Rosanne wins the Carclew Fellowship at Writers Week, 2008
I felt blessed as The Hon Mike Rann, Premier and Minister for the Arts gave me the envelope. The Carclew – named for the house that was part of the Cornish Bonython family in years gone by. What an honour. How good that the Ministry for the Arts gives a fellowship for children's writing. Children's writing is important to our culture for we hold the future of the country's readers between our covers.
In October 2006 I went to Pakistan on an Asialink Fellowship (thank you, Arts SA again) to research a novel. I stood in Azad Kashmir amid the devastation of the earthquake and got an idea. An incredible idea about a 17 year old girl from Australia forced into a marriage. What struggles would she go through? Would she have the courage to stand up for what was right? I wanted to write her story.
Having the Carclew Fellowship means I will have the needed time to develop that novel. It will give me the resources to spend more time writing (rather than teaching) and to renew and keep my focus. It's very affirming and encouraging, and that also provokes output. I feel more independent as an artist (for this year at least), and that means a great deal.
I congratulate the other winners. I thank all those who have joined with me on my creative journey – my God, my family, my husband who has fed me to date, my daughter Lenore Penner who made me begin writing, Ken Packer my first assessor, for publishers who have given me a go, (especially Helen Chamberlin), my agent, Jacinta di-Mase, my most trusted critic, Janet Fletcher, fellow Ekidnas – thank you for your support and help, The Writer's Centre who gave me so much help along the way, Arts SA, Tom Shapcott, imagine sitting on his footstool for 3 years, and those like Eva Sallis who have influenced my writing with their own. And to my colleagues at Tabor Adelaide Creative Writing program – thank you for your support and inspiration. So many inspire and encourage and they never know; we don't collect an award like this by ourselves.
I hope I never lose the wonder of a miracle like this. We can afford to be generous, for what we have has been given. In Australia we learn to tread lightly on the land, we also learn to hold our gifts with open hands.
Thank you, Mr Premier, judges and ArtsSA.