Laisha Rosnau, who wrote the book Little Fortress about the mysterious Caetani family, is now the executive director of the Caetani Centre, located in the family’s former home in Vernon.
VERNON—The Caetani Centre has welcomed a new Executive Director – and you could say she wrote the book about the place.
Laisha Rosnau, an award-winning poet and novelist, was appointed as Executive Director of the Caetani Centre in June. The author of six books, her most recent novel, Little Fortress, tells the mysterious and intriguing story of the Caetani family through the eyes of their devoted employee, Miss Jüül.
“I feel like the spirit and intrigue of this place has been with me for decades already,” explains Rosnau, who grew up on the top of East Hill. “As a girl and teen, I would walk by the house on my way downtown and I always wondered what stories lay within.
“It wasn’t until I’d moved away and I returned one summer and I looked through Heidi Thompson’s compilation of Sveva Caetani’s Recapitulation series that I got an inkling that the real-life stories were far stranger and more intriguing than fiction!”
Rosnau moved back to the North Okanagan 13 years ago and has devoted her time to local historical, cultural and environmental conservation causes. Along with her husband, Aaron Deans, and their children they are the resident caretakers of the Bishop Wild Bird Sanctuary in Coldstream. Rosnau was previously a lecturer of Creative Writing at UBC Okanagan and most recently was the Curator of the Museum & Archives of Greater Vernon.
“I am passionate about conserving and honouring the culture and heritage of those whose lives, stories, and legacies make the North Okanagan the place it is today – and the Caetani story is certainly one that has had a huge impact,” she says.
Today, the Caetani Centre hosts tours of its museum and gallery, an artist-in-residence program, studio tours, a summer music festival, outdoor theatrical performances, and numerous other arts and culture events throughout the year. The centre also holds all of Caetani’s Recapitulation series of 47 large luminous watercolours, a changing selection of which are on display in the gallery.
“Honestly, I’m humbled to be part of the team working toward Sveva’s vision for her home to be realized. We continue to be a dynamic and inclusive place that harbours creativity and celebrates the arts and artists. It’s a privilege to be a part of celebrating her legacy.”
Rosnau thanks previous Executive Director, Susan Brandoli, for her 10 years of leadership at the Caetani Centre. “Susan’s passion and persistence has left a lasting impact on the centre and those who support it. It may be a cliché, but I’m honoured to be following in her footsteps.”
Rosnau invites all members of the Caetani Cultural Centre Society to the Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, July 26 at 7 p.m. at the Caetani Centre.
“I’ve met so many members, artists, and supporters already, and it would be great to meet more – and to discuss our upcoming year and exciting initiatives!”
For more information or to become a member, please visit www.caetani.org.