Friday, October 30, 2009

Frame's Maniototo 30 Years On

A radio adaptation of Living in the Maniototo is currently being replayed on RADIO NEW ZEALAND NATIONAL at 2.30 pm (NZ time) each weekday on the "Afternoons" show. Part Three was played today (Friday).

The release by Virago Press next week (November 5th) of the UK/Canada edition of Living in the Maniototo marks 30 years since its first publication by George Braziller in New York.

Fresh editions of Maniototo are also currently available in New Zealand (from Random House NZ 2006) and in Australia (from Random House Australia 2008).

Unfortunately that first American edition contained quite a few typographical errors, including the astonishing omission of a chapter number (which chapter number does appear in Frame's typescript but it was apparently overlooked by the typesetter, and the mistake was missed by the proofreader).

So the new editions on sale in the Commonwealth represent the most authentic text of Janet Frame's tour de force so far published.

As well as laying claim to including the most authentic text of Maniototo, the very attractive Virago edition is enhanced by the superb and fascinating introduction by author LINDA GRANT.

Living in the Maniototo is one of Janet Frame's most popular novels, and is one of an armful of her books that have never been out of print.

As well as finding favour with the ordinary reader for its wit, playfulness and satire, as well as its incisive observations and descriptions of a wide range of realities and fantasies, this novel has also been much studied by academics. There has even been some "theorizing" about the "missing" chapter, which is not surprising given the mischief of Frame the author. The error was indeed a very "Janet Frame" thing to happen, and the fact that a chapter should have gone missing is now an unavoidable part of the whole Frame mystique that so many people delight in puzzling over. (Actually the chapter itself is still there; it was merely the chapter number that inadvertently went missing.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New UK edition of MANIOTOTO

Here's the stunning cover of the new UK edition of LIVING IN THE MANIOTOTO to be released by VIRAGO this week.

Linda Grant - who met Janet Frame while on a visit to New Zealand - has provided an introduction to this sophisticated and witty novel first published in 1979.

Some of the reviews:

'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' - Martyn Goff, Daily Telegraph '

Puts everything else that has come my way this year in the shade' - Guardian

'A clever, high-spirited performance' New Yorker '

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' - Publishers Weekly

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An Angel on my TV Screen

Australian Channel 7 drama PACKED TO THE RAFTERS is currently screening on New Zealand's TV One, on Tuesday nights at 8.30 pm.

While staying in a Palmerston North motel last week I was flicking around the available TV channels and happened on an episode of the show, which to my utter surprise featured a running theme of admiration for Janet Frame's courageous life, and praise for her inspirational writing.

Watching the show, I glimpsed two different editions of Janet Frame's autobiography: the omnibus edition of An Angel at My Table published by Random House Australia in 2008, and the Amazon bestseller Paladin paperback edition first released in 1987.

The episode "Having it all" (Series 1, episode 16) can be viewed on TVNZ's On Demand website:

As a pure coincidence (or was it?) Janet Frame's autobiography also had a walk-on part recently on the long-running New Zealand soap opera SHORTLAND STREET.

Volume One, To The Is-Land, featured as a book club choice discussed in an episode screening on Monday 12th October 2009. The Janet Frame edition observed onscreen was the phenomenally popular New Zealand paperback first published in the 1980s and which has been repeatedly reprinted in different editions (the current cover was first used for the 2000 Vintage NZ edition which is still in print):

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New work of Frame scholarship


Contemporary Criticism on Janet Frame

Edited by Jan Cronin and Simone Drichel

Rodopi, Amsterdam/New York, NY 2009.

227 pp. (Cross/Cultures 110)

ISBN: 978-90-420-2676-6 Bound €50,-/US$70,

ISBN: 978-90-420-2677-3 E-Book €50,-/US$70,-

Janet Frame’s work is notorious for the demands it makes on reader and critic. This collection of nine new essays by international Frame specialists draws on a range of critical frameworks to explore fresh ways of looking at Frame’s fiction, poetry, and autobiography. At the same time, the essays plug into the energy of Frame’s work to challenge our thinking within and beyond these frameworks.

Frameworks offers a unique per­spective on Frame studies today, show­casing its major concerns as well as heralding new Frame narratives for the decade ahead. Mindful of preceding Frame criticism, these essays use their contemporary vantage-point to recast seminal questions about the relationship between Janet Frame’s work and its critical contexts.

Each of the essays makes a case for framing her work in a particular way, but all are characterized by self-reflexivity regarding their own critical practice and the relationship they assume between exegetical framework and Frame’s work. Underlying this practice, and contained within the pun of the title, are the elementary-sounding yet fundamental questions of Frame studies: How does Frame’s work work? And how do we work with her work?


Valerie Baisnée,

Jan Cronin,

Marc Delrez,

Simone Drichel,

Jennifer Lawn,

Isabel Michell,

Chris Prentice,

Anna Smaill,

Lydia Wevers.

Editors: Jan Cronin lectures in contemporary literature in the Department of English at the University of Auckland. Simone Drichel lectures in postcolonial literature in the Department of English at the University of Otago.