As a Katherine Mansfield fellow in 1974, the acclaimed New Zealand writer Janet Frame lived and worked in Menton, France. Drawing from these experiences, she wrote In the Memorial Room, a strange and wickedly funny novel that satirizes hero worship of a dead, iconic writer.
Frame would not allow it to be published during her lifetime, perhaps fearing certain people would recognize themselves in her unflattering portrayals. She went on to write several other books and died in 2004 at the age of 79.
Frame left In the Memorial Room to be published posthumously. In the novel, a 33-year-old historical fiction writer named Harry Gill is Janet Frame's equivalent. The exalted dead writer for whom the fellowship is awarded is an internationally known poet, the fictional Margaret Rose Hurndell. And the award itself is called the "Watercress-Armstrong Fellowship," named for its two principal ...
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