Thursday, January 31, 2013

Inspiring other authors

I am constantly hearing that Janet Frame's writing has inspired other authors, motivated them to write and influenced their career and outlook, as well as having touched the lives of countless ordinary readers.

This debt of gratitude is obvious of course for New Zealand writers, as Fiona Kidman wrote in a public letter to Janet Frame in 1994:

"It is time to acknowledge the huge inspiration your life and works have provided for other New Zealand writers." (Published in The Inward Sun: Celebrating the Life and Work of Janet Frame, ed E. Alley, 1994.)

But Janet Frame has been an international writer ever since 1961 when after several years of living in Europe she first started publishing in the UK and Germany and the United States.

So over the years there have been many testimonials to Janet Frame from writers of many backgrounds and writing in many languages. Notably recently there was the recommendation by Etgar Keret to read Janet Frame.

And I noticed another current example today, showing up on a Google News alert, in which Italian author Maria Silvia Avanzato is one of several  contemporary Italian writers taking part in a series in which they pay tribute to a great author whose life and work has inspired them. For Maria Silvia Avanzato, this author is Janet Frame.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Janet Frame's 9th anniversary

Janet Paterson Frame
28 August 1924 ~ 29 January 2004

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A plea from the friends of the Janet Frame house

In need of a little TLC: the Janet Frame House at Oamaru
I received this email from the friends of the Janet Frame House in Oamaru, and I'm happy to recommend this cause for anyone who feels inspired to take part in a little "crowdfunding" to help with some much-needed maintenance:

22 January 2013
Kia ora

The Trustees of 56 Eden Street are writing to you because you are either a supporter, friend, a student of our writing programme, or visitor to 56 Eden Street, the childhood home of Janet Frame.

 Like all veterans of a certain age there comes a time when the usual day to day care is not enough to sustain you. Our wonderful haven celebrating Janet Frame is showing her age and needs more than a little TLC.

 We are extremely grateful for support we receive from friends, donors and visitors and these contributions help us with the day to day expenses each year. Earlier last year it was discovered that the window frames all needed replacing as they were rotten then later in 2012 much to our horror it was discovered the plumbing needed extensive repairs as well.

 We are trying to raise $6000 to cover the repairs bills for both sets of repairs and to tidy up after them.

 Give a Little is an approved charitable platform, now sponsored by Telecom. This sponsorship means every cent donated goes to the cause you intended it for. It is also a secure site that transfers the funds safely to the charity.

 We are asking the community of support for 56 Eden Street to 'give a little' to enable us to fundraise the amount to repair the property and keep it available to visit and store memories.

 Please visit Give a Little on this link and donate to Fix our House by clicking on the blue Donate now button about the middle of your screen:

 The Janet Frame Eden Street Trust is a registered charity and all donations are tax deductible. A receipt can be downloaded on the spot.

 I hope you pause from your day to day and help us keep this wonderful property safe and open to the public.

 The Trustees of the Janet Frame Eden Street Trust

Monday, January 21, 2013

Janet Frame: Ihr Leben, ihr Werk

An event was held in Basel on the 8th January at which Karen Nölle, the translator of the German edition of Towards Another Summer (CH Beck Verlag) spoke about Janet Frame's life and work, accompanied by readings and film clips.

Karen Nölle, who has also translated Doris Lessing and Alice Munro, recently updated the translation of Janet Frame's first novel Owls Do Cry and her second volume of autobiography An Angel at My Table for CH Beck.

The three Janet Frame volumes are available as a very attractive boxed set of hardback volumes (icture above).

Janet Frame: Ihr Leben, ihr Werk
 Di, 8. Januar 2013, 19 Uhr
Ort: Literaturhaus Basel, Barfüssergasse 3
Mit Karen Nölle (Übersetzerin), Moderation: Florence Widmer, Lesung: Miriam Japp
Mit Filmausschnitten

Janet Frame war eine der eigenwilligsten Autorinnen der Weltliteratur und zählte zu den Anwärterinnen für den Literaturnobelpreis. 1924 als drittes von fünf Kindern eines Eisenbahnarbeiters in Neuseeland geboren, wuchs sie in tragischen Familienverhältnissen auf. Aufgrund einer Fehldiagnose wurde sie als Schizophrene abgestempelt und über Jahre hinweg in Nervenheilanstalten behandelt. Schon in dieser Zeit fing sie an zu schreiben. Bald wurden ihre Kurzgeschichten und Romane international ausgezeichnet. Ihre Autobiographie, Ein Engel an meiner Tafel, wurde von Jane Campion verfilmt und machte die Autorin weltweit bekannt. In neuen Übersetzungen ist ihr Werk nun wieder zu entdecken. "Brillant und völlig zeitlos." (Der Stern)

Karen Nölle übersetzt u.a. Doris Lessing und Alice Munro. Ausserdem arbeitet sie als freie Lektorin und Autorin von Reisebüchern. Von Janet Frame hat sie Dem neuen Sommer entgegen erstmals auf Deutsch übersetzt, sowie die Übersetzung von Wenn Eulen schrein, neu bearbeitet. „Man ist dankbar, dass dieses wunderbare, innige Buch jetzt doch noch zur Welt gekommen ist."(Die Zeit) )

Saturday, January 19, 2013

BBC adapts Janet Frame's autobiography

by Janet Frame
Vrago Modern Classic
"One of the great autobiographies of the twentieth century"
(Michael Holroyd)

Two more days to listen to Episode 1 of the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Janet Frame's autobiography, An Angel at My Table, at this link:

Episode 1 will also be broadcast again and live streamed 9 pm tonight UK time 19th January 2013 (10 am Sunday morning 20th January 2013 New Zealand time), at this link:

Then Episode 2 will be broadcast Sunday 20th January 2013 at 3 pm (UK time), and available online for the following week.

After being misdiagnosed with schizophrenia as a young woman, Janet Frame spent several years in psychiatric institutions. She escaped undergoing a lobotomy when it was discovered that she had just won a national literary prize. She then went on to become New Zealand's most acclaimed writer. As she says more than once in this autobiography: 'My writing saved me.'

'One of the great autobiographies of the twentieth century ... A journey from luminous childhood, through the dark experiences of supposed madness, to the renewal of her life through writing fiction. It is a heroic story, and told with such engaging tone, humorous perspective and imaginative power' 
~ Michael Holroyd, Sunday Times

'One of the most beautiful and moving books I have ever read . . . A masterpiece . . . Janet's autobiography had an enormous effect on me. She struck a blow right to my heart'
~ Jane Campion

‘Janet Frame’s luminous words are the more precious because they were snatched from the jaws of the disaster of her early life. It is one of the classics of autobiography.’
~ Hilary Mantel

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Janet Frame a Top Ten Bestseller for 2012

Happy New Year! Frame fans will be happy to hear that Gorse is Not People, the superb book of new stories by Janet Frame, was a bestseller for the 2012 year - number 10 on the Nielsen BookScan list of 2012's best selling NZ Fiction titles for adults.

This is no mean achievement given that in New Zealand there is still an unfortunate and outdated negative attitude towards Janet Frame in some quarters, that has led to some book chains refusing to stock her books. So you won't find this highly attractive and readable book of stories, that has charmed reviewers, on the shelves at The Warehouse or in the Take Note chain (the discount wing of Paper Plus) or even many Whitcoulls stores. Even though Gorse has consistently featured on the bestseller lists in the six months since its release, reaching the number one and two spots half a dozen times, it can be hard to find in a book shop, even in the Indy book shops, because they are not immune from being infected by toxic cultural myths. But you'll always be able to locate the historical romances that dominate the bestseller lists.

For some unknown reasons of their own, the staff at the Booksellers New Zealand head office have actively prevented Gorse is Not People from being reviewed on Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon book review spot, despite several approaches to them months before, at the time of, and shortly after Gorse was published. Gorse was the only notable NZ fiction release of 2012 that was not reviewed on Nine to Noon, and neither Booksellers New Zealand nor Radio New Zealand has been able to explain why Janet Frame's book was singled out for this snub.

So well done Janet Frame for once again evading the gate keepers that always envied your success and tried to put you down and sabotage your reputation! And well done to determined book buyers!

And thank goodness for online booksellers!

This highly acclaimed collection of mostly new stories will be published this Spring in the USA under the title Between My Father and the King.

It's interesting to note that Janet Frame's award-winning poetry is also represented on the 2012 NZ Fiction Bestseller chart at number 5 in Dear Heart: 150 New Zealand Love Poems - an endearing illustrated anthology that has been extremely popular with New Zealand book buyers. Two poems by Janet Frame feature in this collection.