When I first saw the Historical Novel Society Australasia (HNSA) announcement of their inaugural Colleen McCullough Residency, I was blown away by the generosity of the prize and the amazing opportunity open to all eligible attendees at the 2019 HNSA Conference in Sydney last weekend.
Who wouldn’t want to spend a week on the beautiful Norfolk Island, once home and inspiration to one of our country’s most acclaimed writers? Plus airfares, transfers, hire car, tours of both the Colleen McCullough library and the island, supplied by the generous sponsors, along with the incredible bonus of staying and writing on the grounds of the McCullough estate!
When the final judge of the residency shortlists, best-selling author, Nicole Alexander, began to read out a couple of telling details from the winning established author submission, ie: set in France, post-WW1 etc, my heart just about stopped beating. And when she read out my name, I really couldn’t believe it. But, eventually, I did manage to collect myself and my certificate from Nicole, and utter a few inarticulate words.
It’s taken a few days to sink in, though never the fact what an amazing opportunity I’ve been given. It’s also incredibly validating to know that the choices I made a few months ago to start my novel at a different point in the story have worked. I’m so excited about my WIP, but I won’t go into any details about the project here at this early stage of the writing.
Congratulations to Sally Colin James, winner of the aspiring category. We’ve already planned to get together at the end of the writing day and debrief, perhaps share a meal and a sunset.
No doubt, come February, this blog will feature some beautiful photos set amid the inspiration of Norfolk Island, a place I’ve always, always wanted to visit. I only wish Colleen McCullough was still in residence, per chance I could meet her. Hopefully some more of her magic will rub off on me.