Category Archives: Residencies

In Residence at the Jan Michalski Foundation

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I’ve been excitedly settling in to my modernist ‘treehouse’ for a month-long stay at the Jan Michalski Foundation in Montricher, Switzerland, where I am a writer in residence over May.

It’s a wonderful programme – offering a beautiful library, accommodation and the time and space to write – and I was especially lucky, because my current book project Islands of Abandonment fell into their special concentration in nature writing.

If you are a writer or translator (and especially if you have an interest in writing about the environment, human impacts or sustainability), I highly recommend applying. It’s been fascinating to meet writers from all over the world (France, Spain, Korea, America…) and it’s an opportunity too for me to brush off my schoolgirl French.

Applications for next year open summer 2019. Find more information here.

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With thanks

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I recently received some welcome news: I’ve received financial awards from two organisations to defray the costs associated with my fellowship at the MacDowell Colony. So I must thank the Whiting Foundation, which generously supports the writers of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, and the Traulsen International Travel Fund, which specifically assists artists travelling to MacDowell from overseas.

Such funding is obviously of enormous practical help to a self-employed writer. Financial support also has a knock-on effect: it is a confidence boost, and it helps the recipient to feel that their work and time has value. (Information about donating to the MacDowell Foundation can be found here.)

An invitation to MacDowell was a wonderful opportunity – see me above, proudly posing with the ‘tombstones’ in my studio, where visiting artists recording their names and dates. I highly recommend making an application if a stay of two to 12 weeks in a studio in the woods sounds like something you would enjoy.

If you are a writer, artist, filmmaker or composer and are interested in applying to the MacDowell Colony, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want any advice about the application process, or further information about what it’s like to stay there.

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MacDowell Colony fellowship

IMG_0633I’m not long back from a beautiful (and productive!) four-week stay as a fellow of the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. If you haven’t heard of it, MacDowell is an artists’ colony/retreat for those working in all art forms, and while I was there there were composers, photographers, painters, installation artists, filmmakers, novelists, poets, playwrights and non-fiction writers. Continue reading

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Residency at Gladstone’s Library

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I’ve loved my time so far as writer in residence at Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden, north Wales. While here I’ve been working on new writing, and also held an evening book event in the chapel on the evening of 6 May which was well attended – thanks all who came. I have one more event to come – a creative non-fiction masterclass on 26 May, which is now sold out.

I’m finding it a great place to write. Being surrounded by likeminded people all hard at work on their own projects is very conducive to sustained periods of concentration. It being very beautiful – and the food being excellent – and the weather being glorious – doesn’t hurt either. I’m very lucky to be here.

If you’re interested in visiting the library, you can sign up as a day reader, or book yourself in for a stay. Rooms start from £66/night B&B (link), and there are a number of scholarships and bursaries available. The writers in residence selection process runs annually, with an April deadline. It’s for authors whose work ‘engages with liberal values.’ More information and details on how to apply here.

 

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Tracking badgers with Nan Shepherd

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I wrote a short postcard from the foot of the snowy Cairngorms for The Guardian’s Country Diary, while doing a week-long residency on the Inshriach House estate with The Bothy Project. It can be found on the Guardian site here, or after the fold.

(Edit: If you’re interested in staying in this beautiful contemporary bothy at Inshriach, but aren’t in a position to apply for an artist’s residency, Inshriach House takes private holiday bookings during the summer months – find it here.)

(Edit II: The Artist Bothy is now available to buy as a pre-fab cabin, from Bothy Stores. I love it, would very happily live in it, and just need to get a patch of land to put one on….)

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