An Angel at My Table

by Janet Frame

adapted by Anita Sullivan

Janet Frame



'An Angel at My Table' is the three volume autobiography of New Zealand writer Janet Frame. In her lifetime, Janet published eleven novels, four collections of short stories, and poems. Her first book 'The Lagoon and Other Stories' won the prestigious Hubert Church Prose Award: numerous other awards followed. She went on to receive both an ONZ and CBE for services to literature.

Her body of work is often overshadowed by her lifestory. She grew up in 1950's South Island, where the pressures of family life and expectations caused her to have a breakdown. The breakdown led to hospitalisation, hospitalisation to a misdiagnosis of Schizophrenia. She wrote her autobiography to set the record straight and separate her literature from her life... her fictions from her private person.

This adaptation is the story of her childhood and the hospital years, but more importantly her futher travels, recovery from trauma and entry into the life of a writer and international recognition.

'An Angel at My Table' is a Sweet Talk production, directed by Karen Rose. Starring Lorraine Ashbourne, Barbara Ewing and Anna Skellern. To be broadcast January 13th 2013.

Duration: 2 x 1 hour episodes


[A montage of recalled voices and music weaves around Janet's narration]

JANET [Narration]    From the first place of liquid darkness, within the second place of air and light, I set down the following record. It is a mixture of fact and truths, and memories of truths... and its direction is always towards the Third Place, where the starting point is myth.

Ms BOTTING   Tell the truth.

AUNT ISY     Such a lovely girl, no trouble at all.

MOTHER       Only the poets know, kiddies, only the poets...

MYRTLE (13)  ‘I met at Eve the Prince of Sleep’

JOHN FORREST When I think of you, I think of Van Gogh, Hugo Wolf...

NURSE        We’ll teach you, Miss Educated!

JANET        Il y avait une fois.

EDWIN        I hope you know what you’re doing.

MS BOTTING   Tell me the truth!

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