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About the Author: Janet Frame

The fate befalling the young woman who wanted "to be a poet" has been well documented. Desperately unhappy because of family tragedies and finding herself trapped in the wrong vocation (as a schoolteacher) her only escape appeared to be in submission to society's judgement of her as abnormal. She spent four and a half years out of eight years, incarcerated in mental hospitals. The story of her almost miraculous survival of the horrors and brutalising treatment in unenlightened institutions has become well known. She continued to write throughout her troubled years, and her first book (The Lagoon and Other Stories) won a prestigious literary prize, thus convincing her doctors not to carry out a planned lobotomy.

She returned to society, but not the one which had labelled her a misfit. She sought the support and company of fellow writers and set out single-mindedly and courageously to achieve her goal of being a writer. She wrote her first novel (Owls Do Cry) while staying with her mentor Frank Sargeson, and then left New Zealand, not to return for seven years.


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The Complete Autobiography by

Goodreads rating: 4.23

Paperback, Published in Mar 2010 by Virago

ISBN10: 1844086232 | ISBN13: 9781844086238

Page count: 523

After being misdiagnosed with schizophrenia as a young woman. Janet Frame spent several years in psychiatric institutions. She escaped undergoing a lobotomy when it was discovered that she had just won a national literary prize. She then went on to become New Zealand's most acclaimed writer. As she says more than once in this autobiography: 'My writing saved me.'

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