The Garden Party

26 September 2023

And after all the weather was ideal. They could not have had a more perfect day for a garden-party if they had ordered it.

Katherine Mansfield, ‘The Garden Party’ (1922).

The Garden Party‘ is one of Katherine Mansfield’s best known stories, so it was apt to receive an invitation to a garden party last weekend to honour Katherine Mansfield in the centenary year of her death and to mark fifty years of New Zealand’s Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship. The event was organised and hosted by William Rubenstein and held in the lovely gardens of his apartment in Nice. 

William Rubenstein taught French at Otago and Victoria Universities for many years, and since returning to France has generously acted as a liaison person between the Aotearoa and French ends of the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship. Beginning with Rowley Habib (Rori Hapipi) in 1985,  William has greeted each incoming New Zealand writer at Nice airport, driven them to Menton and helped them settle in. A fortnight ago, William did this for the thirty-sixth time. We arrived in Nice at 10.30 pm and there was William with a warm hug and a big welcoming smile. William is a one-man legend and we are very lucky to have him.

We had an excellent evening sharing food and conversation with William’s family, neighbours and friends. 

Merci beaucoup William!

More about Sue Wootton