Saturday, May 22, 2021

From the Archives: Goose Lays Golden Egg (2008)


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 by a single author in New Zealand history, locally and internationally, but has never been sufficiently acknowledged as such. This and several other of Frame's titles, although they have also sold extremely 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 including foreign publishers whose sales are not counted in New Zealand, and multiple editions, and the consequent difficulty of collating sales figures.)

Postscript: The Random House New Zealand edition of The Goose Bath was published in hardback and paperback and eventually sold just short of six thousand copies, therefore qualifying for accreditation as a Premier New Zealand Platinum bestseller but the scheme was discontinued shortly afterward.

The Goose Bath was published in Australia by Wilkins Farago.  The New Zealand and Australian editions are now out of print. In the UK the entire selection in The Goose Bath has been published by Bloodaxe Books in one volume along with a selection from The Pocket Mirror. This book is entitled Storms Will Tell: Selected Poems by Janet Frame and is available to purchase online.

From the Archives: Top Poetry Prize Presented Posthumously (July 2007)

Janet Frame wins the New Zealand Book Award for Poetry

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 assistance of eminent poet Bill Manhire. Not long before her death, while Frame and Manhire were both visiting Gore to attend an event at the East Otago Museum, Janet Frame asked Bill Manhire if he would help with the selection of poems for the new book, which she had already named The Goose Bath. 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 had 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. As she was a previous recipient of NZ Book Awards (twice for fiction, twice for non fiction, and twice for Book of the Year) the win confirmed her place as one of New Zealand's most versatile writers. Janet Frame's prize of $5,000 was used by the Janet Frame Literary Trust to benefit other New Zealand writers. 


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."

Friday, May 21, 2021

From the Archives: CK Stead Apologises to Janet Frame's estate (25 June 2010)


 CK Stead apologised 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)

The apology was also published in the NZ Listener as a public notice.


A statement by Frame trustee Denis Harold was posted on the Janet Frame Literary Trust Web Page, June 25 2010:

CK Stead selectively quoted from a Janet Frame letter so that the meaning of the letter was seriously misrepresented. 


C K Stead has included an unpublished poem by Janet Frame, and other works by her, and quotes from her personal correspondence, all without permission, in his recent memoir South-West of Eden (2010). Stead also selectively quotes from a Janet Frame letter so that the meaning of the letter is seriously misrepresented. 


Stead has apologised 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”. (South-West of Eden, 2010).


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 later withdrew from publication (she removed it from subsequent editions of her poetry collection The Pocket Mirror). 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 characterise 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 Janet 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 in that form. 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 himself. 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 had written 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 Frank Sargeson papers at the Turnbull Library.


In reproducing the poem, Stead has introduced a typographical 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, and 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 South-West of Eden]


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 of poems 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 be 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 Janet 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 recognisable 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 quotes ten lines from 'Our Town' (he does not reproduce an entire passage but cobbles together several excerpts) and inserts this as evidence 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 South-West of Eden]


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.


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.


Denis Harold


Janet Frame Literary Trust

25 June 2010


See news item: "CK Stead settles dispute with Frame's trust"

 New Zealand Herald 25 June 2010

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

2019 Janet Frame Prize for Christchurch Novelist

PRESS RELEASE Wednesday 28 August 2019

Novelist and historian Stevan Eldred-Grigg receives 2019 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award

Janet Frame’s estate has announced their biennial award to coincide with the celebrated author’s 95th birthday on the 28th of August. The award is currently worth $5,000. Janet Frame founded the Janet Frame Literary Trust in 1999 and bequeathed her ongoing royalty income to an endowment fund from which she directed that occasional financial gifts should be given to established NZ writers of fiction and poetry. Since Janet Frame’s death in 2004 her charitable trust has awarded over $120,000 in grants and donations.

 Janet Frame herself had benefited from well-timed literary prizes over her long career, most famously the PEN prize in 1952 that saved her from an imminent lobotomy because her doctor at Seacliff Mental Hospital read the newspaper report about it. The diagnosis of schizophrenia hanging over Frame at that time was later discredited. Frame understood that it was not just the award money that was welcomed but also the boost in morale for an author who may have been feeling under-appreciated.

2019 recipient Stevan Eldred-Grigg  has echoed this doubly welcome effect of an unexpected prize:

“What wonderful news! I was always aware of the way Janet would deflect, in her characteristic dry way, all the pooh-bah-ish pomposities of book awards by saying she was grateful for getting this or that grant because it would mean she could leave the lights switched on a little longer.”

“It does feel very much as though Janet has somehow reached out in encouragement.“

“Janet has been one of the brightest lights in my firmament of words, ever since I first read A State of Siege at the age of sixteen. I keep coming back to Janet's work. I learn new things each time I do come back. So it's very moving to think that now she's reaching me in another way, too, by way of this award.”

Stevan Eldred-Grigg was born in a speeding taxi in 1952, somewhere between Blackball and Greymouth Hospital. Just as his birthplace may be difficult to pinpoint, so does Eldred-Grigg sometimes blur the lines in his work between fiction, autobiography and social history. His prize winning first novel Oracles and Miracles (1987) earned him high praise for the realistic portrayal of the lives of working class women in Christchurch. His painstakingly researched work Diggers, Hatters and Whores: The story of the New Zealand Gold Rushes (2008) was cited by Man Booker winner Eleanor Catton as essential background reading for her novel The Luminaries. Dr Eldred-Grigg has published 20 books and is currently working on “a sort of memoir of the West Coast”. He has been described as “a natural story-teller” (METRO magazine).

 Stevan Eldred-Grigg, like Janet Frame, exemplifies the theme of “the expatriate returns”. He has lived in many places in New Zealand and around the world including China, Germany, Mexico, USA, Waiuku and Wellington, but has recently decided to make the move back to Christchurch where he grew up.

Portrait of Stevan Eldred-Grigg  © Gareth Watkins 

Stevan Eldred-Grigg

 Pamela Gordon, Chair, Janet Frame Literary Trust 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

An Anthology of VMC Introductions

Writers as Readers, the specially issued VMC40 anthology of introductions to Virago Modern Classics, is a wonderful read in itself, with the essays written by:

Margaret Drabble | Beryl Bainbridge | Angela Carter | Maggie O'Farrell | Elizabeth Jane Howard | A.S. Byatt | Penelope Lively | Sarah Waters | Jonathan Coe | Diana Souhami | Jilly Cooper | Elizabeth Bowen | Mark Bostridge | Alexander McCall Smith | Sarah Dunant | Rachel Cooke | Zadie Smith | Anita Desai | Sophie Dahl | Clare Boylan | Paula McLain | Diana Athill | Marina Lewycka | Claire Messud | Michèle Roberts | Simon Russell Beale | Amanda Craig | Hilary Mantel | Elizabeth Taylor | Ali Smith | Linda Grant | Jane Gardam | Julie Burchill | Carmen Callil | Helen Oyeyemi | Marian Keyes | Nora Ephron | Sandi Toksvig | Kate Saunders

Writers as Readers is a celebration of forty years of the Virago Modern Classics list.

"Started in 1978, Virago Modern Classics is dedicated to the rediscovery and championing of women writers, challenging the often narrow definition of 'classic'.

In this collection, forty of the most significant writers of the past century tell us about one of their favourite writers by introducing books from the Virago Modern Classics collection, offering a glimpse at the treasures that have been published over the past four decades: they may be great works of literature; they may be wonderful period pieces; they may reveal particular aspects of women's lives; they may be classics of comedy, storytelling, diary-writing or autobiography."

Writers as Readers includes the introduction Michèle Roberts wrote for Janet Frame 's The Daylight and the Dust, a collection of the best of her short stories.

Virago Modern Classics 40th Anniversary

This year Janet Frame publisher Virago Press has been observing the 40th anniversary of its Virago Modern Classics imprint: 1978-2018. To celebrate, they have published "a baker's dozen of stunningly designed deluxe paperbacks by some of our most-loved authors". The list includes Janet Frame's novel Faces in the Water, introduced by Hilary Mantel.

Perks of the job: this delicious haul of VMC40 promo material (cotton book bag, postcards, bookmarks, catalogue) arrived in my post box along with the VMC40 special edition of Faces in the Water by Janet Frame and Writers as Readers, an anthology of forty VMC introductory essays.

The other authors in the VMC 40 edition include Nora EphronMuriel SparkElizabeth TaylorRosamond LehmanAngela Carter, and Janet Frame's friend Grace Paley.

Our Wāhine: Janet Frame

Janet Frame

Artist: Kate Hursthouse

Our Wāhine is an illustrated history of New Zealand’s extraordinary women created by New Zealand artist Kate Hursthouse (

"To celebrate the 125th anniversary of Women’s suffrage in New Zealand, Kate will be illustrating extraordinary women from New Zealand’s history. The text is being researched and written by Kate’s mother Karen Brook. This passion project is done after hours with no funding and aims to create a visually exciting and accessible overview of the role of New Zealand women throughout history."

I love this image of Janet Frame because it avoids the stereotype that the occasional artist can fall into, of making their illustration resemble the actor Kerry Fox who played 'Janet' in the Jane Campion movie more than it looks like the real life Janet - who did live a happy fulfilling life and did grow old and wasn't by any means perpetually tormented.

An examplar of respectful quotation

Goodbye, Cruel by Melinda Smith (Pitt Street Poetry, Australia 2017)

I'm happy to recommend this book by Canberra poet Melinda Smith, who is a previous winner of the Australian Prime Minister's Literary Award for poetry. To learn more about the poet and the book, have a look at the excellent launch speech by John Foulcher.

"Smith’s newest collection is in part a paean to life even as it elegises several deaths. However, her primary concern is the binary opposition of scribing and erasure. She uses erasure to great effect in poems such as “Darkling with temazepan” (44), her version of “Ode to a Nightingale” and, through her inking and inscription, Smith forges a connection with the dead whom she memorialises and the living who read her work. That connection may be tenuous, a thread as short and slender as a line of poetry, but it is a link nevertheless, and one of great importance. This book is the work of a vivid, vitalic voice in Australian poetry." (from the Pitt Street Poetry website).

In Goodbye, Cruel Melinda Smith has cleverly and movingly drawn from excerpts of poems by Janet Frame for two of her poems. Before she published this book she  asked permission of the copyright owners (the Janet Frame Literary Trust).  I'm glad she did because it has been good to get to know Smith's work. 

It's always gratifying when an author does the right thing and asks permission (if a work is still in copyright) and also clearly indicates the source of the text they quote, enhance, chop up, play with or otherwise utilise for their purpose of following their own poetic vision.  

Conversely, it is disappointing to come across, as I do now and then, examples of Janet Frame texts used for 'erasure' or other exploitative poetic formats without the Janet Frame copyright being properly acknowledged.

I wish that more of the creative writing schools in New Zealand would teach the basics of professional ethics and copyright law, surely it isn't so difficult! 

A tasty smorgasbord of poetry

Poems from the Pantry: 135 years of food in poetry from New Zealand, 1863-1998 is an anthology of New Zealand poems that are either about food or that use food as imagery.

It is styled after the iconic Kiwi recipe book the Edmonds Cookery Book. It's even arranged in sections such as: 'Puddings and jellies', 'Bread, buns and rolls', Cakes and biscuits', 'Eggs' and so on.

Edited by Judith Haswell and Janny Jonkers. Ordering and other details on the website.

The included authors comprise a Who's Who of New Zealand poetry. Because the editors imposed a time limit ending in 1998, Janet Frame's posthumously published poetry wasn't considered for inclusion, but there is a piece of hers there from The Pocket Mirror (1967).

Happy snacking!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Playing the thought-game

Jess Berentson-Shaw
BWB texts (2018)

Here is another of those Bridget Williams Books "short books on big subjects from great New Zealand writers" that I have talked about before, because so many of them either quote Janet Frame and/or otherwise name-check her.

This book is about as topical as it can be, about being able to distinguish between good information and misinformation, and being able to communicate constructively about the gaps between.

 The author of this recently published book has employed a relevant quote from Janet Frame in a chapter discussing how to encourage and develop critical thinking.

Janet Frame wrote so profoundly and so profusely on a vast range of topics and it's good to be reminded that her writings are appreciated as a rich historical and sociological resource as well as a literary one.

"Unless we have the courage to use our inherited human riches to name, name, name things visible, things invisible, in our land, to play the thought-game from time to time, to raise a few more rich fat dreams and poems and get a fair price for them, we’ll be spiritually hungry and poor; we may not even survive."
~ Janet Frame

(from 'This Desirable Property', a talk broadcast on New Zealand YC radio stations and published in the NZ Listener, 3 July 1964, reprinted in JANET FRAME IN HER OWN WORDS)

Monday, December 3, 2018

More Janet Frame Quotes

Support Your Local Bookshop

Such an impressive shelf of Janet Frame fiction at the Paper Plus store in the Golden Centre Mall in Dunedin's main shopping precinct, George Street

Frame's autobiography omnibus An Angel at My Table is shelved in the non-fiction section, naturally!

Role model for the aspiring author

Many an aspiring author has been inspired by the words and the example of Janet Frame and Annabel Wilson is an 'emerging' New Zealand writer who has acknowledged Janet Frame as one of her influences in her ambitions as a poet and playwright. Wilson has written a play called Todo Verano based on her own holiday in Ibiza during which she was accompanied by a copy of Janet Frame's autobiography relating her own experiences on that island. In the play a character based on 'Janet' appears as a muse. Wilson has also published Aspiring Daybook, a volume of poetry covering the period of her return to New Zealand.

Poems by Annabel Wilson
Submarine, Mākaro Press, 2018

Janet Frame, Wool Lover

Janet Frame on a train
wearing a woollen crocheted hat that she made herself
Photo: Pamela Gordon

A new online journal called THE WOOL LOVER "dedicated to the wonder fibre wool" has recently been launched and it includes an excerpt from Janet Frame's novel Living in the Maniototo in the first issue.

"Janet Frame’s novels and autobiography capture an artistic sensibility attuned to the vulnerability and yet resilience of our world and humanity in the 20th century. This excerpt from her 1979 novel Living in the Maniototo also manages to weave the cultural value of woollen blankets to New Zealanders into the text."

Literary hobnobbing

David Eggleton, Derek Schulz, Jill Studd, Pamela Gordon 
(Photo: Lindsay Rabbitt)

This week I attended an event in Dunedin celebrating the winners of the Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize. In my role as Chair of Janet Frame's charitable trust I make a special effort to keep up with and support the activities of the other local literary trusts and The Caselberg Trust is one of these: they do fine work as you can see if you peruse their website. David Eggleton was the 2018 judge of the competition entries and he awarded the first prize to Derek Schulz who travelled to Dunedin to accept his award and read his winning poem 'You Can't Be Here'.

It was a surprise and a joy for me to meet up with Derek Schulz and his partner Jill Studd again after many years. Derek and Jill were close friends of Janet Frame's back in the 1970s and early 1980s when we all lived in Whanganui. We reminisced about the times we all (including Janet) attended public protests against the 1981 Springbok rugby tour and the team's visit to that town. Not an easy thing to do in the provinces. It was heartwarming to hear Derek and Jill refer to Janet as "Jan" which was her nickname among intimate family and friends. So many of Janet Frame's chums are gone now, sadly, but not all of us!

Janet Frame portraits by Frith Wilkinson

I was captivated when I first saw this image of Janet Frame by artist Frith Wilkinson. Gorgeous.

Apparently available as a greeting card!


Frith Wilkinson 2017

watercolour on archival paper

with frame 340 x 400 mm

painting 110 x 170 mm

N.F.S Frith Wilkinson collection

'The Third Place' (Janet)

Frith Wilkinson 2017

watercolour on archival paper

frame 300 x 280 mm


Nigel Brown painting inspired by Owls Do Cry

A 1997 painting ex the artist's collection referencing Janet Frame's novel Owls Do Cry was hung at Diversion Gallery in July 2018 in an exhibition entitled Matariki Ta Te Manawa as part of Matariki Festival in Picton.

"Stylistically unique, but a distinctive portrait - Nigel Brown's homage to icons both literary and environmental. Just a touch of gilt to that wonderful red hair, beneath a golden moon." - Diversion Gallery Facebook Page

Click this link to see another fine painting inspired by Janet Frame that was donated by Nigel Brown to the Eastern Southland Art Gallery at Gore.

Nigel Brown has new work in an exhibition 'Organic Thinking II' currently showing at Diversion Gallery in Picton until 15 December 2018 as part of his series 'Climate of Change' on themes of sustainability and social issues.