Janet Paterson Frame, ONZ, CBE (28 August 1924 – 29 January 2004) was a New Zealand author. She wrote eleven novels, four collections of short stories, a book of poetry, an edition of juvenile fiction, and three volumes of autobiography during her lifetime. Since her death, a twelfth novel, a second volume of poetry, and a handful of short stories have been released. Frame's celebrity is informed by her dramatic personal history as well as her literary career. Following years of psychiatric hospitalisation, Frame was scheduled for a lobotomy that was canceled when, just days before the procedure, her debut publication of short stories was unexpectedly awarded a national literary prize. These dramatic personal experiences feature prominently in Frame's autobiographical trilogy and director Jane Campion's popular film adaptation of the texts, with recognisably autobiographical elements further resurfacing in many of her fictional publications. Characterised by scholar Simone Oettli as a writer who simultaneously sought fame and anonymity, Frame eschewed the dominant New Zealand literary realism of the post-war era, combining prose, poetry, and modernist elements with a magical realist style, garnering numerous local literary prizes despite mixed critical and public reception.
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“Every morning I woke in dread, waiting for the day nurse to go on her rounds and announce from the list of names in her hand whether or not I was for shock treatment, the new and fashionable means of quieting people and of making them realize that orders are to be obeyed and floors are to be polished without anyone protesting and faces are to be made to be fixed into smiles and weeping is a crime.”
—Janet Frame (b. 1924)
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