Announcing the formation of the Katherine Mansfield Society, president Vincent O’Sullivan says it has been set up to promote and encourage enjoyment of Mansfield’s writing, which influenced a fundamental shift in the way stories are told:
“Katherine Mansfield’s influence is still being felt by writers and readers today, and we want to ensure this recognition continues. She is New Zealand’s greatest writer, and ironically there’s the likelihood of her becoming better known overseas than she is at home.”To that end, he says, while the society is international, with people from England, Ireland, Australia, France and the US involved in its creation, there is a strong New Zealand focus and it is incorporated as a charitable trust here:
“The society will work to ensure Katherine Mansfield is on school and university curricula in New Zealand and overseas and aims to establish a Mansfield memorial in her home town of Wellington. We will also be creating a biennial Katherine Mansfield Society literary scholarship – a Rhodes scholarship for literature, as it were – for work in the modernist sphere.”The society’s founders comprise Mansfield scholars from around the world: among them are Emeritus Professor Angela Smith (UK) and Professor Janet Wilson (UK); Dr Jenny McDonnell (Ireland); Dr Sarah Ailwood (Australia); Professor Larry Mitchell (USA); and, from New Zealand, CK Stead and Dr Sarah Sandley. (The latter is, incidentally, publisher of the Listener.)
The society’s website is intended to become the world’s most comprehensive hub of information on Mansfield. It includes images, literature on Mansfield and downloadable versions of all her short stories. You can join for a mere $70 a year: in return you get three newsletters, a copy of The Annual Journal of Katherine Mansfield Studies and a whole bunch of other stuff.