A New Zealand literary superstar was born on 14 October 1888 – Katherine Mansfield short-story writer, poet, critic, diarist, letter writer.
The first mention I could find of KM in Papers Past was in the Feilding Star, Volume VI, Issue 1669, 11 December 1911, Page 2:
New Zealanders will be, interested to hear of a new novel, called “In a German Pension,” by “Katherine Mansfield,” just published in London. Under her pen-name the writer will not perhaps be recognised, but she is the youngest daughter of Mr and Mrs Harold Beauchamp, of Wellington. Never before, it is remarked, have Germans, from a social standpoint, been written about with so much, insight, or their manners and habits described with such malicious naivete and minute skill as by this young Wellingtonian. “Miss Mansfield’s” style is almost French in its clearness. Her power of detailed observation is shown in numerous little touches of character-painting, which enable us (says a London critic) to realise almost as visibly as the authoress herself, the heart, mind, and soul of the quaint Bavarian people.
KM remains a fire to the imagination. Mansfield with monsters – a parody by Matt and Debbie Cowens, published by Steam Press – won the 2013 Sir Julius Vogel Awards for Best Collected Work.
Kirsty Gunn’s Katherine Mansfield Project has just been published. And gestating is the wonderful writer and cartoonist’s Sarah Laing’s new KM book. It will be “part-biography, part-memoir and part-fiction” – you can follow its evolution, and see some of the beautiful illustrations – by viewing Katherine Mansfield posts on her blog Let me be frank.
If you want to go further, NZETC – the New Zealand Electronic Text Collection – has a motherlode of Mansfield material – stories, diary entries, photos, commentary, and works that mention her.
More on KM
- Search our catalogue for work by Katherine Mansfield
- Search our catalogue for information about Katherine Mansfield
- Gillian Boddy. Mansfield, Katherine, from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 30-Oct-2012
- A set of images and portraits on DigitalNZ