Sarah Taggart

Sarah is writing a madness novel and proposing a 'mad' reading of three iconic Janet Frame works.

Commenced 2020

PhD candidate Sarah Taggart. (Photo by Ebony Lamb.)

Sarah's short stories have appeared in Canadian literary magazines. She holds a BFA from the University of Victoria (in Victoria, Canada) and an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan. She has also worked in book, literary journal, magazine and newspaper publishing.

Sarah's debut novel, a madness narrative entitled Pacifique, was published in Canada and the USA with Coach House Books in October 2022. The book will be released in Aotearoa in February 2023.

Sarah writes: 'The creative part of my project is a madness novel tentatively titled "Reunion Island". The novel will help me to conceptualise the scholarly component of my work by asking how a writer with lived experience authors a mad story.

'My critical research, informed by the burgeoning field of mad studies, aims to explore—and seeks to rectify—sanism in the scholarship on Janet Frame. My scholarly work is situated at the intersection of mad studies and literary studies. Mad studies foregrounds the lived experience of psychiatrisation and madness. I train a mad studies lens on well-studied Janet Frame works—specifically the madness narratives Owls Do Cry, Faces in the Water and An Angel at my Table—and ask: what new insights can we gain by approaching these mad narratives from a theoretical perspective that not only acknowledges but privileges the author's lived experience of (forced) psychiatrisation? Does this approach allow us to counter the ableism and sanism that exists in the current scholarship on Janet Frame? And lastly, how might this mad reading complicate claims that language cannot capture madness and the mad experience?'

Read more:

Sarah's website

Coach House Books: Pacifique

Sarah's interview with Open Book Ontario