Louise Deans was one of four Christchurch writers offered a free week at the Michael King Writers’ Centre as a respite from the Canterbury earthquakes. Louise stayed in September 2011. She writes:
Born, bred and educated in Timaru. I have always been a avid reader and was even known to have a store of books in the chook house where it was (relatively) quiet!Canterbury University gave me a very undistinguished degree in English and I went to Teachers’ College. I went to London University for a postgraduate degree in Library Studies then to Bahrain in the Middle East for three and a half years. On return to New Zealand we lived the rural dream with 4 children. I was ordained as an unpaid priest in the Anglican Church and from my kitchen table I acquired an LTh from St. John’s College in Auckland, a postgraduate BD from Knox College and an MTh from Otago University. I started a PhD but wrote a book instead and have been writing ever since, interspersed with running a tourist business from Homebush with a restaurant, a museum, a shop, a talk about the history of Canterbury and a walk round the 8 acre garden.The Homebush Homestead fell down in the earthquake of September 4 2010 and like most people in and around Christchurch we have been dislocated from our gentle, routine lives into an unprecedented chaos.I am so grateful to the Trust which runs the Michael King Writer’s Centre for offering a free week away from the daily grinding bumps. The Signalman’s House is a treasure and put to wonderful use by providing a sanctuary of peace and quiet and beauty, a place to think, ruminate and meet amazing people. During my week, I felt as though I was a real writer – a gift conferred. Since I arrived home I have been carting soil, laying readylawn and carrying doors from the old house to be measured up for the new house – desperate to get back to my book!