When Janet Frame was awarded the CBE in 1983, she said: “I’m pleased to be honoured for myself and for other writers, for it is a way of accepting writers into the esteemed company of athletes and accountants and thus recognising them as part of our daily life.” She did, however, admit “a modicum of regret” that she had not achieved the title “Dame Frame”.
(Source: 'A Biographical Note' Scoop, 29 January 2004)
Janet Frame later skipped the opportunity to become a Dame when in 1990 she was awarded New Zealand's highest honour, membership of the Order of New Zealand.
"Anyway, my American friends call me a dame," she used to say.
I know that Janet would have been delighted to hear that Jane Campion has been appointed that elusive title of 'Dame' by the New Zealand Government in the 2016 New Year Honours. It's a long-overdue recognition on the part of Campion's home country. Campion has had a stellar film-making career that of course included AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE, that brilliant and much-loved screen adaptation of Janet Frame's autobiography, that first brought Jane Campion to the attention of the general public around the world. ANGEL was released in 35 countries and continues to be widely screened to this day.
Congratulations Dame Jane! (Janet would be just a bit jealous.)
NZ ONSCREEN tribute on the occasion of Jane Campion being named Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.