Who cares about your memoir? Who cares about anything else?
Poet and memoir writer Kate Camp will give this year's Frank Sargeson Memorial lecture at the University of Waikato.
Kate starting writing memoir when she was in France on the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship in 2017 and found it raised lots of questions; about fact and fiction, ethics and ego, what one hides and what one chooses to reveal. Her Waikato lecture follows on from that asking why bother with memoir at all?
"Who could possibly be interested in the lino of my childhood kitchen, or the throat-catch feeling of my first cigarette?" asks Kate.
"And yet, other than memory, what are we? What could be more fascinating, more profound, than the grains of human detail that make up any one existence? In this lecture I will circle around these questions, through the lens of my own work, and the work of other New Zealand writers.”
With her trademark mix of intellect and irreverence, she considers whether memoir writing is a symptom of modern self-obsession, or a profound way to access what it means to be human.
The Annual Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture hosted jointly by the University of Waikato and the Friends of Hamilton Public Library commemorates one of New Zealand's most important writers.
Frank Sargeson was born in London Street, Hamilton in 1903. He trained as a solicitor and travelled in Europe before settling in Takapuna on Auckland's North Shore, where he devoted his life to his writing, to his garden, and to mentoring younger writers: most famously, Janet Frame wrote her first novel Owls Do Cry in an army hut in his back garden. More than any other writer, Sargeson captured a working-class New Zealand vernacular, and the society that gave rise to it. His influential and quintessentially Kiwi work was published around the world.
The 16th Annual Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture
Monday 10th September, 2018
Lecture begins 5.30pm. Light refreshments to follow, from 6.30pm
S.1.04 - S Block, University of Waikato
Speakers to date have included:
- 2016 – Elizabeth Knox
Elizabeth Knox is the author of twelve novels, three autobiographical novellas and a collection of essays. Knox is best known for The Vintner’s Luck and The Dreamhunter Duet. She is an awardee of the Michael King Writer's Fellowship.
- 2015 – Murray Edmond
Hamilton-born Murray Edmond is one of New Zealand’s best-known poets. Edmond has published 13 books of poems.
- 2014 – Catherine Chidgey
Catherine Chidgey’s first three novels received local and international acclaim. After a thirteen-year hiatus, New Zealand-born Chidgey returned with her fourth novel, The Wish Child, leading her to receive the 2017 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize.
- 2013 – Professor Vincent O'Sullivan
Professor Vincent O'Sullivan, DCNZM, is a poet, short story writer, novelist, playwright, critic and editor. He was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2000.
- 2012 – Dr John Newton
Poet, critic and literary historian Dr John Newton received high acclaim with his book, The Double Rainbow: James K. Baxter, Ngati Hau and the Jerusalem Commune. In 2014, Newton was the University of Waikato writer in residence.
- 2011 – Ian Wedde
Ian Wedde, ONZM, is a poet, novelist, art curator, fiction writer and critic. Wedde was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2010.
- 2010 – Owen Marshall
Owen Marshall, CNZM, is a leading New Zealand fiction writers. In 2012, Marshall became a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
- 2009 – Dr Elizabeth Aitken Rose
Elizabeth Aitken Rose is the Head of the School of Architecture and Planning at The University of Auckland.