Janet Frame was born in Dunedin in 1924. She was the author of eleven novels, five collections of stories, a volume of poetry and a children's book. She was a Burns Scholar and a Sargeson Fellow and won the New Zealand Scholarship in Letters and the Hubert Church Award for Prose. She was made a CBE in 1983 for services to literature, awarded an honorary doctorate of literature from Otago University in 1978, and one from Waikato University in 1992. She received New Zealand's highest civil honour in 1990 when she was made a Member of the Order of New Zealand. Janet Frame died in January 2004.
For fans of Janet Frame's work, Towards Another Summer will be another encounter with a much-loved friend. Those unfamiliar with this brilliant and eccentric New Zealander, as famous for her traumatic life story as for her crystalline prose, might start here. Janet Frame wrote this slender novel in 1963, during her seven-year sojourn in London. It's a highly personal work that she did not want published until after her death. Frame's London output was prolific, and she was developing a more international view of the world, but her life-long obsession with privacy is evident. Grace Cleave, living in her soot-streaked flat, struggles with the demands of social convention and fulfilling others' expectations. Becoming known as a writer, she feels she should be able to converse in person as wittily as she does in her work, but is defeated by mundane interactions such as a country weekend with acquaintances. Grace is also feeling the pull of her native New Zealand-she is transforming into a migratory bird. Reminiscences of her poverty-ridden childhood contrast the intensity and lyricism of childhood perceptions with the stultifying conformity of the adult world. Frame's treasure-house of personal metaphor transforms a meditation on exile and return into something singular, knowing and wickedly funny. Kathy Hope is a former trade editor who now works in medical publishing