The Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship: Background information when reading In the Memorial Room

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

In the Memorial Room

by Janet Frame

In the Memorial Room by Janet Frame X
In the Memorial Room by Janet Frame
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Dec 2013, 208 pages
    Dec 2014, 208 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Suzanne Reeder

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
The Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship

Print Review

Katherine Mansfield In Janet Frame's posthumously published novel In the Memorial Room, New Zealand writer Harry Gill is awarded the annual Watercress-Armstrong Fellowship, which affords him the opportunity to work and live for six months in Menton, France. This novel is based on Frame's own experiences in Menton as a Katherine Mansfield Fellow in 1974. One of New Zealand's most prestigious literary awards, the Mansfield Fellowship—currently the New Zealand Post Mansfield Prize—has supported many notable writers for more than 40 years.

Katherine Mansfield was born as Kathleen Beauchamp in Wellington, New Zealand in 1888. She died of tuberculosis in France in 1923. Known primarily for her short fiction, her collections include In a German Pension and The Garden Party. During the First World War she contracted tuberculosis. In 1919 and 1920 she spent long periods in Menton on the Côte d'Azur, believing the climate would be beneficial to her health. During her stays, Mansfield lived and wrote at the Villa Isola Bella. Currently, the villa comprises privately owned apartments. A room in the basement is furnished as a study and is reserved for Mansfield fellows.

Villa Isolabella Since 1970 one fellow from New Zealand has been chosen every year. Young adult fiction writer Mandy Hager was announced as the 2014 fellow. She received NZ $75,000 in prize money. The financial award and French setting are intended to support and inspire established and mid-career writers while they develop future work, far from the constraints of usual job and life commitments. Past recipients include Dame Fiona Kidman, Justin Paton, and Greg McGee.

In 1999 more than 20 Mansfield fellows read aloud the letters they wrote to the iconic author in a standing-room-only celebration in Wellington. These letters were published in the 2000 book As Fair as New Zealand to Me.

Though the current room for fellows is described as being equipped with its own separate entrance and facilities, Frame had less than ideal conditions during her stay in Menton. The room where she worked had no running water or toilet facilities. There were also delays in receiving her fellowship payments. Yet, in spite of (or due to) these difficulties, Frame managed to artfully exploit these frustrations in In The Memorial Room.

To learn more about Janet Frame, read the 'Beyond the Book' for The Memory of Love.

Article by Suzanne Reeder

This article was originally published in February 2014, and has been updated for the December 2014 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Women & Power
    Women & Power
    by Mary Beard
    The treatise Women & Power: A Manifesto discusses a scene in Homer's Odyssey in which Odysseus&...
  • Book Jacket: Speak No Evil
    Speak No Evil
    by Uzodinma Iweala
    Young Nigerian American writer Uzodinma Iweala is fast becoming known as a powerful chronicler of ...
  • Book Jacket: Winter
    by Ali Smith
    "God was dead; to begin with." This first sentence of Winter perfectly sets up the dreamy journey ...
  • Book Jacket: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    by Atia Abawi

    When you're a refugee, everyone has lost, at least for the time being... And the journey ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Anatomy of a Miracle
    by Jonathan Miles

    A stunning novel that offers an exploration of faith, science and the meaning of life.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One N U G

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.