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This article is taken from PN Review 76, Volume 17 Number 2, November - December 1990.

Diary of a Displaced Person Lauris Edmond

The Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowshp supports a New Zealand writer for all or part of a year in Menton in the south of France. This is a town where Katherine Mansfield lived for some months in 1920 and where she wrote a number of stories including 'The Daughters of the Late Colonel'. Arrangements for accommodation have gradully improved during the twenty years of the existence of the award, but 1981 was the first year in which permission was given by the Mayor of Menton for the visiting New Zealander to occupy the Memorial Room itself. A small room attached to the Villa Isola Bella (Katherine Mansfield's home), it is furnished as a study but contains a bed and there is an adjoining bathroom.

* * *

March 29 9.30 p.m. I'm here! Not in the frying desert, not in dirty, beautiful, dangerous Damascus, not at Charles de Gaulle airport racing from desk to desk through that maze of miraculous constructions; not even in Nice where the little French bus waited while I struggled with my appalling luggage ... Here. In Menton. In a safe, clean, courteous hotel - I don't care if it costs a million francs a night. And it's raining. Cool, soft, singing rain; I feel like a dying plant suddenly allowed to drink great gulps of fresh water.

There are enormous palm trees in the little square outside my window, tubs of primulas and cyclamen, a fountain. A man riding ...


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