Saturday, June 30, 2012

Born in June and named June

The Frame sisters:
Myrtle, Janet, Isabel
(June in front)

My mother June was Janet Frame's little sister, sometimes referred to in the family as "the runt of the litter" because she was so petite.
In the short story "The Plum Tree and the Hammock" published for the first time ever this month in the Summer 2012 issue of the US journal Zoetrope: All-Story and soon to be collected for the first time in GORSE IS NOT PEOPLE: NEW & UNCOLLECTED STORIES by JANET FRAME (Penguin NZ 2012) Janet Frame makes an interesting observation about the dynamics of large families:
"In families, you see, there is a kind of animal construction that makes the eldest turn, like a creature to its tail, to bite or lick the youngest."

Today - the 30th of June - would have been my mother's birthday, and in her memory I have gathered together some links to the various posts where I have written about Mum and her sister and lifelong close friend Janet:

In the Frame

Frame by Frame

Out of the Frame

Frame Family Graves

June & Wilson Gordon with Janet Frame

Friday, June 29, 2012

Advance copy

Nothing a eBook can offer will replace for me the satisfaction of seeing and touching and leafing through an eagerly awaited new book for the first time.

The advance copy of GORSE IS NOT PEOPLE has arrived from Penguin NZ, and it is gorgeous, inside and out. The cover image is from a magnificent painting by the great NZ artist Toss Woollaston.

The classic elegant design perfectly complements the content of the book. This volume of new stories by Janet Frame is presented as another jacketed hardback, and it has been designed by the talented Anna Egan-Reid who also designed JANET FRAME IN HER OWN WORDS.

Anna Egan-Reid is a finalist for Young Designer of the Year at the 2012 PANZ Book Design Awards. Her design for JANET FRAME IN HER OWN WORDS has not only earned that book a place on the shortlist for Best Cover but it is also a finalist for the Best Non-Illustrated Book. (The award ceremony takes place next week.)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

eBook of Janet Frame in Her Own Words

Janet Frame In Her Own Words is finally available as an eBook, in Australia and New Zealand only, from Kobo Books.

Here is a link:

Please let me know if you have any trouble accessing a copy - there have apparently been some delays and glitches in getting this eBook up on the Kobo Books catalogue, and I see that even now this title is misclassified as 'poetry', when it should be categorised as "non-fiction/essays/memoir".

Funny how there were signs of a pirated digital edition out on the internet before even the print edition had been released late last year, and yet the legal eBook has taken more than six months to become available!

There is a saying that "a lie has gone halfway around the world before the truth has even put its boots on" and it seems that this principle also applies to illegally shared files versus legal downloads.


Last week in Dunedin I took part in a poetry reading organised by a group of Dunedin poets known as the Octagon Collective at which I had the pleasure and privilege of reading a selection of poems by Janet Frame. Two poets who had both received Janet Frame Poetry Awards were also on the bill: Peter Olds and Rhian Gallagher. The poetry evening was in part a celebration both of Janet Frame's poetry and of her generosity in setting up an endowment fund to encourage the careers of promising and established New Zealand poets.

Congratulations are due to poet Rhian Gallagher whose second collection Shift (Auckland University Press 2011) has been named as one of three finalists in the poetry category at the NZ Post Book Awards 2012.

Rhian Gallagher received the Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry in 2008 and the Frame trustees are proud and delighted to note the positive critical response to her latest book, the first book of poems that she has published in New Zealand.

Shift has been simultaneously published in the UK by Enitharmon Press which also published Rhian's first book Salt Water Creek.

Salt Water Creek was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for a First Collection.

Can you hear me Whangaparaoa?

Can You Hear Me Whangaparaoa?
Auckland Writers and Readers Festival 2009


Peter Simpson, Cameron McLachlan, Tim Kerr,
Stella McKay, Hannah Taylor, Pamela Gordon

On Friday the 15th May 2009 at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival the Janet Frame Literary Trust presented a tribute session to commemorate the 100th birthday of Charles Brasch, poet, editor, and arts philanthropist.

Dr Peter Simpson of the University of Auckland and Frame executor Pamela Gordon, along with four students from Auckland University's English Department, took part in a programme of readings, the text of which consisted entirely of passages written by Janet Frame and Charles Brasch, sourced mostly from their unpublished letters. The readings portrayed the relationship between Frame and Brasch, and ranged from their early correspondence concerning Frame's submissions to Landfall in the 1940s, to Frame's reminiscences about Brasch after his death in 1973.

"Can you hear me, Whangaparaoa?" is the first line of a poem Brasch dedicated to Frame on his deathbed.

The readings were selected and edited by Frame executors Pamela Gordon and Denis Harold with the cooperation of Charles Brasch's literary executor Alan Roddick. The result was almost as if Janet and Charles were having their conversations there and then. The two friends came alive as their relationship progressed through distance and diffidence to a deep mutual understanding and affection.

The capacity audience was receptive and full of praise for the event afterwards.
There were some glowing reviews of the performance:

Vanda Symon's Blog Overkill

Photos from irkstyle's photostream on flickr (under a creative commons license)

The script of the public performance was later expanded and edited by Pamela Gordon & Denis Harold for publication in 2010 by the University of Auckland's HOLLOWAY PRESS in the fine edition:

Poet Elizabeth Smither launched the book and delivered this speech.

Some reviews of the book can be found in:

 Otago Daily Times (Charmian Smith)

 Beattie's Book Blog (Graham Beattie)

 New Zealand Herald (Gordon McLauchlan)

NZ Listener (Isabel Michell)

 Landfall Review Online (Nicky Chapman)

Not all the reviews of the fine edition are archived online. A review by Vincent O'Sullivan can be found in the periodical New Zealand Books and Marc Delrez also wrote a review for the journal Commonwealth Essays and Studies (Spring 2011).

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Keeper of the Frame

In Melbourne to celebrate the Australian launch of THE GOOSE BATH
 (Wilkins Farago 2008) Photo: Andrew Wilkins

A curriculum vitae
Pamela Gordon was named as literary executor by her aunt Janet Frame. In 1999 Janet Frame also appointed Pamela as one of the founding trustees of the Janet Frame Literary Trust. The JFLT owns and administers Janet Frame’s copyright and when funds permit, gives grants to established New Zealand writers.
Reading Janet Frame's poetry New York 2012
Photo: Christine White
Pamela holds a BA (Hons) (First Class) in Linguistics from the University of Otago. Her innovative academic research was being published and cited while she was still an undergraduate. She was awarded a postgraduate scholarship and undertook PhD research in Anthropological Linguistics for five years while working as a Teaching Fellow in Linguistics. (Her thesis, an analysis of the use of simplified registers to communicate social stratification, remains unfinished.) In 2002 the Head of Linguistics at Otago University Dr Jae Jung Song stated in an official letter of reference that Pamela “was one of the brightest students I have ever taught… Pamela is also an accomplished teacher… her work as a lecturer and a tutor involved carrying out administrative duties relating to class lists and internal assessment… I recommend her in the strongest terms and without any hesitation”. In the same year, the Head of the English Department at Otago, Associate Professor Chris Ackerley also commended her work in a reference letter, describing Pamela as “a good teacher and a valued colleague”, citing her ‘expertise’, her ‘competence’, ‘friendliness’, ‘experience’, and ‘empathy with students from diverse linguistic backgrounds’. She has tutored and lectured in Linguistics, Communication Studies, English for Academic Purposes, English as a Second Language, and has also written and taught tertiary level courses in science communication, student learning and writing skills.
Pamela has also worked in public and university libraries and as an administrative assistant. Earlier she obtained a teaching qualification in religious studies. She has raised a daughter and a son, and was also an active member of community groups promoting the rights of people with intellectual disabilities (autism in particular). Pamela occasionally performs her own poetry in public and her poems have appeared in a range of literary magazines and anthologies.
As well as managing the Janet Frame estate since Frame’s death in 2004 Pamela Gordon has collaborated on the production of seven posthumously published titles as well as overseeing new editions of Frame's backlist with a focus on eradicating some historical typesetting errors. She has done several public readings of Frame’s work, given talks on Frame at numerous venues, appeared on the stage at three literary festivals, granted many NZ and international media interviews and participated on literary award judging panels. Her generous cooperation with authors, editors, translators and academic researchers has been warmly noted in the acknowledgments section of many a book and thesis.

Going West Festival 2004
Titirangi, Auckland
Panel members from left: Karl Stead, Jan Kemp, Pamela Gordon, Denis Harold

Pamela Gordon has co-edited the following posthumous publications of Janet Frame's unpublished and uncollected writings:
The Goose Bath (poems)
Storms Will Tell (selected poems)
Towards Another Summer (novel)
Prizes (aka The Daylight and the Dust) (selected short stories)
Dear Charles, Dear Janet: Frame & Brasch in Correspondence (letters)
Janet Frame in Her Own Words (non-fiction)
Gorse is not People (new and uncollected stories)

Writers and Readers Week 2006
Wellington International Arts Festival
Panel members from left:  
Elizabeth Alley, Pamela Gordon, Bill Manhire, Jan Cronin

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top 10 women who have shaped New Zealand

According to a panel of influential women put together by the New Zealand Woman's Weekly the following is a list of "New Zealand's 10 most inspiring women":

1. Helen Clark
2. Kate Sheppard
3. Jean Batten
4. Janet Frame
5. Dame Silvia Cartwright
6. Dame Whina Cooper
7. Marilyn Waring
8. The Topp Twins
9. Dame Rosanne Meo
10. Dame Lois Muir

(FYI that is 11 women!)

The Top Ten list was devised as a celebration of the 80th birthday of the founding of the NZ Woman's Weekly and reported in the issue dated 25th June 2012 (cover pictured above).

Janet Frame was a regular reader of the NZWW which has been a local institution from the very first. She told the Woman's Weekly during one of her interviews with the magazine (in 1983) that her Mum had "always got  it" and that she herself collected the handy hints ("they're very useful").

Janet Frame's two interviews with the NZWW are quoted in Janet Frame in her own Words (Penguin NZ 2011). Janet Frame was also the subject of an article in the Christmas issue last December 2011.

It's good to know that Janet Frame's determination to become a writer in spite of all the odds against her, still inspires new generations of New Zealand women and girls. Janet Frame showed remarkable perserverance, courage and determination to pursue her vocation, at a time when any attempt to go against conformity and convention was treated with suspicion and even punishment.

Her enduring and much-loved body of work stands as a tribute to her courage in the face of sexism and narrowmindedness.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Zoetrope Summer 2012: new Janet Frame story

The Summer issue of Zoetrope: All Story features the debut of "The Plum Tree and the Hammock", a new story by Janet Frame.

Zoetrope: All-Story is a quarterly literary publication founded by Francis Ford Coppola in 1997. The magazine is based in San Francisco, USA and its web page is

The magazine is devoted to "the best new short fiction and one act plays" and each issue also reprints a classic short story that inspired a great movie adaptation. In the Summer 2012 issue the classic short story is "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick.

Monday, June 4, 2012

'ohne je in sentimentale Klischees zu verfallen'

A parcel of attractive hardback books, (shrink-wrapped in plastic) arrived in the Janet Frame Literary Trust mailbox last week.  These 'author' copies were rather late in arriving and I was eager to see them. The cover jacket of the newest edition of WENN EULEN SCHREIN is lovely, featuring an owl flying over a berry-laden bough. This updated translation of OWLS DO CRY  has been giving rise to a bit of a buzz in Germany, following the very positive reception for Dem Sommer Entgegen (Towards Another Summer), which has been recently re-released by the publisher CH Beck in a paperback edition.

For some response to this updated German edition see:

"Ich glaube, es gibt Sturm"

and here

and here


The first edition of Wenn Eulen Schrein was published in 1961. That was the first translation of a Janet Frame title into any foreign language. Other editions of Wenn Eulen Schrein that I have been able to track down are dated 1981, 1991, 1996, 2002.

*  "ohne je in sentimentale Klischees zu verfallen" = "without ever lapsing into sentimental cliche" (from a review)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Janet Frame shortlisted for Book Design Awards

How delightful to see that the exquisitely designed Janet Frame In Her Own Words (Penguin NZ 2011) has been shortlisted for two categories in the Publishers Association of New Zealand Book Design Awards.

Janet Frame In Her Own Words is one of the three finalists for the Award for Best Cover, and also one of three finalists for the Award for Best Non-Illustrated Book.

It is not surprising that the talented designer Anna Egan-Reid who designed both the cover and the book text, is also one of three finalists for Young Designer of the Year Award.

Her work on this book was truly exceptional, the high quality paper and binding and covers reaching a standard of excellence to match the text, with the look and feel of an instant classic, and she more than met the challenge of presenting a whole range of different kinds of non-fiction text (essays, memoirs, interviews, letters, reviews, speech notes, etc) in a coherent and pleasing fashion.

Congratulations to Penguin NZ and to Anna Egan-Reid for this book industry recognition of their painstaking care to do right by one of the most significant contemporary publications in New Zealand literature.