Key Ceremony

16 September 2023

On Friday morning, 15 September, the formal Key Ceremony for the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship  took place in the Salle des Marriages at the Menton Town Hall. This room is famous for its murals, which cover the walls and the ceiling and were painted by poet and artist Jean Cocteau in 1957-58. For this project, Cocteau drew inspiration from African and Ancient Greek mythologies and symbolism to design a narrative tableau that runs the gamut of human passions, emotions and behaviour. Love, desire, celebration and joy are certainly there, delightfully so, but so too are depictions of envy, hate, sorrow, disappointment, hunting and revenge. It was an evocative and creatively powerful space in which to receive the keys to the Memorial Room below the Villa Isola Bella, the writing room used by the New Zealand writer while here in Menton.

Following an introduction and welcome from a representative from the Menton City Council, M. David Rousseau, I was presented with the magic key by Menton’s deputy mayor and delegate for culture, Mme Stéphanie Jacquot. 

It was special to have several other New Zealanders in the room to share the moment, especially Richard Cathie, chair of the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship Committee, Sarah Dennis (former NZ ambassador in Paris) and Damien Wilkins (2008 KM Menton Fellow), as well as honorary Kiwi William Rubenstein, from Nice, who generously gives his time to liaise between the New Zealanders and the French over the practicalities involved in managing the fellowship. Ngā mihi nui William!

And so, I have the key … I understand the next step is that I shake it over the desk in the Memorial Room until some words fall out. Exciting!

Opening the gate at Villa Isola Bella

Opening the door to the room

In the room …

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1 Comment
    1. I have enjoyed all your blogs so interesting

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