At the conclusion of the Friends of Randell Cottage AGM on Wednesday 25 May, President Leslie Brown welcomed Rose Lu, the current writer-in-residence at the Cottage, and directed the conversation with some probing questions.
Her project while at the Cottage is her debut novel with NZ Chinese characters in an intergenerational situation set in a past era.
Rose shared her various challenges in starting her major creative writing journey on this topic. In response, writers and members of the Friends’ audience, including Dame Fiona Kidman and Maggie Rainey-Smith, offered encouragement and support, describing their own experiences and endorsing Rose’s decisions based on her ‘trial and error’ approach in the early stages of writing, while aiming to write 20,000 words a month.
Dame Fiona reassured her that it was good not to feel that you had to meet a certain target or plan. She considered that to do research first was useful, leaving the creative side freer when the writing part started.
Rose’s reading of her rock-climbing/bouldering piece was highly amusing and expressed relevant things in a novel way, containing also the concept of developing simple friendship and elevating this activity to an extreme sport now followed by many.
This was seen as altogether a refreshing conversation with an inspiring young and talented writer who views the creation of ‘identity’ as a key ingredient of her trade.