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Janet Frame (1924–2004)

Author of Faces in the Water

51+ Works 4,188 Members 83 Reviews 20 Favorited

About the Author

Janet Frame is a writer. She was born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1924. Frame has written eleven novels, five collections of short stories, a volume of poetry, and a children's book. She has received the Commonwealth Literature Prize, the Turnavsky Prize, a Katherine Mansfield Fellowship, a Robert show more Burns Fellowship, and a Sargeson Fellowship. She was awarded an honorary doctorate in literature from Otago University and is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and she is a past President of Honour of the New Zealand Society of Authors. Her three autobiographies, To the Island, An Angel at My Table, and The Envoy from Mirror City, were turned into a three-part television series, and then a 1990 motion picture directed by Jane Campion. Frame was awarded the CBE in 1983. In 2015 Janet Frame's 1957 debut novel, Owls Do Cry, topped the second annual Great Kiwi Classic poll run by the New Zealand Book Council and Auckland Writers Festival. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Includes the names: Jane Frame, Janet Frame, Janette Frame

Image credit: Janet Frame - Modernista


Works by Janet Frame

Faces in the Water (1961) 582 copies
Owls Do Cry (1957) 460 copies
An Angel at my Table (1984) 364 copies
To The Is-Land (1982) 310 copies
Towards Another Summer (2007) 240 copies
The Envoy from Mirror City (1985) 204 copies
Living in the Maniototo (1979) 201 copies
The Carpathians (1989) 169 copies
A State of Siege (1967) 88 copies
The Edge of the Alphabet (1962) 83 copies
Daughter Buffalo (1972) 67 copies
In the Memorial Room (2013) 61 copies
The Adaptable Man (1992) 58 copies
Intensive Care (1970) 48 copies
The Pocket Mirror (1967) 36 copies
The Goose Bath: Poems (2006) 31 copies
The Janet Frame Reader (1995) 9 copies
The mijo tree (2013) 7 copies
Two Sheep 1 copy
The Bath 1 copy
Gavin Highly 1 copy
Andjeo za mojim stolom (2017) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Norton Book of Women's Lives (1993) — Contributor — 408 copies
The Penguin Book of Modern Fantasy by Women (1995) — Contributor — 164 copies
The Penguin Book of International Women's Stories (1996) — Contributor — 113 copies
The Treasury of English Short Stories (1985) — Contributor — 84 copies
Some Other Country: New Zealand's Best Short Stories (1984) — Contributor — 72 copies
The Virago Book of Such Devoted Sisters (1993) — Contributor — 44 copies
The Virago Book of Wanderlust and Dreams (1998) — Contributor — 36 copies
New Zealand Short Stories: 1st Series (1953) — Contributor — 36 copies
The Secret Self: A Century of Short Stories by Women (1995) — Contributor — 33 copies
Mothers and Daughters: An Anthology (1998) — Contributor — 33 copies
The Picador Book of Contemporary New Zealand Fiction (1996) — Contributor — 32 copies
One World of Literature (1992) — Contributor — 24 copies
An Angel at My Table [1990 film] (1990) — Autobiography — 24 copies
The Flamingo Anthology of New Zealand Short Stories (2000) — Contributor — 21 copies
Auckland : The city in literature (2003) — Contributor — 10 copies
New Zealand Love Stories: An Oxford Anthology (2000) — Contributor — 7 copies
Dunedin : The city in literature (2003) — Contributor — 6 copies
The Penguin Book of New Zealand War Writing (2015) — Contributor — 4 copies


Common Knowledge

Other names
Clutha, Nene Janet Paterson (birth)
Clutha, Janet Paterson Frame
Date of death
Burial location
Oamaru Cemetery, Oamaru, New Zealand
New Zealand
Dunedin, New Zealand
Place of death
Dunedin, New Zealand
Cause of death
acute myeloid leukaemia
Places of residence
Oamaru, New Zealand
Dunedin, New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand
Wanganui, New Zealand
Levin, New Zealand
Shannon, New Zealand
Dunedin Teachers' Training College
Waitaki Girls' High School
University of Otago
short story writer
American Academy of Arts and Letters (1986)
Awards and honors
Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement ( [2003])
Arts Foundation of New Zealand Icon Artist
Robert Burns Fellowship (1965)
Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship (1974) (show all 7)
American Academy of Arts and Letters (Foreign Honorary ∙ Literature ∙ 1986)
Short biography
Janet Frame (1924-2004) está entre os mais importantes escritores da Nova Zelândia. É mais conhecida por Um Anjo à minha mesa (“Uma das melhores autobiografias do século 20”, segundo Michael Holroyd do Sunday Times), que serviu de inspiração para o filme de Jane Campion, internacionalmente aclamado. É também autora de doze romances, dois volumes de poesias e um livro infantil.



I hadn’t heard of Janet Frame until I found two of her short story collections in an Oxfam last year. The blurb and write-ups were very intriguing, non more so than the fact her work in this book, upon winning a literary award, saved her from a leukotomy whilst in a mental asylum diagnosed with schizophrenia.

With this in mind, there is a haunting air of instability that permeates the twenty-four stories written in the late 1940s. They are delicate slivers of life in New Zealand as young, innocent girls or fragile young women. A lot of the stories seem to draw on Frame’s own life; either taking place in mental hospitals or recounts of life on the homestead as a little girl experiencing new best friends, strict parents or dubious tales of a supposedly murderous grandmother. They are very short fragments and thoughts, meditative but incredibly powerful. She writes with such pathos and poignancy that you become absorbed in an inherent sadness within the words; her prose and its tone are truly beautiful and resolutely struck a chord ever more strongly as the book went on.

Unsurprisingly, the book is reminiscent of Sylvia Plath’s writing so if you like her or just want to appreciate some beautiful, melancholic short stories, I strongly urge you to give this a go.
… (more)
Dzaowan | 2 other reviews | Feb 15, 2024 |
A haunting and tragic book about small-town New Zealand. I read most of it in one sitting, and actually cried real tears at the end. For that reason alone I feel obligated to give it five stars.

I did find some of Daphne's earlier scenes hard to follow. The ECT scene with all the patients "waiting in crocodile" and the crocodile becoming some sort of extended metaphor (?) I didn't really get.

Her later scenes on the other hand are really very good and give a great angle on how Daphne's "insanity" makes perfect sense from her point of view.… (more)
weemanda | 7 other reviews | Nov 2, 2023 |
See Virago Classics about Janet Frame Introduced by Hillary Mantel
Title “Faces in the Water”
BJMacauley | 13 other reviews | Sep 19, 2023 |
This is a remarkable book by a remarkable genius of an author. Anything I might write here would be a spoiler. Stunning, creative, magnificent - some reactions I have had while reading this book from 1968.
RickGeissal | 1 other review | Aug 16, 2023 |



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