1888 - 1923

“Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.”

 – Katherine Mansfield

Born and raised in colonial New Zealand, Katherine Mansfield was briefly schooled in England before returning home to become a writer. Mansfield returned to London, quickly fell into a bohemian lifestyle, and became pregnant. After breaking up with the father, she hastily married another man, but refused to consummate their marriage – leaving him on their wedding night to begin an affair with Ida Baker. Scandalized, Mansfield’s mother sent her to a Bavarian spa where she miscarried, and began work on her first collection of stories In a German Pension (1911). That same year she met John Middleton Murray and with him published the literary magazine Blue Review (1913) which led to her befriending an array of the day’s literati such as D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf. Soon after marrying Murray in 1918, Mansfield was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Despite her marriage, Mansfield continued her relationship with Ida Baker whom she referred to as her “wife.” Ironically, as her health deteriorated her writing skill seemed to grow stronger. The short story collection Bliss (1920) established hers as a leading voice in the modernist movement and The Garden Party (1923) cemented her reputation. Sadly Mansfield died in 1923 of a fatal pulmonary hemorrhage at age 34. The Dove’s Nest (1923) and Something Childish (1924) were published posthumously along with several volumes of her poetry, journals, letters, and literary criticism. She remains New Zealand’s most famous writer.


Gender Female

Sexual Orientation Bisexual

Gender Identity Cisgender

Ethnicity Caucasian/White

Nations Affiliated New Zealand United Kingdom Belgium Germany

Era/Epoch Progressive Era (1890-1920)

Field(s) of Contribution




Commemorations & Honors

Many New Zealand High Schools Have Houses Named After Mansfield

Mansfield's Birthplace in Wellington Preserved as Katherine Mansfield House and Garden

Street in Menton France Named After Mansfield

The New Zealand Arts Foundation Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship Named in Her Honor

New Zealand Postal Service Commemorative Stamp (1989)

Google Doodle Commemorating Katherine Mansfield's 125th Birthday (2013)

Katherine Mansfield Sculpture Erected by the Wellington Sculpture Trust in New Zealand (2013)


Original Biography Author
Owen Keehnen
Biography Edited By
Victor Salvo
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell