Rose Lu shares writing experiences at the Friends AGM

Rose Lu shares writing experiences at the Friends AGM

A side-on view of a woman with long black hair sitting at a desk working on her computer.
Photo courtesy of Rose Lu

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.

A rich and ongoing connection: French residency 2023 opens for applications

A rich and ongoing connection: French residency 2023 opens for applications

At last, we can celebrate the return of our French writers in residence! After a two-year break because of Covid-19 border restrictions, Randell Cottage looks forward to welcoming a new French writer in 2023.

Check out the application details and criteria here. Applications close on 10 July 2022.

Founding trustee and Trustee Emerita, Dame Fiona Kidman, is a fervent supporter of literary exchanges between France and New Zealand, saying: “The annual Randell Cottage Writers residency has provided the opportunity for an esteemed French writer to live and work in New Zealand for the past twenty years. This has had immense cultural benefits for Wellington, and for the wider New Zealand writing community. We have developed close friendships and enhanced our understanding of each other’s cultures in deep and meaningful ways. These new friendships have often led to reciprocal visits to France by local writers and return visits from many of the French writers, so that it is a rich and ongoing connection.”

Do you know someone who fits the bill?  Please pass on the application details.

Former Randell Cottage resident wins top prize at Ockham Book Awards

Former Randell Cottage resident wins top prize at Ockham Book Awards

2022 Ockham Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction Winner

Congratulations to Whiti Hereaka, who has won the $60,000 2022 Ockham Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction announced on 11 May.

Her novel Kurangaituku is described by the judges as an epic poem of a novel, resonant of Māori oral traditions that gives a voice, form and name to the bird-woman from the myth ‘Hatupatu and the Bird-woman’. Whiti was a writer-in-residence at the Randell Cottage in 2007.

Friends of Randell Cottage AGM on 25 May

Friends of Randell Cottage AGM on 25 May

The Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Randell Cottage will take place on Wednesday 25 May from 11 am at the Alliance Française, 3rd floor Dominion Building, corner of Mercer and Victoria Streets.

President Leslie Brown encourages members and interested attendees to come along to mark the 20th year since the first Randell Cottage writer-in-residence moved into the Cottage in 2002.

The current New Zealand Resident, Rose Lu, will be the guest speaker.

Please RSVP to or call Robyn on (04) 476 4823 evenings by 20 May.


  1. Welcome
  2. Apologies
  3. Quorum: 10 people
  4. Receive and approve the Minutes of the 27 July 2021, Annual General Meeting of Friends of the Randell Cottage Writers’ Trust
  5. Matters arising from the Minutes
  6. Receive and consider the Annual Report from the FRC Committee Chair
  7. Receive and consider the Annual Financial Statements from the Treasurer
  8. Receive and consider the following recommendation from the Committee of the annual subscriptions for the year (2023/24): that subscriptions for 2022/23 remain at $15.00 for seniors/students, $30.00 for individuals, $45.00 for families and $60.00 for businesses as set at the 2020 AGM.
  9. The election of the Officers of the Society:
    President: Leslie Brown is prepared to stand as President again.
    Treasurer: Nominations for a Treasurer are welcome.
    Secretary: Robyn Skrzynska is prepared to stand as Secretary again.
  10. The election of at least three Ordinary Members of the Executive Committee.
    In accordance with the Rules, the Trust has the ability to select two members.
    Susan Stevens, Dame Fiona Kidman and Tim Gruar have expressed willingness to be nominated as ordinary members of the Committee again.
    Note: Any other nominations for President, Treasurer and Committee, with details of seconders and evidence of the willingness of the nominee to serve, should be emailed to the Secretary : in advance of the meeting.
  11. Any other business:
    The business part of the meeting will be followed by a conversation with our Randell Cottage resident NZ writer, Rose Lu.

Coffee, tea and juice will be served at the end of the meeting.

Sir Vincent O’Sullivan KNZM

Sir Vincent O’Sullivan KNZM

A woman holds a sword over a kneeling man in a suit
Sir Vincent O’Sullivan and Dame Cindy Kiro. Photo courtesy of the Office of the Governor-General.

On May 2, Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro presented Honours recipients with insignia recognising outstanding achievements and service.

Eminent author Emeritus Professor Sir Vincent O’Sullivan received the accolade when he was re-designated from a DCNZM to a KNZM.

Sargeson Prize entries opened on 1 April

Sargeson Prize entries opened on 1 April

Entries opened on 1 April for the 2022 Sargeson Prize and close at 11.59pm (NZST) on 30 June 2022. There is no entry fee, and entries are limited to one per writer, per division.

First offered in 2019, the Sargeson Prize is New Zealand’s richest short story prize, with a first prize of $10,000, sponsored by the University of Waikato.

Named for celebrated New Zealand writer Frank Sargeson, the Prize was conceived by writer Catherine Chidgey, who lectures in Writing Studies at the University. Chief Judge for 2022 is Dame Fiona Kidman.

For more information, see

New writers’ residency opportunity in French Polynesia

New writers’ residency opportunity in French Polynesia

An exciting new two-month residency for writers is on offer in French Polynesia.

It is aimed at published authors from the Pacific region (including New Zealand and Australia) in categories of literature, poetry, theatre and children’s and young adult fiction, who wish to pursue a writing project in French, English or an indigenous language.

The residency runs from September to December 2022. Applications close on 1 June. For more information or to apply, go to

New publications

New publications

Our congratulations to two writers with significant Randell Cottage connections whose works have just been published by Vintage, an imprint of Penguin Random House New Zealand.

So Far for Now

Book cover for So far for now bookDame Fiona Kidman, Randell Cottage’s founding trustee and long-time supporter, has released her latest book, So Far for Now. This is a new volume of Dame Fiona’s memoirs, recording her busy life filled with significant changes, new writing and fascinating journeys. It’s just out in bookshops around the country.

From being a grandmother to becoming a widow, from the suitcase-existence of book festivals to researching the lives and deaths of Jean Batten and Albert Black, she has found herself in new territory and viewed the familiar with fresh eyes. She takes the reader to Paris and Pike River, to Banff, Belfast and Bangkok, searching for houses in Hanoi and Hawera, reliving her past in Waipu and creating new memories in Otago.

Dame Fiona comments, “When I wrote my last memoir I thought nothing much would happen from there on in. But life keeps on happening and if anything it gets more interesting with every year that passes. There is nothing dull about old age; there may be griefs and  losses but there is also the triumph of survival.”

The Frog Prince

Book cover for The Frog PrinceChristchurch-based James Norcliffe was the Randell Cottage writer-in-residence in 2018 and celebrated the experience in an article: At Home in the Randell Cottage.

During his stay, he worked on his debut adult novel, The Frog Prince, which has now appeared in print. Described as an intriguing multi-layered novel with a dual narrative, it carries one storyline set in Kassel, Germany, in the early years of the nineteenth century, when the brothers Grimm were beginning to collect the folk stories they would later publish as Household Tales.

The second storyline revolves around the mysterious disappearance of Cara, a young teacher at an international school in Northern France, who writes her own version of the classic fairy tale of the frog prince and the princess. The book embraces historical fiction, is a love story and a mystery all rolled into one.

James Norcliffe is renowned for his award-winning children’s books and for his poetry. His latest children’s fantasy Mallory Mallory: Trick or Treat was released under the Puffin imprint of Penguin Random New Zealand.

Lynn Davidson: a very personal view of a poet and her inspiration

Lynn Davidson: a very personal view of a poet and her inspiration

What is it like to be a writer in residence at Randell Cottage? How does this special ‘moment out of time’ free up the creative mind?

Lynn Davidson has just completed her six-month stay in the Cottage. She shares her reflections on the experience in a newly released video, interwoven with readings from her latest poem.

For Lynn, the residency opportunity came to her like “a beautiful life raft on a rough sea” allowing her the tranquillity to drop deeply inside herself as she wrote.

She says, “the historical aspect of the cottage … was incredibly helpful to me as I wrote about, and imagined, my settler family migrating from Scotland to New Zealand in the mid-1920s. The neighbourhood and the cottage itself helped me to imagine my way into their lives as newly arrived immigrants to Wellington.”

Lynn is continuing work on her memoir of creative essays and poetry, which she hopes to submit to her publisher in the next twelve months.

Congratulations to Paddy Richardson

Congratulations to Paddy Richardson

Photo credit: Caroline Davies

Randell Cottage Writers Trust joins High Spot Literary in congratulating our 2019 Resident Paddy Richardson, our 2019 CNZ RCWT Writing Fellow. Four of her thrillers are to be published in Australia.

From High Spot Literary on Facebook:

We are absolutely delighted to announce that Paddy Richardson has just signed with Australian publisher, Brio Books who will be publishing four of her most popular thrillers – HUNTING BLIND, A YEAR TO LEARN A WOMAN, TRACES OF RED and RED HANDS.
Head of Fiction at Brio, David Henley, immediately recognised Paddy’s strength as a thriller writer.
“We are so pleased to be Paddy’s new home with her set of four dark and emotionally vexing #NZnoir titles. Paddy is an outstanding author who effortlessly creates foreboding and tension with every sentence, and we hope we can help her gain the recognition she deserves.”
Brio Books is an independent publisher built on quality, partnership and innovation with a great history of supporting Australian and New Zealand authors. They recently joined the Booktopia Group.
High Spot Literary agent, Vicki Marsdon, who has worked with Paddy for a number of years, is thrilled to see her books back in print.
“Paddy is one of New Zealand’s best crime and thriller writers with a genuine pedigree as an author of dark and twisty stories. She is world class and I am excited at the prospect of Brio – through their innovative publishing and marketing – introducing her to many more readers.”
Paddy agrees. “I am excited about the opportunity to work with David Henley and the team at Brio books/ Booktopia and very much looking forward to sharing my books with new readers.”
Congratulations Paddy!