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Reading Janet Frame (for) Today: A Symposium for the Janet Frame Centenary

Public, Alumni, Postgraduate students, Staff
Event type
School of Arts

A writer’s work is inevitably—at least to some degree—anchored in its own time and space. And yet some writing also transcends those temporal and geographical connections in important ways: opening up questions that refuse easy answers, these works stay hauntingly relevant long after they were first published, and well beyond their particular geographical locale.

Janet Frame, as a writer of immense creative capability, paired with formidable intellectual curiosity and social awareness, has endowed us with such “transcendent” writing; indeed, she has given us a body of work whose probing questions we have barely begun to unpack with the full attention, and respect, that they deserve.

To celebrate Frame’s extraordinary legacy and mark the centenary of Frame’s birth in Dunedin, the University of Otago English and Linguistics Programme invites scholars and writers to participate in a one-day symposium that teases out some of the enduring questions raised by her work.

We specifically aim to explore the complex ways in which Frame’s work might speak to the contemporary moment: how – and perhaps why – might we read her work today?

We invite scholarly and creative abstracts of no more than 300 words. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Creative adaptations of Janet Frame’s work
  • The demands of reading Frame in an era of distraction
  • Beyond New Zealand: Frame and the world of migration/travel/cross-cultural encounter
  • The state of Frame scholarship
  • Frame and the world of ideas
  • Empathy and (non-) violence in Frame’s writing
  • The question of the political in Frame’s writing
  • Frame and contemporary cultural theory (how might recent theoretical turns, such as affect theory or ecocriticism, inflect our understanding of Frame? Conversely, what resources might Frame offer to contemporary theoretical preoccupations?)
  • Frame’s attentiveness to time and place
  • Frame’s attentiveness to “the marginalised”
  • Creative writing or reading – through of one or more of Frame’s texts
  • Frame’s lineage and legacy in contemporary literature.

Please email abstracts and a short biographical note by 15 June (with notification of acceptance on or before June 30).




Lynley Edmeades or Grace Moore


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