Blue Roses of Orroroo


In  2007 Margaret decided to enter the Salisbury Writing Festival Three Day Novel Writing Race, after discussion with the organisers to make sure there was no conflict of interest in her judging the Short Story Competition. As the judges were different and there was no connection between the two competitions, it was decided that she could enter this competition.

The Three Day Novel Writing Competition took place over the June (Queen's Birthday) long weekend. writing commenced at 8 pm on the Friday night, continuing through Saturday and Sunday and Monday, and ended at 8 pm on the Monday night.

The completed novel was to be emailed to the Salisbury Festival at 8 pm on the Monday of the long weekend.

 Unfortunately the wireless connection from the laptop to the keyboard failed at about 1 am, and after attempting to write on the laptop itself Margaret decided her neck was too painful and gave up the attempt. She phoned her son David (her IT person) early on Saturday morning. He fixed the problem with a battery. Then it was necessary to visit the Library to obtain an affidavit from a JP to testify that the opus was written over the long weekend as specified in the rules.

The rules of the Novel Writing Race allowed the author to plot the story out before commencing to write and also to do any research necessary. However, the protagonist of Margaret's novel  took over the story and more or less wrote the thing herself. The whole plot went out of the window under the force of Rose's character. The author admitted defeat and allowed this to happen.  

Margaret knew the story was ended at about 3 pm on the Monday afternoon, and mainly in order to escape from Rose, went out and mowed her front lawn. The story was emailed with the assistance of Denise Visciglio, Margaret's daughter-in-law, well before 8 pm. The word count was 20,000 words, although an enthusiastic reviewer states it on Google to have been 38,000 words. Margaret is good, but not that good.

“The Blue Roses of Orroroo” won the Three Day Novel Writing Race, and part of the prize was mentorship by Anne Bartlett, who is an esteemed Adelaide writer, author of the book “Knitting”, and a senior lecturer in the English Department of the Adelaide University . Margaret is extremely grateful for Anne's mentorship and assistance in editing “The Blue Roses” and feels that her writing has improved markedly under Anne's tuition. “The Blue Roses” nears completion but it has been so much fun to write that it is hard to let it go just yet.

Award presentation by Tony Zappia - Mayor of Salisbury S.A.


“The Blue Roses of Orroroo” is a humorous account of rape, incest and the stolen generation. Related by Rose Walsh, a not always reliable witness, as she strives to rescue her family from destitution and, fuelled by kerosene and roses, to restore her own self-esteem.,