Ten years ago today … Janet Frame died

Janet Frame photo
Janet Frame photo in Kete Horowhenua

Find out more about Janet Frame.

Janet Frame ranks as one of New Zealand’s finest ever novelists, with an international reputation. (Helen Clark on the announcement of Janet Frame’s Prime Minister’s Award for Literary achievement 2003)

One of the senses in which Frame is decidedly not ordinary is that she is a writer who, in the past, has gone to considerable lengths to avoid publicity for herself or for her books. She is the only author I know of who writes under her own name but lives under a pseudonym: Janet Clutha. Biography and Compassionate Truth: Writing a Life of Janet Frame by Michael King in the Australian Humanities Review.

She had no consistent “message”; but she had suffered and seen suffering, and she did not want it to be overlooked. (C.K Stead The gift of language in NZ Listener)

In private, with family or a few trusted friends, she could be quick, witty, articulate, entertained and entertaining, capable of everything, not excluding malice. She had her bad days; but at her best she sparkled and shone like her own writing.(C.K Stead The gift of language in NZ Listener)

I think what is essential and durable in her work is a tragi-comic vision, bleak in its implications but full of life, courage and humour in its expression. New Zealand has lost an icon, but we have not lost the books she wrote nor the letters and records of an exemplary life. The life and the work together are reminders of how unpredictable, uncontainable, unmanageable – how rare and mysterious – real talent can be. (C.K. Stead)The gift of language

It is ten years ago today that we heard of the death of Janet Frame.

Find out more about Janet Frame.

2 thoughts on “Ten years ago today … Janet Frame died

  1. purplerulzpurplerulz 29 January 2014 / 11:14 am

    Ten Years? That is stunning. I so love her work, meant so much to me as a young woman. I went to Oamaru a few years back and of course arrived when her childhood home was closed, so I sat in the car, it was raining like crazy, and shed a few tears… such a simple house for such an extraordinary and strong mind

  2. Juliet 29 January 2014 / 11:42 am

    Nice collection of quotes and a reminder of a great writer. I remember reading Owls Do Cry as a young student, and then every other book as soon as it came out. Thanks for the post.

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