Her Excellency Mme Laurence Beau graduated from the Paris Institute of Political Studies / Sciences Po Paris and has a master’s degree in English language, Culture and Economics from the University of the Sorbonne. Mme Beau is a Knight of the Ordre national du Mérite and a Knight of the Légion d’honneur. During her 30-year diplomatic career, she has served in Panama, Mexico, Seychelles, Australia and Singapore. Prior to her arrival in Wellington, Mme Beau was the Ambassador of France to Botswana. Read more about her biography on 

Photo of Vincent O'Sullivan

Sir Vincent O’Sullivan KNZM (1937–2024) died in Dunedin on 28 April, 2024.

He was a leading fiction writer, poet, dramatist, librettist and Katherine Mansfield scholar, and an Emeritus Professor of English at Te Herenga Waka / Victoria University of Wellington. Vincent won many awards for his fiction and his poetry. He was joint editor of the five-volume Letters of Katherine Mansfield and has edited a number of major anthologies. He was the Meridian Energy Katherine Mansfield Fellow in Menton, France, in 1994. In 1997, he was appointed Director of Victoria University of Wellington’s Stout Research Centre. He received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Auckland in 2010. 

In 2020 he published The Dark is Light Enough: Ralph Hotere, A Biographical Portrait for which he was awarded the Ockham NZ Book Award for General Non-Fiction. His most recent work is Mary’s Boy, Jean-Jacques and other stories (2022). He initially declined a redesignation from Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit to Knight Companion in 2009, but accepted the honour in December 2021. Sir Vincent was instrumental in the original search for a writers’ residence in Wellington and is a long-standing member of the Randell Cottage Writers Trust established in 2001.

Trustee Emerita

Fiona Kidman credit Robert Cross

Dame Fiona Kidman DNZM OBE is one of New Zealand’s most celebrated writers and winner of numerous awards and fellowships for literature including a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour. As a Katherine Mansfield fellow, she lived in Menton, France, in 2006 and travelled the country with a contingent of New Zealand writers promoting New Zealand literature.

Dame Fiona is renowned as one of New Zealand’s foremost storytellers, having written over 30 books, including novels, short stories and poetry, and numerous television, film and radio dramas. She was created a Dame (DNZM) in 1998 in recognition of her contribution to literature. Her most recent publication is a memoir So Far, For Now (2022). Dame Fiona is a founding trustee of the Randell Cottage Writers Trust.


Photo of Christine Hurley

Christine Hurley (Chair) has a background in public service policy and NGO management. She is a life member of the Institute of Public Administration and an active member of the Rotary Club of Wellington. Christine has served as Chief Executive of Interpreting New Zealand, during which time she chaired the Wellington Branch of the NZ Society of Translators and Interpreters. She has an MA (Hons) in English literature from Canterbury University. She has lived and travelled extensively in Francophone countries in Europe and the Pacific. Christine combines these interests with a commitment to the preservation of New Zealand heritage sites.

Photo of Gordon Stewart

Gordon Stewart trained as a lawyer and is now a professional company director and professional trustee. As well as his involvement as a trustee of the Randell Cottage Writers Trust, he is involved with Rotary, is chair of the Sisters of Compassion Group, and is co-chair of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Restoration Committee. Gordon has lived in the Cook Islands, and in Menton, France, and maintains close contact with that country.

Photo of Jean Anderson

Jean Anderson is Associate Professor of French at Te Herenga Waka / Victoria University of Wellington, where she founded the Te Tumu Whakawhiti Tuhinga o Aotearoa / the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation, in 2007. She has co-translated into French novels and short stories by leading New Zealand writers, including Patricia Grace and Janet Frame, and translated into English a number of works by Randell Cottage French writers.

Francis Cooke is a Wellington-based writer and lawyer. He has published work in Landfall, Hue & Cry, JAAM, and Sport, amongst others, and is the co-editor, with Louise Wallace, of the online journal Starling, publishing new writing by New Zealand authors under 25.

Photo of James Norcliffe

James Norcliffe is a novelist, short story writer, poet, editor, teacher and educator. He has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry 2022 and has published ten poetry collections, most recently, Deadpan (2019), Letter to Oumuamu, will be out in 2023. James has published a dozen award-winning novels for young people including the three Loblolly Boy books, two Mallory fantasies for children, and The Crate: a ghost story recently appeared in 2022. His first novel for adults, The Frog Prince, written during his stay in the Randell Cottage, was also published in 2022.

Melissa Wastney grew up in Nelson and has a background in journalism, publishing and editing. She works in communications at the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, but until recently spent five years at Read NZ Te Pou Muramura, formerly the New Zealand Book Council. There, she worked on various projects to promote reading, including mentoring young reviewers through the Hooked on NZ Books He Ao Ano programme.
A keen hand-knitter and crafter, Melissa teaches workshops in textile arts and deeply believes in the importance of accessible arts education for all children and adults.
Navlene Singh grew up in the Waikato region and graduated with a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts degree from Waikato University. She is working as an Organisational Development manager at the Department of Conservation. Navlene is an avid reader and enjoys reading books by authors from across the globe.

Melissa Ludlow is a Wellington-based professional working in project management, business management and continuous improvement areas.  She is a member of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand CA ANZ.

Actively involved in the Thorndon Community, and a member of the Thorndon Residents Association, she holds the Secretarial position and until recently she also held the Treasurer role. Melissa has a keen interest to encourage a sense of community within Thorndon and to represent views of Thorndon residents about matters affecting Thorndon to local authorities and other relevant bodies.

President, Friends of Randell Cottage Association

Fiona Kidman credit Robert Cross

Dame Fiona Kidman DCNZM OBE is a Wellington writer. She has written over 30 books, including the prizewinning novel This Mortal Boy, winner of the Acorn Prize for Fiction (Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, 2019), the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, NZ Booklovers Prize for Fiction and the NZ Heritage Prize for Historical FictionHer latest work is a memoir So Far, For Now (2022). Her work is translated into several languages.

Fiona is a Trustee Emerita of the Randell Cottage Writers Trust. As a Katherine Mansfield fellow, she lived in Menton, France, in 2006, and travelled the country with a contingent of New Zealand writers promoting New Zealand literature. She is a recipient of Légion d’honneur (French Legion of Honour) and is a Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres.