Christine Cole-Catley and Frank Sargeson. Photo / John Reece Cole, c1950. PAColl-7280-01. Alexander Turnbull Library.

The Sargeson Swerve: A Literary Life on Esmonde Road

FreeAccessibleNorth Auckland

Saturday 30 September - Sunday 15 October, Monday noon-5pm, Tuesday - Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 11am-3pm


Vernacular Lounge, Depot Artspace

28 Clarence Street, Devonport

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No bookings required



Writer Frank Sargeson lived at 14 Esmonde Road 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.

Once located in a quiet backwater, the little fibrolite bach on Esmonde Road was later overrun by a congested onramp for the Auckland Harbour Bridge from the 1950's.

Using artefacts such as the quilt made for Sargeson by Janet Frame, paintings, sculpture, film, images and writing, this exhibition examines Sargeson’s influence on the development of New Zealand literature played out against the backdrop of Esmonde Road and the expanding city.

Even after Frank’s death the story continued. During later road widening, allowance had to be made for Frank’s ashes scattered in the front garden of the house.

This was known to the traffic engineers as ‘The Sargeson Swerve’.

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