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Academics highlight the ground-breaking work of modernist icon Katherine Mansfield

Two @EdgeHill academics have taken over editorship of the respected Katherine Mansfield Society Critical Journal, Tinakori, and are hoping to draw further attention Mansfield’s often overlooked importance to the Modernist movement.  

Senior Lecturers in English Literature Dr Kym Brindle and Dr Karen D’Souza have been given the joint role in recognition of their own work on Mansfield, who is one of New Zealand’s literature icons.  

The international organisation encourages the worldwide study and enjoyment of Katherine Mansfield’s writing and is a forum for the exchange of information and for research collaboration. 

Dr Brindle said: “We’re very excited to have been given the opportunity to promote the work of Katherine Mansfield. I think it’s fair to say that for a long time she was not as widely known as she should have been but her influence on Modernist literature was huge. Mansfield contributed to a mood of reinvention for literature to create a new, avant-garde writing style. She was a free thinker who constantly challenged the status quo. Although she died young, just 32, she made a lasting impact on the modernist movement.”  

Dr D’Souza adds: “The recent postcolonial turn in Katherine Mansfield studies is a further acknowledgement of how her work has become increasingly recognised for its significant contribution to twentieth-century literature. The critical appreciation of Mansfield as both an integral figure within the London-based Modernist movement and as a major New Zealand (post)colonial writer has produced new insights and helped to introduce her work to a wider audience.” 

The first edition of the journal contains six critical articles on topics including The City, Settler Colonialism, and the Domestic Gothic Uncanny. Also featured is an interview with Professor Kirsty Gunn, who is an internationally published and well-known fiction writer and recipient of the 2015 Edge Hill Short Story Prize. Professor Gunn is also Patron of the Katherine Mansfield Society. 

Kirsty Gunn collecting the 2015 short story prize

In the interview Professor Gunn explains her connection to Mansfield: “For as long as I have been writing, the notion of home – where one lives and feels familiar and belongs has possessed me. My book, My Katherine Mansfield Project, is a meditation upon this very idea.”

Gunn also praised Edge Hill saying, “Being awarded The Edge Hill Short Story Prize was a great thrill and the work done at Edge Hill around short fiction is a gift to us all.” 

Katherine Mansfield is highly regarded in her birth country of New Zealand. In the 1920’s her family were part of New Zealand high society and her father was head of the Bank of New Zealand.  

These days her work is famous across the country as one of their finest literary figures. The Katherine Mansfield Society was in part set up to promote her as New Zealand’s most famous and talented writer, because of this close connection Dr Brindle and Dr D’Souza will imminently have their articles featured in the prestigious Journal of New Zealand Literature

The next edition of Tinakori is in process and will also be edited by Dr Kym Brindle and Dr Karen D’Souza who have chosen the theme ‘love’.

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