Published: Lightning Books (May 2018)

ISBN:  9781785630705

Mansfield and Me

Sarah Laing


A graphic memoir

LONGLISTED: Ockham New Zealand Book Awards

‘I was very taken with Mansfield and Me

Claire Armitstead, The Guardian

The only writer to inspire jealousy in Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield hung out with the modernists, dabbled in Alistair Crowley's druggy occult gatherings and spent her last days in a French commune before dying of tuberculosis at the age of 34.

Having written, ‘Oh to be a writer, a real writer’, she became as famous for her letters and diaries as for her short stories. She is regarded as a literary giant in her native New Zealand, but she had to leave the country to become one.

Sarah Laing wanted to be a real writer too – as famous as Katherine Mansfield, but not as tortured. Mansfield and Me charts her journey towards publication and parenthood against her hero’s dramatic story.

A mix of memoir, biography and fantasy set in London, Paris, New York and New Zealand, it examines how our lives connect to those of our idols.





‘Sarah Laing’s gorgeous, playful drawings and self-deprecating humour lightly mask a complex meditation on writing, celebrity and the conscious construction of self. A very New Zealand coming-of-age story: brilliant, funny, thoughtful and smart’

Dylan Horrocks, author of Hicksville and Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen

‘Sarah Laing is one of the most accomplished graphic artists of her generation. Her knowledge of Katherine Mansfield’s life is exemplary. This is a faultless, pitch-perfect book that made me laugh out loud, whilst also profoundly moving me. She’s a genius. I defy anyone not to enjoy Mansfield and Me

Gerri Kimber, chair, Katherine Mansfield Society

‘A wonderful read – funny and heartfelt. Buy it!’

David Bishop

‘I loved reading about one writer’s life through and beside another writer’s life. Both at times asking similar questions, and having similar fears: Am I in the right place for my writing? Will I have enough time to get my work finished? The book is funny and honest. The author’s potentially competing desires: writing, New York, a baby and the surprising gift of community: friendship, collaboration, support, made for a relevant and heart-warming read’

Lynn Davidson, winner, Poetry New Zealand Poetry Award


‘Absorbing… her watercolour-washed drawings delight us’

Times Literary Supplement

‘I was very taken with Mansfield and Me, which puts Sarah Laing’s life – her efforts to find herself as a writer – alongside the life of Katherine Mansfield, using the vocabulary of graphic art to tell the story’

Claire Armitstead, The Guardian

‘Part biography of Katherine Mansfield, part autobiography, and part account of her nagging insecurity about her own abilities’

New Zealand Herald

‘This book is a fabulous piece of work, and one that will stick around in Mansfield’s oeuvre, ensuring Sarah Laing’s name stays in the public consciousness’

The Reader

‘In Mansfield and Me, Laing explores Mansfield’s life story in tandem with her own: the sexual experimentation, the desire to live and write overseas, the health struggles, the steps towards publication. Sometimes poignant, sometimes funny and fresh, sometimes a stretch, but always compelling and honest’


‘This beautiful new graphic novel charts the life of a brilliant female author. The illustrations are incredible, playful, full of brightness, with a brilliant story’

Rubies for July

‘Not only is the writing captivating, but the imagery to go along with it is stunning’

Tomes with Tea


Read an interview with Sarah Laing about the creative process that led to Mansfield and Me.

Read an interview with Sarah in Comic Scene magazine.


Sarah Laing

Sarah Laing is a fiction writer and graphic artist from New Zealand.

She comes at books from all angles, writing as well as designing and illustrating them. The author of a graphic memoir, two novels and a collection of short stories, she has also illustrated children’s books and designed and co-edited an anthology of New Zealand women’s comics.

In 2013 Sarah was the University of Auckland/Michael King Writers Centre fellow, and there she worked on her graphic memoir, Mansfield and Me. Grappling with Katherine Mansfield’s legacy as New Zealand’s finest short-story writer, she examined her own desire to be a ‘real writer’ in lush watercolour illustrations.

She lives in Wellington and is a mother of three.

Read more about Sarah and her work at