Sunday, July 22, 2012


Landfall 223 has now been published.

Landfall is 'the most important and long-lasting journal in New Zealand's literature' – Oxford History of New Zealand Literature.

The latest issue of this venerable New Zealand literary magazine is aptly named 'Fantastic!'

A highlight of this interesting and eclectic issue was for me a marvellous new story by author Albert Wendt from Ancestry, his upcoming collection of short stories to be published by Huia later this year.

But there is much else to recommend.

Also noteworthy in Landfall 223 is the inclusion of a major review of Janet Frame In Her Own Words.

Reviewer Emma Neale (herself a poet and novelist, and current holder of the prestigious Robert Burns Fellowship) provides an excellent and thoughtful review, titled "The Investigator of Uncertainty" (pp 174-177).

Until now, I have felt that the literary establishment of New Zealand - or at least its expression in the few remaining book review pages - has been generally slow to come to terms with this publication, embodying as it does Frame's own momentous challenge to any comfortable stereotypes about the author's life and career.

Here's a taste of Neale's engagement with the words of author Janet Frame and how she teases out some of the revelations contained within this important new collection of Frame's non-fiction:

Always intensely conscious of her own artistic choices, Frame expresses the joy she experiences seeing a pattern emerge in the process of writing; yet she is also disarmingly frank in her piece 'I Gave up Writing Novels', which lays bare the limitations, repetitions, and frustrations over a long career as a professional author. Even in this vowing-off, however, we also gain an avowal of an overarching artistic ethos: 'The duty of a writer is to take in the shadowy homeless ones, to give them substance and a dwelling place.'
   I think the meaning here is double: in a technical, aesthetic sense the writer has an obligation to transcribe the elusive workings of the imagination for all of us; and also, an author's duty is to give voice to society's alienated and marginalised. This is something Frame's own work does consummately and movingly (oh, the awkward, deluded Toby, in The Edge of the Alphabet) and which she springs on us in unexpected contexts.
(The Landfall Review, Landfall 223, May 2012)

To purchase books from Otago University Press:

No comments: