Annual Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture

The Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture, hosted jointly by the University of Waikato and the Friends of Hamilton Public Library, commemorates the personal and literary legacy of one of New Zealand's most important writers. Frank Sargeson was born in Hamilton in 1903, and devoted his life to literature, and to mentoring other writers. Best known for his short stories, Sargeson was also a playwright and a novelist, and his three-volume memoir is a classic of New Zealand literary non-fiction.

Speakers to date have included Christine Cole Catley, Kevin Ireland, Lawrence Jones, Michael King, Graeme Lay, Owen Marshall, John Newton, Elizabeth Aitken Rose, Ian Wedde, Peter Wells, Vincent O'Sullivan, Catherine Chidgey and Murray Edmond. The 2018 lecture was presented by poet Kate Camp, and the 2019 lecture by cartoonist and writer Dylan Horrocks.

ONLINE - 18th Annual Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture

Date Wednesday 13 October 2021
Time 5:45pm - 7:15pm
Where Online -
Admission Cost Free
The winners are usually announced at the Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture, but due to the ongoing social distancing requirements we will hold a virtual announcement event this year, featuring short readings from each of our winners.

Join this event online

You can watch the replay of the event here

From fiction to fact: how writing a memoir changed my brain

In this paper, Charlotte Grimshaw will talk about the personal and literary background to her recent memoir The Mirror Book. “Writing the memoir was an attempt to find out who I was. I had no idea what I was like, and what was my real self. I’d always been able to imagine my way into other people’s experiences in order to write fiction, but I seemed to inhabit a self that was in some sense a false front, and I wondered whether this was linked to a life lived in the midst of fiction. So the writing and research became a forensic examination, and an attempt to integrate and construct a real self.”

Charlotte Grimshaw - Charlotte Grimshaw is the author of seven critically acclaimed novels, two outstanding collections of linked short stories and a memoir, The Mirror Book. She has been awarded the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship and is a winner of the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Award. Her story collection Opportunity was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Prize, and won New Zealand’s premier Montana Award for Fiction, along with the Montana Medal for Book of the Year. She has won a Qantas media award for her columns, and was the 2018, 2019 and 2021 Voyager Media Awards Reviewer of the Year. Her bestselling novels The Night Book and Soon have been made into the TV miniseries The Bad Seed.

Sargeson Prize - At this year’s lecture we will announce the winners of the Sargeson Prize short story competition. The Sargeson Prize is sponsored by the University of Waikato and was conceived by writer Catherine Chidgey. This year’s chief judge is Patricia Grace. The competition received almost 1000 entries, and with the first-place winner receiving $6000, it is New Zealand’s richest short story prize. The winning stories will be published by Newsroom in its literary section ReadingRoom.

Co-hosted by Friends of Hamilton Public Libraries

Photo credit: Jane Ussher