1988) has been released in Italian translation for the first time,

under the title La Leggenda del Fiore della Memoria (Robin Edizione 2008).



De Geus reissue 3rd vol of Autobiography to complete new Dutch paperback edition


The three volumes of autobiography have proven popular in the Dutch language since the translation was first published in 1991.

The recent release of the third volume to complete a new paperback edition means that Janet Frame's classic literary memoir continues to be available to readers in the Netherlands.


Naar het Is-Land (De Geus 2006) (Volume 1)


Een engel aan mijn tafel (De Geus 2007) (Volume 2)


De gezant van Spiegelstad (De Geus 2008) (Volume 3)



Some Recent Anthology & Quotation Permissions


Trainland: How Railways Made New Zealand (Neil Atkinson, NZ Ministry of Culture & Heritage 2007)

This intelligent, fascinating and informative illustrated history is peppered with quotations from Janet Frame's fiction and nonfiction on the subject of her background in a railway family and her experiences of and love for the railways: "as the daughter of a railway worker, I had to accept the possession by and of every inch of railway track in the country: an iron bond of mutual ownership."


Kā Taoka Hākena: Treasures from the Hocken Collections (ed Stuart Strachan and Linda Tyler) Otago University Press 2007.

This handsome illustrated celebration of the Hocken archive reproduces a manuscript of a fan letter Janet Frame wrote to the acclaimed New Zealand poet James K Baxter in 1947 praising his poetry. Although she signs the letter "a bit scared at having been so paper-bold" Janet and Jim later became close friends.


The Earth's Deep Breathing: Garden Poems by New Zealand Poets (ed Harvey McQueen) Godwit 2007

This charming anthology quickly (and unsurprisingly) reached a high spot on the NZ bestseller charts (as per statistics supplied in February 2007). There are two poems by Janet Frame in the selection. As Bill Manhire states in his introduction to Frame's second volume of poetry The Goose Bath, "It would be hard to find a more fecund sense of the natural world in any recent writer."


A Nest of Singing Birds: 100 Years of the New Zealand School Journal (Gregory O'Brien, Learning Media 2007)

Another absorbing record of a New Zealand cultural institution, the first hardback edition proved so popular that the title was quickly reprinted in limp covers. Janet Frame published only two children's stories in the Journal, back in the mid-1950s, but this fact was not well remembered and so the facsimile pages and excerpts from the Janet Frame stories reproduced in this illustrated history have attracted much interest.


The Puffin Treasury of New Zealand Children's Stories Vol 4 (Penguin Books 2007)

This collection includes a chapter from Mona Minim and the Smell of the Sun, Janet Frame's only published children's book, which was freshly illustrated by David Elliot for the 2005 Random House NZ edition. (Elliot is the fourth artist to illustrate the Mona Minim story; as well as the four illustrated editions, there have been two further non-illustrated editions of Mona Minim: the Bloomsbury Classic Edition (London 1993) and the Vintage NZ edition (Auckland 1992).


Whare Korero: Best of Reed Writing (Raupo - formerly Reed - 2007) Reprints the first chapter of Daughter Buffalo which was first published in New Zealand by Reed.


Strong Language (New Holland 2007) Contains quotations about New Zealand. Compiled by former New Zealand ambassador Jim Weir.


The Book of Life, a Compendium of the Best Autobiographical and Memoir Writing (compiled by Eve Claxton, Ebury Press, London).

Janet Frame is the only New Zealander whose work is included in this "uniquely engrossing anthology of memoirs by some of the finest, funniest and most talented figures in history". This popular international volume, first published in 2005, continues to be reprinted and reissued.

"The Book of Life offers the literary journey of a lifetime, in the company of the world's greatest writers, artists, poets, scientists, showmen, saints and superstars..."


Dear to Me:100 New Zealanders Write About Their Favourite Poems (Amnesty International/Random House 2007)

It is pleasing to note that this entertaining fundraising volume, mentioned earlier on this page, has sold out and has been reprinted.


Biophilia: Johanna Pegler (Exhibition catalogue for Johanna Pegler's landscape paintings, written by Greg Donson, Curator, Sargeant Gallery Whanganui, 2007). Reproduces an excerpt from Frame's story "Swans".



Song Cycle "The Poet " premieres at 2008 NZ International Arts Festival


In The Poet: a Song Cycle, composer Jenny McLeod has set 11 of Janet Frame's poems to music for a performance by The New Zealand String Quartet and TOWER Voices New Zealand. The world premiere of this exciting collaborative work was held at the NZ International Arts Festival in Wellington on the 24th February 2008, at the Wellington Town Hall.


Follow link to read an interview with Jenny McLeod: "An angel at her metronome" - New Zealand Herald


Follow link to read a review of the concert: Review of "THE POET"


Order the score from SOUNZ NZ


After 50 years - at last the audio book!



Released 1 Feb 2008 by Bolinda Publishing (Melbourne, New York, London)


Click on link to visit the publisher's web site for more details & to listen to an excerpt: Bolinda Publishing


"It is the sound that matters, finally, when I write - in fact all is for reading aloud."

– Janet Frame, on publication of Owls Do Cry (1957)



Jane Campion introduces new UK edition of Frame autobiography

Virago Press London has released a new edition of the three volume autobiography with the overall title An Angel at My Table.

Renowned film director Jane Campion, whose 1990 screen adaptation of the Frame autobiography has won hearts and minds in all corners of the world, has written a introduction for this new edition (released 17 January 2008).


Click on link to visit the website of Publisher Virago Press to read an excerpt from the autobiography.


Click link to visit Guardian Unlimited Books to read an exclusive excerpt from Jane Campion's Introduction.



New selection of Janet Frame's poetry published in UK by Bloodaxe Books


Storms Will Tell (Released January 2008)


This attractive soft-covered anthology contains the whole of the prizewinning posthumously published volumeThe Goose Bath (2006), published for the first time in the UK, as well as a generous selection of poems from Janet Frame's only book of poetry published in her lifetime, the bestselling collection The Pocket Mirror (1967).


See Publisher's Web Site: Bloodaxe Books



New novel still in number 2 spot on NZ Fiction Bestseller List after four months



Towards Another Summer was the best selling NZ fiction book for adults in New Zealand for the two weeks ending 26 October 2007. It has remained in the number two spot ever since (Data from Booksellers New Zealand, 7 February 2008).


This new title - written in 1963 but held back by the author for posthumous publication - was launched in Auckland in October 2007. Towards Another Summer is a beautifully written, exquisitely observed, funny and moving work. The genre-crossing mix of fiction and autobiography with a dash of magical realism has a contemporary feel to it.


NZ Herald: Frame of reference shifts again with personal novel

"hauntingy lyrical" ... "noticeably more accessible"


Christchurch Press: Shy, humorous Janet Frame

"Brilliant! She has got it in one, as so often. Her insight is razor-sharp, and her powers of expression equal to her observation"


NZ Listener: States of Grace

"one of her clearest articulations of a universal question: how and where can we be at home in this world?"


Dominion Post: Reframing Frame

"It's a reminder of why Frame was nominated for the Nobel Prize. Quite simply, she's a stunning writer."


Sunday Star-Times: Frame of Mind

"A wonderful comedy of manners, it contains some of the finest New Zealand writing published this year"


The Australian edition of Towards Another Summer was also published in early October 2007 and has received favourable reviews.



Australian Edition (Vintage)

by Random House Australia


Melbourne Age: Sublime joy inside another Frame: From Janet Frame's archives comes a wonderful posthumous novel

"Imagine writing so well and so often your personal slush pile contains a novel like this!" ... "In this novel we see just how sublime writing could be".


The Australian: Courageous food from an angel's table

"the completion of a remarkable oeuvre for which New Zealander Janet Frame received some, but not enough, acclaim during her lifetime"


The Adelaide Advertiser: "This is an entrancing, intimate, tender book, written with honesty and insight, and a lovely self-deprecating (sometimes almost self-immolating) humour and full of marvellously apt and surprising images, of comments and expressions that turn on light bulbs in the brain."


Canberra Times: Searching for the elusive origins of a migratory bird

"Sometimes when you begin reading a book you realise immediately that you are in good hands ... what makes this novel wonderful is Frame's prose. That begins with her remarkably sharp awareness, with that open perception that leaves her so raw to the world, and in the words out of which she creates the exact sense of these things for us. Sometimes she offers us an extraordinary virtuoso piece of writing, which delights in its own scope and skill, which disports in its medium with great joy, which is an essential part of the narrative she is making and also a gorgeous decoration on it. It is a pleasure for the reader to accept these offerings."


Bookseller & Publisher: "Frame's treasure-house of personal metaphor transforms a meditation on exile and return into something singular, knowing and wickedly funny"





Wilson Gordon


30 September 1916 - 25 September 2007


The Frame Estate is saddened by the recent death of Janet Frame's brother-in-law and longtime close friend Wilson Gordon.

Wilson is survived by his wife June, 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren.



50 years of companionship between Janet Frame and the Gordons



Janet Frame Estate gifts $15,000 to NZ Society of Authors



The 2007 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award is to be given to the New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ).


Janet Frame established the Janet Frame Literary Trust and bequeathed her copyright to it. She directed that the income from her endowment fund be used to provide financial assistance to NZ writers. The awards are announced by her Trustees every year on the 28th of August to commemorate the date of her birth in 1924.


Janet Frame was a life member and a past honorary president of NZSA (PEN) NZ, which is a strong advocate for the rights of writers.

She was also famously saved from a lobotomy by the fact that one of her doctors noticed the publicity for a PEN award won by her first book in 1952. It is therefore especially appropriate that her charitable trust should now benefit the organisation which helped to save her writing career.


See Awards page for further details about the annual JFLT awards.



Launch of NZ Book Month Features Inaugural Janet Frame Memorial Lecture


Place: The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington
Date: Sunday the 2nd September 2007

Time: 3 pm


This event, which was sponsored by Random House NZ and the NZ Society of Authors, formed part of an all day literary programme at Te Papa to mark the beginning of New Zealand Book Month.


The 2007 Janet Frame Memorial Lecture was given by distinguished NZ author Owen Marshall.


Download a pdf of the lecture here: Janet_Frame_Lecture_2007.pdf


Read the Governor General's speech launching the Janet Frame Memorial Lecture here: Governor-General of New Zealand - Speeches



5-Book Deals Signed with Virago Press and Random House Australia


The Janet Frame Literary Trust is pleased to report the successful conclusion of negotiations with Random House Australia for Australian editions of three of Janet Frame's most sought-after backlist titles: An Angel at My Table (The Complete 3-Volume Autobiography Omnibus), and the novels Faces in the Water and Living in the Maniototo. The first of the new Australian editions to be released (late 2007) will be Janet Frame's previously unpublished novel Towards Another Summer. The second new title will be a generous selection of the best of Janet Frame's published short stories chosen from her five published collections; this volume will also include several uncollected stories.


We are also delighted to announce that Virago Press is currently preparing a fresh UK edition of An Angel at My Table for release early in 2008, to be followed by Towards Another Summer in mid-2008. The other three Janet Frame titles in the UK deal will be released in the Virago imprint at a later date.



Top Poetry Prize Presented Posthumously

When Janet Frame died in January 2004 she had been unable to complete the arrangements to publish a book of poems she had been working on for some time. The compiling of The Goose Bath was taken over and completed after her death by her literary executors with the help of eminent poet Bill Manhire. The work was a part time labour of love by the editors, fitted into the demands of teaching, travel, fellowships and other commitments. Two years later (January 2006) the book was finally at the printers, and as such it qualified for entry to the Montana NZ Book Awards, which have long allowed a period of grace of two years after an author's death during which a posthumously published book already in progress at the time of death, is eligible for nomination for an award category. This period of grace for a recently deceased author has been invoked before, most notably when the popular historian Dr Michael King won two posthumous cash prizes (including "Reviewer of the Year") after his untimely death. In 2007 two books by deceased authors were named as finalists in the Book awards: Janet Frame's The Goose Bath, and Cowboy Dog, a posthumously published novel by Nigel Cox, another sadly mourned author. Cowboy Dog went on to win a cash prize as a runner up in the Fiction category.


Having been named as a finalist, Janet Frame then won the poetry category of the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards for her collection, The Goose Bath, three years after her death. A previous recipient of NZ Book Awards (twice for fiction, twice for non fiction, and twice for Book of the Year) the win confirms her place as one of New Zealand's most adaptable writers. Janet Frame's prize of $5,000 will be used by the Janet Frame Literary Trust to benefit other New Zealand writers. (See our Literary Awards page for the details of Janet Frame's instructions to use her endowment fund to make grants to needy NZ authors. In the two years since the Janet Frame Literary Awards were first established in 2005, $55,000 of Janet Frame's own money has been allocated to individuals and organisations within the NZ literary community, as per her instructions.)


The win for The Goose Bath was announced on Montana Poetry Day, 27 July 2007, and the award presented at a gala dinner on 30 July 2007. Montana New Zealand Book Awards judges’ convenor, Dr Paul Millar, says Frame’s edge is as we should expect, her use of inventive, imaginative and memorable language. ‘She steps lightly and precisely across the surface of the swamp of words… She is also highly original.’


Janet Frame's literary executor Pamela Gordon spoke about the win to Lynn Freeman on National Radio's Arts on Sunday (Sunday 29 July 2007). Gordon said that in her opinion the best thing about the posthumous recognition for the quality of her aunt's new poetry book was that the award would serve to remind New Zealanders that the famous author, who is a household name in their country, first became well known not because of her inspiring life story, but because she was quite simply a remarkably good writer. "I hope that the Montana publicity encourages some new Kiwi readers to look past the myths about Janet Frame and to pick up one of her books and find out for themselves why she was able to build such a huge reputation for her writing."



Janet Frame Poetry Video featured on TV Art Show

An impressive film adaptation of Janet Frame's poem "O Lung Flowering Like a Tree" aired on TV One's popular arts show ARTSVILLE on 29 July 2007. The artistic video clip featured a recording of Janet Frame reading the poem herself, and was directed by Andrew Bancroft for 3rd Party Productions Producer Colin Hogg. The Janet Frame item was part of "Poet's Corner" a series featuring prominent New Zealand poets in performance.


"1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die"


"For discerning bibliophiles and readers who enjoy unforgettable classic literature, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die is a trove of reviews covering a century of memorable writing. Each work of literature featured here is a seminal work key to understanding and appreciating the written word. The featured works have been handpicked by a team of international critics and literary luminaries."

Edited by Peter Boxall, Foreword by Peter Ackroyd (2006).


The only New Zealand authors we spotted in this frankly elitist list were Janet Frame with Faces in the Water and Katherine Mansfield for The Garden Party.


Amnesty International Poetry Anthology


Dear to Me:100 New Zealanders Write About Their Favourite Poems (Amnesty International/Random House 2007)


Among the prominent New Zealanders who were asked to nominate their favourite poem was Arthur Baysting who chose Janet Frame's 'Dunedin Poem'.


This fascinating and entertaining book was recently released as a fundraiser for Amnesty International.

Please support the worthy cause and discover the favourite poem held in common by NZ's current PM and a former Prime Minister!



Janet Frame Literary Trust Logo Unveiled:




Designed by:




Montana New Zealand Book Awards Press Release, 1st June 2007:


Iconic Writer a Montana New Zealand Book Awards finalist


A poetry collection by one of the nation’s most renowned authors, Janet Frame, is a finalist in this year's Montana New Zealand Book Awards.


Published posthumously, The Goose Bath is Frame's first new title in almost 20 years. She died in January 2004.


Montana New Zealand Book Awards judges' convenor, Dr Paul Millar says running through the poems [in The Goose Bath] is a personal and domesticated tone -reminiscent of the intimate voice of Frame’s autobiographies- that subtly conceals the operation of her powerful literary intelligence.


"As with all Frame's writing the memorable elements of The Goose Bath are those unexpected encounters with language that surprise and delight."


The winner of the poetry category will be announced on Montana Poetry Day on Friday 27 July 2007.


"Talk of Treasure" - Exhibition of Literary Ephemera


Featured in this exhibition, to be held in conjunction with the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival in late May 2007, will be a selection of 14 of the different editions of Owls Do Cry, from the 1957 first edition to the recent anniversary edition. Included are some of the editions from NZ, the USA, the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Hungary. "Talk of Treasure" was Janet Frame's working title for Owls Do Cry, which has never been out of print since first publication. There have been three editions in the UK, four in New Zealand, three in the USA, one in Australia, two in Germany and the Netherlands and two in France, with multiple reprints and both hardback and paperback formats.


Annual Janet Frame Lecture at Oamaru



Emeritus Professor Lawrence Jones recently delivered the annual Janet Frame Lecture at Oamaru. The lecture is jointly sponsored by the Janet Frame Literary Trust and the Janet Frame Eden Street Trust. The 2007 event was held at the Forrester Art Gallery and the occasion doubled as a celebration of the launch of the 50th Anniversary edition of Owls do Cry. Prof Jones drew his talk from his enlightening essay "Owls Do Cry After Fifty Years: The Novel in Context", which is included in the new edition. Refreshments included a sampling of the local Whitestone cheese and some delicious quince paste made from the quince tree growing at Janet Frame's childhood home at 56 Eden Street.


2007 - the 50th Anniversary of publication of Janet Frame's first novel





First Edition 1957 - Mass Paperback edition 1967 - Anniversary Edition


The anniversary edition of OWLS DO CRY was released by Vintage NZ in mid-May 2007.


♫ Janet Frame's Poetry Set to Music ♫


Over the years some of New Zealand's favourite composers have been inspired to set Janet Frame poetry to music. These pieces of course take on a life of their own (as will all adaptation to another art form) and continue to give pleasure in repeat performances. One successful musical adaptation that we have recently had news of is the choral setting by Christopher Marshall of Janet Frame's poem "As I Walked Along The Street" from The Pocket Mirror. The Kiwi composer, currently resident in Florida, has included the piece in his five-part song cycle O Fragile Human.


Visit this page to listen to a recording of the song at the world premier of the whole cycle performed by The Woodley Ensemble in Washington DC, USA, in May 2006.


Appointment of International Literary Agency


The Janet Frame Literary Trust is pleased to announce that we have appointed The Wylie Agency (New York and London) to represent Janet Frame's ongoing literary legacy.


Another Stunning Cover!



Scented Gardens for the Blind and The Adaptable Man (release date March 2007)


This superb cover continues the fine tradition set by all others in Vintage NZ's "Janet Frame Collection". The striking image is of a chandelier carved from salt crystals.


Jane Campion: Cinema, Nation, Identity: Research Colloquium

Held at the University of Otago between 3-6 December 2006.



The Waiheke Novel and the Dunedin Novel



Released in 2006, this double volume from Random House NZ's "Janet Frame Collection" combines two of Janet Frame's most visual, most cinematic novels.


Click here for the NZ Listener Review


A Recent Work of Frame Scholarship



Materialisations of a Woman Writer: Investigating Janet Frame's Biographical Legend by Maria Wikse (Peter Lang 2006)


Synopsis from publisher's web page:


Janet Frame's literary career was inextricably woven into the fabric of the twentieth-century New Zealand literary scene. However, she also became New Zealand's best-known international writer and her great literary influence in both fields has not been charted before now. This study also seeks to redress the excessive commitment in scholarship to maintaining, even celebrating, Frame's reputation as a psychologically disturbed writer. This book surveys all aspects of Janet Frame's biographical legend by considering her later literary and autobiographical works, Jane Campion's film adaptation of the autobiographies, An Angel at My Table, as well as biographies and literary histories that both rely on and contribute to her well-known legend. In doing so, the author hopes to offer novel perspectives on Frame's literary production, on Frame scholarship, on auto/biographical theories and on New Zealand literary history.



New Zealand Book Month Kiwi Favourites


As part of this month long promotion several New Zealand celebrities were asked to name their favourite NZ books.


All Black Anton Oliver chose Owls Do Cry as one of his top 3 NZ books

TV current affairs front man John Campbell chose An Angel at my Table as one of his 3 favourite NZ books



The Time Out Bookshop Top Twenty New Zealand Books


Also in connection with New Zealand Book Month (running from mid September to mid October 2006) the Time Out Bookshop, in conjunction with the New Zealand Herald, polled readers for a list of the top twenty New Zealand books ever.


Janet Frame books appeared at number 10 (Owls Do Cry) and number 14 (An Angel at my Table) on the list.



It was Janet Frame's birthday but Ted received the gift


The Janet Frame Literary Award recipient for 2006 (announced on 28 August) is O.E. (Ted) Middleton of Dunedin.


More information on the awards can be found on the Awards page of this web site.



Classic New Zealand Poets in Performance




This is a 2-CD set of 27 classic New Zealand poets reading their own work, accompanied by a book of the texts of the poems. The poets are arranged chronologically by date of birth and each reads for approximately five minutes (2-5 poems). They include the leading voices of NZ poetry, and were chosen for the quality and significance of their work and their commitment to voice and performance as an integral part of their poetry. Edited by Jack Ross, and selected by Jack Ross and Jan Kemp, published by Auckland University Press. Janet Frame reads one poem recorded in 1974 and three poems recorded in 2003.

This attractive package has been popular and having swiftly sold out, has already been reprinted twice.



Go Mona!



The 2005 Mona Minim illustrated by David Elliot was a winner at the Spectrum Print Book Design Awards July 2006:

Best Children's Book: Winner

Best Book: Highly Commended (shortlist of 3 books)


The judges said:


"Mona Minim and the Smell of the Sun is an exquisite package. Mona Minim steps out of the rare books room, with her soft jacket buttoned over linen-textured undergarments."


"Detailing has been carefully considered at each step of the production, as has the reading experience (this is a children's book that will also satisfy adults)."


Mona Minim also featured in the NZ Listener reviewers' list of Best Books of 2005: "There are not very many perfect books. This is one. First published in 1969 and reissued now in a gloriously well-produced new edition, it takes us deep into the world of Mona Minim, a very young, ignorant, hopeful ant about to make her first trip out of the nest. The resulting adventure is a delight for young and old, thanks to Frame’s mastery of a profoundly simple device: she makes her ants entirely human, in best Beatrix Potter fashion, but she also allows them to behave like ants. The effect is wondrously strange: Katherine Mansfield meets Kafka" (Dec 2005).


Tribute to John Money



Friends, family and colleagues have been saddened by the recent death in Baltimore USA of Dr John Money, lifelong close friend and influential advocate of Janet Frame's. John Money died on his 85th birthday (8th July 2006 NZ time).


John Money was celebrated and remembered at a gathering in Gore on the 27th July 2006 to launch Splendours of Civilisation, the catalogue of the art collection the famed sexologist donated to the Eastern Southland Art Gallery. The book also contains essays written by the late Michael King, Janet Frame's biographer, and photographs of the opening of the John Money Wing in December 2003. John Money travelled to NZ for the gallery opening event and while in NZ he stayed with his old friend Janet Frame for the last time. She attended the launch and photographs show her radiance at their joyful reunion; it was to be her last public appearance.


John Money and Janet Frame at Gore with Helen Clark, NZ Prime Minister


"The sweet daily bread of language"


The Janet Frame Literary Trust and Random House NZ were delighted to release The Goose Bath (a posthumous collection of Janet Frame's poems) at the International Festival of the Arts in Wellington, March 2006.


Hugh Roberts reviewed The Goose Bath for the NZ Listener. Click here to see the review. He says "Janet Frame’s The Goose Bath is essential reading. This is a volume that alters the landscape of New Zealand poetry".


Pictured: the panel discussion on Janet Frame's poetry that was held during the Festival Writers Week.
The panel was dominated by a projected image of the elderly Janet Frame dancing mischievously during a visit to Frank Sargeson's former home.


All photographs are copyright and may not be reproduced without permission.


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Last revised: 28 August 2011


(c) Janet Frame Literary Trust