Janet Frame (1924 – 2004)
New Zealand’s most celebrated writer, Janet Frame, died in Dunedin in January, two months after being awarded a Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement. She was 79. Her first book, The Lagoon and Other Stories, won the 1952 Hubert Church Memorial Award, and 30 years later all three volumes of her autobiography won acclaim. Altogether she published 11 novels, five short story collections, and a volume of poetry, as well as the autobiography.
She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Literature from Otago University in 1978, the inaugural Turnovsky Prize for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts in 1984, the Frank Sargeson Fellowship in 1987, and the 1990 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for her last novel, The Carpathians. She was a member of the Order of New Zealand and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 2003, she received an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Icon Award.
The June issue of New Zealand Books will feature two articles assessing the national and international significance of Janet Frame’s work.