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Depot Artspace celebrates NZ literary legend Frank Sargeson

Depot Artspace celebrates New Zealand literary legend Frank Sargeson in The Sargeson Swerve.

‘That tiny fibrolite dwelling, set in the subsistence garden that Frank cultivated like a small farm, became a literary kingdom entirely without guards or frontiers and where the only cards of identity were books’.

- Under the Bridge & Over the Moon, Kevin Ireland -

The Sargeson Swerve: A literary life on Esmonde Road examines Frank Sargeson’s influence on the development of New Zealand literature as it played out against the backdrop of Esmonde Road and the ever expanding city of Auckland.

Sargeson lived at 14 Esmonde Road, Takapuna from 1931 until his death in 1982. Here he created a literary oasis where writers lived, worked and partied. It has been said that this was where New Zealand literature was born. The little fibrolite bach is located on Esmonde Road, once a quiet backwater, but now (from the 1950s onwards) a congested on-ramp for the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

The Sargeson Swerve brings together a collection of Sargeson’s artefacts from his infamous bach, paintings of the bach interior by artist Graham Downs, as well as sculpture, film, photographs and of course, Sargeson’s books.

Even after Sargeson’s death the story continued. During later road construction, allowance had to be made for Sargeson’s ashes scattered in the front garden of the house. This was known to the traffic engineers as, ‘The Sargeson Swerve’.

The Sargeson Swerve is part of the Auckland Heritage Festival 2017 and officially opens on Thursday October 5 2017, from 5:30pm - 7:00pm at Depot Artspace.

The opening event will feature guest speakers and readers including: Elizabeth Aitken Rose, Chair of the Sargeson Trust, Poet C. K. Stead and others yet to be announced.

Alongside the exhibition is a call out for entries for the Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship, New Zealand’s leading literary fellowship. Established in 1987, the Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship enables New Zealand writers, both here and overseas, to focus on their writing full-time by providing an annual stipend of $20,000 and tenure at the Sargeson Centre in Auckland*.

Entries for the Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship close on Friday October 6, more details can be found here.

Depot Artspace is excited to display this beautiful collection of New Zealand literary history, and draw attention to an influential author who has been fundamental in shaping our unique New Zealand vernacular.

The Sargeson Swerve: A literary life on Esmonde Road is on display from Saturday September 30 - Thursday October 19 in the Vernacular Lounge, Depot Artspace, 28 Clarence Street, Devonport.


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