on 28 November, 2013

VALE JESSICA HALLIGAN ROSE  19.09.1982 – 09.11.2013

From Gabrielle Stroud:
I'm writing to let you know that Jessica Rose has died.  I first met Jess at Varuna in 2005 and we became firm friends.  She returned to Varuna this time last year (for a Writer in Residence week with Charlotte Wood as her mentor).  

She has been an alumni member throughout the years and has always been a writer.  She worked as the Graduate Coursework and Staff Research Support Administrator at the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne.  And when she died she was part way through her thesis on Ethics in Fiction Writing.

It would mean a lot to me and a lot to her family to see that her passing is noted within the world of writing, words and reading.

Jess was only 31 and had lived with a rare childhood leukaemia throughout her life.  After a bone marrow transplant in August she tried her best to find good health but, after a struggle, decided to cross to the world of all things heavenly. She died at Royal Melbourne hospital with her husband at her side.

Jess's Ethics research lead her to conversations with a variety of Aussie authors who have written from various perspectives, one of these being Christos Tsiolkas.  I know Jess held him in high regard and after their interview and coffee, they left as fond acquaintances. Jess was a remarkable person and I just know Christos would feel saddened and might perhaps like to send condolences.   I am looking forward to reading what exists of her research and work as I know she was working thoughtfully and carefully on it.

I just felt like the community of Varuna should know.

Gabbie is happy to convey sympathy messages on to Jess’s family – you can send a message to her via email or post:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Gabrielle Stroud
POBox 220
NSW 2548

JESS ROSE   by Peter Bishop
I’m still sitting numbly at my desk, staring at the emails telling me first about Jess in intensive care, then on life support –and finally –she’s gone.

I think it was a week-long Varuna workshop for young and emerging writers in 2005, the first year of the LongLines project. Gabbie Stroud from South Coast NSW and Jess Rose from Darwin developed one of those wonderful generative friendships that happen at Varuna. I remember the grateful, loving expression Gabbie had when she told me she was dedicating her first book, Measuring Up, to Jess. Jess was just the best person.

Jess was an exciting writer. Some writers are writing the book that’s been written before –not Jess. She was exploring modes of narrative in a way that told me at once she was the real thing.

My dear friend Patti Miller sometimes sends me things. Recently she was reading the Greek poet George Seferis –a poet I love– and she reminded me of this passage:

The poem is everywhere. Your voice
sometimes travels beside it
like a dolphin keeping company for a while
with a golden sloop in the sunlight,
then vanishing again. The poem is everywhere,
like the wings of the wind moved by the wind
to touch for a moment the sea gull’s wings.

Jess is that lovely dolphin, those sea gull’s wings.

A memorial service was held 27 November “to celebrate a life that was overflowing with joy”.

"She smiles and cradles the orchid, holding it to her face. It feels good and this time she doesn’t mind if a little bit of happiness pierces the sad that sits heavy like a fresh areca nut in the pit of her stomach."

Staple us together, Jessica Rose