Frame, Janet (1924–2004)

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Frame, Janet (1924–2004)

New Zealand writer. Born Janet Patterson Frame, Aug 28, 1924, in Dunedin, New Zealand; died Jan 28, 2004; dau. of Lottie Clarice Godfrey (dental nurse and housemaid) and George Samuel Frame (railway worker); attended Dunedin Training College for teachers and Otago University; never married; no children.

One of the most prolific and innovative of New Zealand's writers, who survived a childhood of poverty and misfortune and many years of incarceration in mental hospitals to write a wealth of novels, poems and short stories, as well as an autobiography; during final year of teacher's training was committed for 6 weeks to Seacliff mental hospital (1945); submitted 1st collection of stories for publication (1945); worked as housemaid and waitress (1946); recommitted to psychiatric hospital, where she stayed for most of the next 8 years, misdiagnosed as schizophrenic (1947); won the Hubert Church award for The Lagoon and Other Stories (1951); released from psychiatric hospital (1955); completed 1st novel, Owls Do Cry, and traveled to Europe, where she spent 7 years and completed 3 novels and 2 volumes of stories (1957); returned to New Zealand (1964); other writings include Faces in the Water (1961), The Edge of the Alphabet (1962), The Reservoir, Stories and Sketches (1963), Snowman, Snowman: Fables and Fantasies (1963), Scented Gardens for the Blind (1963), The Adaptable Man (1965), A State of Siege (1966), (poems) The Pocket Mirror (1967), The Rainbirds (1968), Intensive Care (1970), Daughter Buffalo (1972), Living in the Maniototo (1979), (selected short stories) You Are Now Entering the Human Heart (1983), and The Carpathians (1988).

See also her 3-vol. An Autobiography which was collected in 1 vol. (Braziller, 1991) and issued separately as To the Is-Land (1982), An Angel at My Table (1984), and The Envoy from Mirror City (1985); authorized biography Wrestling with the Angel (2000); (film) An Angel at My Table, directed by Jane Campion, starring Kerry Fox; and Women in World History.