The autobiography of Janet Frame, dramatised for radio by Anita Sullivan.
Frame was New Zealand's best known but least public writer. The author of 12 novels, four story collections, one book of poetry and three volumes of autobiography, even at the height of her success Frame shunned publicity - which had the effect of making the media and her readership even more intrusively interested. It was the issue of her mental health which generated the most conjecture.
In her twenties she spent four and a half years in mental hospitals and was wrongly diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her writing saved her; the success of her first collection of short stories (The Lagoon and Other Stories) convincing doctors that she did not need a planned lobotomy.
To "set the record straight" about the circumstances of her committal to mental hospitals, in the early 80's Janet Frame wrote her autobiography; three volumes entitled 'To The Is-land (1982) An Angel At My Table and The Envoy From Mirror City (both 1984). It was after the publication of "An Angel At My Table", at a time when several of her books had gone out of print, that Frame's literary status was cemented.
An Angel At My Table Episode 2 of 2
In episode two, after a failed suicide attempt, Janet agrees to a short period in hospital to recuperate. But the arrival of her mother to take her home triggers a reaction in Janet that will have calamitous repercussions for years to come.
All other roles were played by members of the cast.
With thanks to Houghton Valley School and Wellington High School, New Zealand.
Adapted for radio by Anita Sullivan
Music - Simon Russell
Sound design - David Thomas
Productions assistants -Sarah Tombling and Kathy Caton
Associate producer - Andrew Foster (New Zealand)
Producer/Director - Karen Rose
A Sweet Talk Production for BBC Radio 4.