Rose Lu selected as 2022 Randell Cottage Writer in Residence

Rose Lu selected as 2022 Randell Cottage Writer in Residence

A woman with long, dark hair, wearing a purple jacket and glasses is smiling at the camera
Rose Lu. Photo by Eva Corlett

Tramper, software engineer, essayist, and now novelist Rose Lu is to be the 2022 Creative New Zealand Randell Cottage Writing Fellow.

Lu will be using her six months at Randell Cottage in Wellington’s historic Thorndon village to write her first novel.

Currently untitled, the project follows the story of Moon, a second-generation Chinese-New Zealander, and Hsiao-Han, who migrated to Aotearoa New Zealand in her mid-twenties.

A graduate of the Master of Creative Writing workshop at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University’s Institute of Modern Letters, Lu’s first book was the 2019 essay collection All Who Live On Islands, winner of the IIML’s 2018 creative non-fiction writing prize. She will take up her placement in the twentieth year of residencies at Randell Cottage and will join Trustees and Friends in celebrating this milestone.

Of her project, she says: “I want this book to be divorced from the expectation that POC are thinking about their race in relation to a Pākehā majority, by having the primary dialogue be between Chinese and Taiwanese characters. I also want to challenge mainstream notions of representation. We all have complicated relationships to home, family and language, and I want to write a story set across different times and generations to explore that.”

Trustee and selection panel convener Sian Robyns says the Trust received many very good applications in a variety of genres, all deserving to see the light of day.

“We got it down to a shortlist of four. We considered, we debated, we went back and forth, and it was very close. Rose’s project stood out for its perspective and her choice to represent diasporic Asians to each other rather than to the mainstream; her use of tramping, an iconic aspect of New Zealand culture as a means of thinking about risk-taking; and for a compelling and controlled writing sample.”

Lu says she is honoured to be the 2022 resident and is looking forward to living and working in Randell Cottage.

“I was surprised and delighted to find out that I had received the Randell Cottage residency. I was out on a walk at the time, which seems fitting given the nature of my project. Covid has made it a strange couple of years, but the silver lining has been that I’ve spent a lot more time in the outdoors in Aotearoa, and this has been the inspiration for my novel that I like to glibly describe as “Brokeback Mountain but in the Tararua Ranges”.

“I’m really looking forward to being resident in Randell Cottage and walking up Te Ahumairangi every day.”

The Randell Cottage Writers Trust was established in 2001. The restored Category II historic building, gifted to the Trust by the Randell-Price family, hosts two writers a year: one from New Zealand and the other from France. In 2021, it was home to poet and essayist Lynn Davidson. The 2021 French writer, Caroline Laurent, has had her residency delayed by Covid-19 border restrictions. At this stage, it looks as if she may be able to arrive in Wellington for the second half of 2022.

Passing of Nadine Ribault

Passing of Nadine Ribault

Photo of Nadine RibaultWe record with great sadness the death of Nadine Ribault the first French writer to take up a residency at Randell Cottage nearly twenty years ago. Nadine Ribault died on 17 January 2021. She would have turned 57 on the 20th of January. Our deepest condolences go out to Nadine’s husband Thierry and daughter Blanche.
In the Livre d’Or, published in 2012 to mark the tenth anniversary of residencies at the Cottage, Nadine wrote:
La nature étant l’aliment qui donne des forces pour la lutte, j’ai reçu, en Nouvelle-Zélande, voici très exactement dix ans, un aliment de choix. Les falaises, les plages, les fjords, les criques, les lagons, les rivières, les volcans, les montagnes, les forêts, tout m’a comblée d’une magie et d’une énergie merveilleuses. J’en nourris encore et mon sens de la lutte et mes rêves.
J’y ai déambulé au milieu d’une fantasmagorie que je n’oublierai pas. Dans le creuset des traditions maories, des amitiés soudaines et des vents tournoyants aux origines mystérieuses, j’ai puisé de l’inspiration pour des temps infinis. Installée au Japon maintenant, et ce depuis 2009, j’ai fait appel à ces images quand il a fallu traverser les difficiles moments qui ont suivi l’accident nucléaire de Fukushima. Je me suis souvenue qu’en terre néo-zélandaise, j’ai marché en « terre non-nucléaire ». Je me suis souvenue qu’il est possible de marcher en « terre non-nucléaire » et j’ai décidé de dire combien il serait vital de marcher de la sorte partout sur cette Terre.
Il y a dix ans donc, j’entamais un séjour qui, de la découverte des deux îles du Nord et du Sud à la rencontre de Janet Frame, de la découverte aussi des paysages sauvages et tourmentés qui semblaient faits pour moi, au temps passé avec celles et ceux qui devinrent des ami(e)s, me ramenait toujours au Randell Cottage, véritable centre du tableau.
Dans cette maison, le vent passait sous les portes et me parlait de l’infini des horizons marins. Ma plume ragaillardie dansait sous les embruns. J’adorais cet endroit et je m’y sentais bien et j’ai su que je m’y sentirai bien sitôt passé le seuil. Certains visages ne trompent pas, on sait dès qu’on y porte les yeux, qu’ils feront notre joie. Pour moi, la Nouvelle-Zélande est à jamais un visage aimé.
Nature is the nourishment that gives us strength for the struggle, and in New Zealand, exactly ten years ago, I was very well nourished. Cliffs, beaches, fjords, bays, lagoons, rivers, volcanoes, mountains, forests, all filled me with their magic and a wonderful energy. I feed from it still, it nourishes my sense of struggle and my dreams.
There, I wandered through a fantasy world I’ll never forget. From the crucible of Maori tradition, sudden friendships, and winds whirling up from nowhere, I drew inspiration for all time. Resident in Japan since 2009, I called on these images when I had to live through the difficult times that followed the nuclear accident at Fukushima. I remembered that in New Zealand I had walked in a ‘nuclear-free world’. I remembered it was possible to walk in a ‘nuclear-free world’ and resolved to articulate how vital it would be walking that way all over this World.
Ten years ago, I set out on a journey that, between exploring the two islands, the North and the South to meeting Janet Frame, and discovering the wild and tortured landscape that seemed to have been made for me, to the time spent with those who became friends, always brought me back to Randell Cottage, the true centre of the picture.
In this house, the wind blew under the doors and spoke to me of the infinity of the sea’s horizons. My pen, inspired, danced under the sea spray. I loved this place and I felt at home here, and knew that I would feel at home as soon as I crossed the threshold. Some faces do not lie, we know, the moment we see them, that they will bring us joy. New Zealand’s is forever a face I love.
[Translated by Jean Anderson]
Congratulations to Michalia Arathimos

Congratulations to Michalia Arathimos

Michalia Arathimos

Congratulations to Michalia Arathimos who is University of Waikato‘s 2021 Writer in Residence. Her publication history is diverse, ranging from books and novels to short stories, reviews, non-fiction and poetry. While she is in Hamilton she will work on her third novel Sojourn, which is set in the Waikato.

During 2020 Michalia was the Writer in Residence at the Randell Cottage in Wellington where she worked on her second novel, Cartographia. For the first three months of 2021, she is the Writer in Residence at the Frank Sargeson Centre, Auckland where she will focus on her second collection of short stories.

Michalia Arathimos on Standing Room Only, RNZ

Michalia Arathimos on Standing Room Only, RNZ

Our 2020 New Zealand resident Michalia Arathimos is nearing the end of her stay at Randell Cottage – and we’ll be very sad to see her go.

Last week she spoke to Lynn Freeman of Radio New Zealand’s Standing Room Only about returning to Wellington, life in the cottage and its impact on her project, Cartographia, and her plans for her Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship.

Listen to Michalia talking with Lynn Freeman:

Lynn Davidson selected as 2021 Randell Cottage Writer in Residence

Lynn Davidson selected as 2021 Randell Cottage Writer in Residence

Newly returned to Aotearoa New Zealand after four years teaching and writing in Edinburgh, Lynn Davidson is to be the 2021 Creative New Zealand Randell Cottage Writing Fellow. Davidson will be using her time at Randell Cottage to write a memoir of her move to Scotland in 2016 and how, when prevented by Covid-19 from returning to New Zealand, she began exploring the life of her great aunt Vida.

A poet and novelist. Davidson’s most recent publication is the poetry collection Islander. She won the Poetry New Zealand Award in 2020, and holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Massey University.

Selection panel convener Stephen Stratford says, “We soon got it down to five applications to argue over, then four. And then there were three. A while later, there were two. This was a close-run thing, but Lynn Davidson’s project was, in the end, a unanimous choice. Everyone on the panel saw it is as a valuable contribution to New Zealand history and a project that, given the author’s track record with both poetry and prose, will deliver something special. The mix of poetry and prose in the sample provided was a strength too.”

Davidson says she is delighted to be the 2021 resident and is looking forward to living and working in Randell Cottage.

“After four years in Edinburgh, and towards the end of this strange and difficult year, I decided to return to New Zealand. I was just days out of managed isolation and back in my beloved Wellington when I had the call to say I would be the 2021 Creative New Zealand Randell Cottage Writing Fellow. It feels remarkable to be supported in this way, at this moment, as I write about my family’s migrations between Scotland and New Zealand, and about my own migrations between Scotland and New Zealand. My particular interest is in uncovering the story of my great aunt, Vida, which I began in my flat in the eerie quiet of an empty Edinburgh City, and will continue to explore in the supportive quiet of the Randell Cottage. “

The Randell Cottage Writers Trust was established in 2001. The restored Category II historic building, gifted to the Trust by the Randell-Price family, hosts two writers a year: one from New Zealand and the other from France.

It is currently home to Michalia Arathimos. The 2021 French resident, writer Caroline Laurent is scheduled to arrive in Wellington in July.

Applications invited for 2021 Randell Cottage Writers Residency

Applications invited for 2021 Randell Cottage Writers Residency

Applications are now open for the 2021 Creative New Zealand Randell Cottage Writers Fellowship. The fellowship comprises a stipend, currently set at $27,450, and six months’ rent-free accommodation in one of Wellington’s oldest colonial buildings.

The Trust is particularly interested in hearing from mid-career and Māori and Pasifika writers.

In 2021, the fellowship will run from 1 April to 30 September. Trust chair Sarah Dennis says the change of dates is prompted by border closures and the disruption to air travel caused by Covid-19.

“Moving the dates of our residency will allow greater flexibility to accommodate the 2021 French Randell writer, novelist Caroline Laurent, who will, we hope, be able to come to Wellington later in the year.”

Built in Thorndon in 1867, the Cottage has been painstakingly restored and is close to the National Library, the Turnbull Library and National Archive. It’s provided a peaceful inner-city base for writers from a range of genres: novelists, poets, biographers…

The first New Zealand resident was Peter Wells, in 2002. He’s been followed by Tim Corballis, Michael Harlow, Renée, Beryl Fletcher, Whiti Hereaka, Jennifer Compton, Kirsty Gunn, Pat White, Peter Walker, Vivienne Plumb, Denis Welch, Tina Makereti, Witi Ihimaera, Owen Marshall, Stephanie Johnson, Stephen Daisley, James Norcliffe, Paddy Richardson and, in 2020, Michalia Arathimos.

The Randell Cottage Creative NZ Writer in Residence is selected by a Trust-appointed committee to work on an approved project. The deadline for applications is Friday, 6 November 2020. The successful applicant will be announced in December.

Application forms and further information and http://www.randellcottage.co.nz/residency/