Janet Frame Literary Trust Awards


"Writing Saved My Life"

Janet Frame, who died in 2004, bequeathed her copyright to the Janet Frame Literary Trust and directed that the ongoing income from her endowment fund be used to give grants to New Zealand writers of poetry and imaginative prose. She herself had benefited from the boost given by similar often timely financial assistance and professional recognition throughout her long career. Janet Frame was the recipient of many awards, prizes, grants, fellowships and scholarships, none more well-timed than the PEN-sponsored Hubert Church Memorial award for prose given in 1952 for her first book, The Lagoon and other stories. The award was at that time NZ's major literary award for prose (Frank Sargeson had won it in 1951) and was worth 25 pounds. 


The publicity for this honour was noticed by Janet Frame's doctor at Seacliff Hospital, where she had been committed and was reluctantly scheduled to undergo a planned lobotomy. Dr Geoffrey Blake-Palmer showed her the newspaper report and said "I've decided that you should stay as you are. I don't want you changed." It was a narrow escape. The brain surgery would in all likelihood have ended her literary aspirations.


Newspaper report as it appeared in the Dunedin Evening Star in December 1952


About the Janet Frame Literary Trust Awards


The Janet Frame Literary Trust Awards were established in 2005. Awards are given to selected New Zealand authors annually or biennially as funds allow. The Trust occasionally gives grants to literary organisations that directly benefit New Zealand writers.


2023 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry


essa may ranapiri $7,000


2023 Janet Frame Literary Trust Grant for a Literary Organisation


Janet Frame House Visitor Centre $3,000


2022 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Imaginative Prose


John Summers $7,000


2021 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry


Siobhan Harvey $5,000


2019 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Imaginative Prose

Stevan Eldred-Grigg by Gareth Watkins web.jpg

Stevan Eldred-Grigg $5,000


2017 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Fiction

Catherine Chidgey by Helen Mayall.jpg

Catherine Chidgey $5,000


2015 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry

David Eggleton by Liz March.jpg

David Eggleton $5,000


2014 Janet Frame Literary Trust Grant for a Literary Organisation


Katherine Mansfield Fellowship Fund $3,000


2013 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry

Tusiata Avia web.jpg

Tusiata Avia $5,000


2011 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry


Alan Loney $10,000

Poet, printer and editor Alan Loney was the 2011 recipient of a Janet Frame Literary Trust Award worth $10,000. Alan Loney is a New Zealander who has lived in Melbourne, Australia in recent years, although retaining strong literary ties on both sides of the Tasman. Born in 1940, Loney's first book of poetry was published in 1971. He won a NZ Book Award for his 1976 collection dear Mondrian. US poet Robert Creeley said of the collection Sidetracks: Notebooks 1976-1991, that "Alan Loney's work has always been at the cutting edge of world literature. His mastery has become a resource for us all."
Chair of the Janet Frame Literary Trust Pamela Gordon said, 'These awards are made possible by Janet Frame's generous bequest of an endowment fund, and they're offered in her spirit of wanting to give encouragement and financial support to established writers of proven merit, who may be overdue for some recognition or reward." Alan Loney declared himself "astonished, delighted, honoured and somewhat moved" to receive the prize, and he also said "how nourishing the news about the Award is, and how confirming it seems for such a life's work that I have had".

Alongside an influential career as printer, editor and publisher, Loney has an extensive bibliography of his own poetry and prose published in many countries. He has four titles forthcoming in 2011: Anne of the Iron Door (a novella from Black Pepper Press, Melbourne) as well as three new poetry volumes with Rubicon Press (Canada), Ninja Press (California) and Chax Press (Arizona). The Falling: A Memoir was released by Auckland University Press in 2001. 

Further information and bibliographies may be found on Alan Loney's website for his fine Press ElectioEditionshttp://www.electioeditions.com. Alan Loney also maintains a blog: Electio Editions.

2009: Celebrating Janet Frame's 85th Birthday

Two awards worth $10,000 were given in 2009. In making the announcement Janet Frame Literary Trust chair Pamela Gordon made the point that both this year's award recipients were highly regarded for their poetry as well as for their fiction, something they had in common with Janet Frame who had written bestselling collections of poetry as well as the prizewinning fiction that had made her famous.

2009 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry

cochrane.jpgGeoff Cochrane $10,000

Geoff Cochrane is best known as a poet with many highly regarded collections to his name, most recently Pocket Edition (VUP 2009) and The Worm in the Tequila (VUP 2010). He has also published two novels, including Tin Nimbus which was a regional finalist for the 1996 Commonwealth Best First Book Prize. Geoff said, "This is of course a great honour, and it's wonderful to have my name mentioned in the same sentence as Janet Frame's."



2009 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Fiction



Alison Wong $10,000

Alison Wong is known for her poetry as well as for her fiction. She is a graduate of Bill Manhire's Original Composition class at Victoria University. She has held the Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago. Her volume of poetry Cup was shortlisted for the Best First Book for Poetry at the 2007 Montana NZ Book Awards.

Alison said, "As a child, Owls Do Cry was the first book I read that opened my eyes to the beauty and emotional/imaginative power of literature, so this prize from Janet Frame's estate and in her honour is particularly meaningful to me."

Alison Wong's latest book is her debut novel As the Earth Turns Silver (Penguin 2009).


2008 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry


Rhian Gallagher $10,000

Timaru poet Rhian Gallagher was named as the recipient of the 2008 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award. Gallagher received a $10,000 grant from the endowment fund set up by Janet Frame to benefit New Zealand writers.

Janet Frame Literary Trust chair Pamela Gordon said 'Rhian Gallagher is a highly original poet whose well-crafted work has attracted praise both in the UK and in New Zealand. Now that she has settled back in her home country, she could do with some more recognition here, so the Frame trustees are pleased to acknowledge her talent and give some tangible support for her career.'

Bill Manhire added his endorsement: 'I first knew Rhian Gallagher when she was in a workshop with a bunch of other formidable young writers: Jenny Bornholdt, Ken Duncum, Elizabeth Knox. Those three are famous now, while Rhian is one of the quiet, astonishing secrets of New Zealand writing - perhaps because she has spent so many recent years out of the country, perhaps because her one book of poems, Salt Water Creek, was published by the Enitharmon Press in London. Those poems, though, are full of New Zealand -- its pines and paddocks and 'wild and unprotected light'. Some of them - 'The Quiet Place', 'Backyard', and especially the poems of childhood - remind me of work by Janet Frame.'

Gallagher's response: 'The award came out of the blue; I'm in the midst of working on my second collection of poetry so the timing is great. The money will buy some time and the award itself is a real encouragement. I have been an admirer of Frame's poetry for years so there is this good feeling to it also. As a poet, Frame definitely ploughed her own furrow.'

Rhian Gallagher was born in Timaru in 1961. After completing Bill Manhire's composition course at Victoria University in 1985, she moved to London in 1987. Her first poetry collection, Salt Water Creek, was published in the UK in 2003, and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Gallagher returned to New Zealand in 2005 and is currently living in Timaru. During 2007 she worked on a project, in conjunction with the South Canterbury Museum, researching and writing a text on Jack Adamson's glass plate photography. She received an award from the Canterbury History Foundation. Gallagher is currently working on her second collection of poetry.

2007 Janet Frame Literary Trust Grant for a Literary Organisation


NZ Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc) $15,000

NZSA Janet Frame Memorial Award

Emma Neale 2008

Tim Jones 2010

Diane Brown 2012

Elizabeth Smither 2014

Laurence Fearnley 2016

The New Zealand Society of Authors (formerly known as PEN NZ) was allocated the 2007 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award "for a literary organisation that directly benefits NZ writers". Janet Frame trustee Denis Harold presented a cheque for $15,000 to Liz Allen, the Director of the Society of Authors, as part of a day-long programme for the launch of New Zealand Book Month. The presentation took place after an inaugural Janet Frame Memorial Lecture which was given by Owen Marshall at The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington at 3pm on Sunday the 2nd of September 2007. 

In a strange twist of fate Janet Frame's own new book of poetry The Goose Bath, which she had been working on before her death, in July 2007 won a $5,000 prize at the Montana NZ Book Awards. The poetry volume had been published within two years of her death, a period of grace which has seen at least three recently deceased authors since 2004, claim posthumous prize money at the NZ Book awards (the Montana awards recognise the best work published in the previous year).

The main focus of the Janet Frame Literary Trust Awards is in supporting established writers to produce quality work in the future, and the generous grant from Janet Frame's Estate will enable the Society of Authors to make a plan on a ten year scale, to establish a biennial award in Janet Frame's memory. The suitability of such an award is self-evident, given the history and mutually beneficial relationship between the Society of Authors and Janet Frame, who was a past Honorary President of PEN (NZ) and a life member of the society. The award was named 'The NZSA Janet Frame Memorial Award' and the 5 recipients are named above.

2006 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Fiction


O.E. Middleton $10,000

Dunedin fiction writer O. E. (Ted) Middleton is of Janet Frame's literary generation. As young authors they were both mentored by Frank Sargeson in Auckland in the 1950s and later mixed in Dunedin literary circles. Frame once said "O.E. Middleton is a fine writer... He's the only NZ writer who has made me weep over a story - one called The Stone in a volume of that title". Middleton has won several awards including the Hubert Church Award, the Burns Fellowship, and his Selected Stories shared first prize for Fiction in the New Zealand Book Awards in 1976. He says that receiving the Janet Frame award is a "great honour", and that he has fond memories of spending time with Janet Frame. "I really enjoyed her company", he said, even though the first time he met her she had seemed "incredibly shy". Middleton is currently working on a Collected Edition of his stories and intends to use part of the grant for a transfer of his earlier type-written work into a computer-readable format. 
Janet Frame Literary Trust board member Professor Lawrence Jones said "In over 60 short stories and novellas published in eight collections, Middleton has made his own distinct and distinguished contribution to the New Zealand tradition of critical realism. He found his voice and mode early and has stuck to them in building up a moving gallery of mostly social outsiders who are sympathetically understood, with the author standing beside his characters rather than condescending to them. In plain, controlled language, rich in sense impressions, he has created his own vividly realized world that reveals much about ours".

2005 Inaugural Janet Frame Literary Trust Awards


The 2005 award announcement was held at the former Frame family home at 56 Eden Street Oamaru, on the 28th August 2005. The celebration had whimsical aspects, including a birthday cake shared for afternoon tea.

The Janet Frame Literary Trust and the Janet Frame House Trust took the opportunity at the joint gathering to publicise their different roles in promoting and caring for Janet Frame's legacy. The Janet Frame House Trust has been gifted the Oamaru House by courtesy of public funds and their development plans include the house being open to the public in the summer and available for writing programmes in the winter. The Janet Frame Literary Trust was established by Janet Frame to administer her literary estate; the Literary Trust controls Janet Frame copyright and makes the Janet Frame Awards from the net proceeds of Janet Frame's endowment fund.

2005 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry


Peter Olds $10,000

Veteran poet Peter Olds received the first JFLT Award for Poetry. He was presented with a $10,000 grant from Janet Frame's bequest.

In a Listener Review of It Was a Tuesday Morning: Selected Poems 1972-2001, critic David Eggleton described Peter Olds as 'an old master already; one who has kept the faith'... 'He's a poet of delicate perceptions robustly expressed; standing at a slight angle to the universe, he offers us lovingly attentive accounts of his way of experiencing that universe'. Peter Olds is somewhat of a legend as the V8 poet of the 70s, addressed by James K Baxter in his 'Letter to Peter Olds' which has sparked a sub-genre of NZ Lit, of poetic 'letters to Peter Olds'. Peter Olds was a Burns fellow in 1978. After some years of silence, he has recently returned to performing and publishing his poetry and the Trustees are pleased to recognise and encourage his contribution to NZ writing.

2005 Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Fiction


Kelly Ana Morey $10,000

Northland author Kelly Ana Morey received the inaugural JFLT Award for a writer of imaginative prose. She was given a $10,000 grant.

Her first novel Bloom also won the Hubert Church Memorial Award. Her second novel Grace is Gone was short listed for the prestigious 2005 Kiriyama Prize. Kelly Ana Morey is talented and enthusiastic, and is dedicated to working hard to achieve her ambitions. Janet Frame was fond of repeating the old saying that so-called 'literary genius' was perhaps the result of 1% inspiration, but no novel writing could be achieved without the 99% perspiration: the writing of long fiction is hard work, time-consuming and often involves considerable financial sacrifice. The Trustees were happy to encourage Kelly Ana Morey in her chosen career. Since she received the JFLT Award Kelly Ana Morey has published her third novel On an Island, With Consequences Dire as well as a short memoir entitled How To Read a Book.

Janet Frame Literary Trust Grant for a Literary Organisation

jf desk iiml.jpg

2005 IIML Scholarship Fund $10,000

The International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) was established "to promote and foster contemporary imaginative writing". Victoria University of Wellington hosts the New Zealand headquarters.

In 2005 the JFLT Trustees responded to the "million dollar challenge" proposed by philanthropist Glen Schaeffer, in which he matched every donated NZ dollar to the IIML scholarship fund with a US dollar. The JFLT donated $10,000. Happily, the IIML later reported that the NZ $1,000,000 challenge had been met within the time limit. The fund is to be used to support graduates of the Victoria University creative writing school to prepare their work for publication.

Janet Frame had many social and professional connections within the Wellington area and her relationship with the IIML was a warm one. The IIML headquarters is the proud home of the former 'Landfall desk' Frame owned for many years after being given it by her friend Charles Brasch, poet and longtime Landfall editor. 

Professor Bill Manhire, director of the Victoria University graduate writing school and eminent poet, co-edited Janet Frame's posthumous volume of poetry, The Goose Bath, first published in 2006.