Friday, September 30, 2011

Fixing the links

Lots of work sat on the backburner while the non-fiction book was being researched, edited, proofread and sent off to the printer. My to-do list usually takes up at least 10 pages of a Spiral notebook, but the notebook has been full for quite some time.

Not long before she died, Janet said to me "You're going to be very busy. I'm sorry about that."

I had no idea, at the time, how right she was.

One non-urgent chore that has been neglected for a while was fixing the broken links on the Links page of the Janet Frame Literary Trust web site. It's had a pretty good tidy-up tonight with some new material added, and in the process I added more items to the to-do list for another day.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

There's more to New Zealand than rugby

The REAL NZ Festival invites visitors to New Zealand to check out the culture while they are here for the 2011 Rugby World Cup: food, wine, film, art, literature, heritage... etc...

And for anyone passing through OAMARU New Zealand, the Janet Frame House at 56 Eden Street is opening early this year, and for longer hours for the duration of the Real NZ festival.

Opening date: Friday 9 September 2011
Hours: 1pm to 4 pm
Admission Fee: $5

"By the standards of most of their neighbours" says Frame biographer Michael King "family life at 56 Eden Street was austere and chaotic." The Frames were a working class family in a middle class milieu, and it's safe to say that then and now, much of the popular commentary in New Zealand about Janet Frame and her background has been filtered through a conservative middle class sensibility. Psychological  judgements such as "chaotic" are made from a perspective on the "other side of the tracks". The daughters of the family all attended secondary school and three of them went on to study at University - an unusual achievement for a railway family.

Apart from its deep interest to fans of Janet Frame's writing, and to those who wish to learn more about New Zealand's greatest writer, Janet Frame's childhood home is of great interest because it has been preserved as an "authentic recreation of a New Zealand working class home during the Depression." A rare opportunity to step outside the grand mansions and museums and see how one ordinary small town family lived, and how from out of the protective cradle of the New Zealand social welfare system, that family gave rise to one very extraordinary New Zealand achiever.