The Selected Letters of Frank Sargeson

Sarah Shieff

Publication Cover

Frank Sargeson (1903-1982) is one of New Zealand's best-loved and most significant authors, widely regarded as the father of modern New Zealand fiction. Although best known for his short stories, Sargeson was also a playwright and an acclaimed novelist, and his three-volume memoir is a classic of New Zealand literary non-fiction. Beyond that, however, Sargeson was a dedicated champion and mentor of other New Zealand writers - most notably of Maurice Duggan, Janet Frame, AP Gaskell, Kevin Ireland and CK Stead - and a careful and copious correspondent.

His letters document life at the epicentre of New Zealand literary culture, and also record the international literary associations which were instrumental in taking New Zealand writing to the world stage. Letters of Frank Sargeson (Auckland: Vintage, 2012) presents 500 of the surviving 6000 letters, carefully contextualised and annotated.

The earliest is a postcard from Paris written in 1927; the last is a letter to his dear friend Janet Frame, written shortly before his death. This scholarly edition also explains the selection process and sources, and gives biographical notes on Sargeson’s key correspondents, examples of his typescript and manuscript, and a full bibliography.

Random House NZ Vintage (Feb, 2012)

ISBN: 9781869793333

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