Monday, May 17, 2010

To be a poet in Switzerland

On May Day I got one of those dream emails, offering me a place as a Writer in Residence at the lovely Chateau de Lavigny, in Morges, near Lausanne in Switzerland. Look at it!

I am overjoyed for three reasons.

1. It's an honour and a privilege.

2. It's in Suisse Romande area, where I lived for four years in my youth. I went with my husband to Geneva nearly 50 years ago, where we popped out of our provincial bubble. We worked, played, ate, drank, skied, and sightsaw for all we were worth. We also had our first baby (Geoff) in Geneva. So this is a nostalgia trip for me, revisiting gorgeous places with strong emotional connections.

3. Bliss: 3 weeks in which to focus on writing. 3 weeks to live inside my own head and write, write, write... and think, think, think. 3 weeks without housework.

4. It's only 3 weeks, which suits me perfectly. I've enjoyed living in other countries (Switzerland, Australia and Japan) and I love short exotic holidays. But months in a writers' residence would not suit me at all.

5. Four other writers will be in residence at the same time so there'll be interesting talk with people who will seem both alien (all from different countries) and familiar (all writers).

So that's the news, folks! Good, ay? Now, 2 months to polish up my French.

Le Chateau de Lavigny


  1. Oh my goodness! This is gorgeous. I'm so happy for you. :)

  2. Now isn't this great? Congratulations! I am thinking of a photo of you, Grant, Nola and Trev having a picnic somewhere in Switzerland. What a good time you all had. And now Trevor is dead, darn. Have a wonderful time. August will be here so quickly for you.

  3. Fantastic news, Rachel! Now, before they're all gone, please can I buy Scarlett Heels, I kept meaning to and forgetting!

  4. Chateau de Lavigny is a gorgeous experience, Rachel. Coincidentally, Jo Ann Hansen Rasch whom I met while there in 2006, posted this today. She's NZ-born, now lives along the lake from Lavigny. You might meet her at a reading — lovely woman. Enjoy it all.

  5. Penelope, you've been here too I believe! I met Jo Ann last Friday, and at our reading, she and the two other Kiwis (Joan and Reid) joined in the waiata for my mihi (greetings in Maori - translation for non-Kiwis). This sudden unannounced quiet chorus was moving, I'm told. I loved them for it, with only minutes of warning too.

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