Majorca has just been struck by a cultural and inspirational whirlwind in the form of Rosalinda Much who rocked up here last year from Rajasthan in northwest India and is now struggling to decide where she wants to live in Palma. Rosalinda, originally from Cheshire, is the organiser of the Memoir Writing Workshop at Belmond La Residencia in Deya this October.
As I reported last Sunday, the workshop offers participants the rare opportunity to explore memoir writing with bestselling writer Allegra Huston, author of Love Child: A Memoir of Family Lost and Found and the novel Say My Name, as well as articles for numerous magazines in the US and the UK. An experienced editor and workshop leader, Allegra has taught at universities and private courses around the world (including the UK’s Arvon Foundation) and has worked with authors including Jane Goodall, Edna O’Brien, Matthew Parris and Iris Murdoch.
Rosalinda began life as a graphic designer but from there she moved into the audio-visual and multimedia worlds as well as advertising, organising quality cultural events and working for charities. It was through Michael Douglas, of whom she speaks extremely highly, that she was first introduced to Majorca. She helped produce the film he made about the north of the island for the Costa Nord cultural centre in Valldemossa.
"Ironically, while working on that I stayed at La Residencia and I felt a great attraction to Deya and the island and I remember thinking back then that this is somewhere I could settle down," Rosalinda said this week.
And a year ago she did.
"I first lived in Santa Catalina, which I loved. It’s like its own village and now I am in the old town and I am torn about where I want to finally live. It’s definitely going to be in Palma because I love the city and the vibrant mix of people and see a great of potential in the world of arts and culture."
To date, Rosalinda’s career has not only taken her all over the world but involved her in some groundbreaking projects, such as the short film venture Visions, on which she was the executive producer, How To Change The World, which ended up being screened at the Moma and the United Nations, and another project - The Knowledge - which was a guide for budding film producers in the UK.
On her journey, Rosalinda spent some time living in Taos, New Mexico, which is where she met Allegra. She also came across an area which has been developed into the perfect example of sustainable living and could teach Majorca and many other destinations in the world a great deal about sustainable tourism, another issue which is close to Rosalinda’s heart.
"With all the sunshine Majorca has, it could be much more sustainable, although the authorities would have to find some kind of balance with tourism and the daily lives of people on the island. This problem with the traffic: living in central Palma I find I don’t need a car and it makes life a lot simpler."
However, having spent a winter living in Deya, she admitted that transport was an issue. "I loved it, although that huge mountain which bares down on the village made it feel a little claustrophobic at times. That’s why I opted for Palma, it’s alive all year round with so much potential."
While living in Rajasthan she taught photo strategy, but on meeting Allegra, Rosalinda began to learn how important memoirs can be to the writer and the people who read them.
"Who best to write about yourself than you. No one knows you better than yourself and the process makes you a better person. Initially, we were going to have this workshop in Rajasthan in this amazing mahal but in the end it was not quite suitable for potential guests. Then I was offered what is supposed to be the most beautiful house in Tuscany, but again there were some snags. Then I thought about Deya and it just seems the perfect place for the five-day workshop, and the people at Belmond have been so helpful.
"With the village’s literary history and culture plus the great support of the hotel, it has just clicked into place and we’re both really looking forward to the event. It comes at a great time for Allegra. It will be just after she’s completed promoting her new book Say My Name in the UK - she is on Women’s Hour on 1 August - so it’s being held at the ideal moment for her. And I hope people learn a lot from it. I think the power of the written word is still far much more powerful than we give it credit for.
"The media, for example, could be doing so much more in helping us sort out this chaotic and dangerous world we live in. But for the most part they just pamper to the masses in the fight for sales and, to a certain extent, write what they think we want to read. There are a few exceptions, but so much more could be done through the media. This is where memoirs, writing, bringing people together from all walks of life to discuss experiences and ideas make such a positive difference to our lives and of those around us.
"At the moment I am developing a number of projects I would like to bring and host in Majorca while working as a prose polisher. I help to clean up work which has been translated into English, helping to give the writing its voice, getting it to flow properly because translations can sometimes be too literal and stilted and loses the feel of the writer.
"I also intend to return to my podcasts which I think from here will be culturally based so they don’t clash with anything else which is being put out there. For me, there is so much to explore and discuss here in Majorca and I would love to bring influential people from overseas to experience what the island has to offer while sharing their expertise with the people here."
For more information go to www.allegrahuston.com/workshop.
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