Writers in Residence at Gladstone's Library
Writer in Residence Programme for 2015: Now Closed
Now in its fourth year, the prize was established by Gladstone’s Library in association with Damian Barr (saloniere and author of Maggie and Me) to explore and define liberal values in the twenty-first century. As the Library’s Warden, Peter Francis, points out, ‘we are committed to maintaining Gladstone’s legacy of engagement with social, moral, and spiritual questions, by helping people reflect more deeply on the questions that concern them: this scheme is an extension of that mission’. Previous judges of the prize include Damian Barr, Stella Duffy, and Jessica Fellowes. The 2015 judges are Vanessa Gebbie, Charles Gladstone, Katrina Naomi and Sarah Waters.
Reflecting the Library’s liberal heritage, both the application process and residency requires engagement with the liberal (with a small ‘L’) tradition. Our working definition of ‘liberal values’ is broad. By liberal values, we mean: a commitment to freedom and social justice, tolerance and respect of difference, open-mindedness coupled with intellectual curiosity, generosity of spirit and a willingness to learn from others: these values are not aligned with any political party. As such, ‘engagement’ with liberal values can take a variety of forms – ‘engagement’ might be critical, supportive or merely observant. Through writing, discussion, and reflection, Writer in Residence help Gladstone’s Library (and our enthusiastic user base) redefine liberal values for the twenty-first century.
Adnan Mahmutovic, 2014 Writer in Residence: ‘It is great being in a place where people love and take pride in what they do, regardless of the kind of work they do. It is this amazing human atmosphere that makes the stay here as rewarding as it is. Spending all day long at Gladstone’s astonishing old library, you just don't want to leave until they kick you out at 10 pm, because, let’s face it, you do need some sleep, and they’re just being kind to you. And you may even claim a favourite chair or desk.
Vanessa Gebbie, 2013 Writer in Residence: ‘I needed to do little else but focus on the work in hand: novel number two. A whole month during which I worked in a place that resembles a Victorian Gothic film set, which cannot fail to inspire, delight, amuse. When concentration lifted, I had only to reach for the nearest shelf, and I would have in my hand one of the 32,000 volumes that made up the private library of William Ewart Gladstone – and if I was lucky, it would be one of the 22,000 that he may have read himself.’
2014 Writer in Residence programme
For one month's residency:
Judy Brown, winner of the Manchester Poetry Prize (2010), the Poetry London Competition (2009) and the Hamish Canham Poetry Prize (2005) and Poet in Residence at the Wordsworth Trust (2013). Judy will be with us from Sunday 1 June - Tuesday 1 July.
Her first collection of poetry, Loudness (Seren, 2011) was shortlisted for the 2011 Forward/Felix Dennis award and the following year for the Fenton Aldeburgh prizes for best first collection. Her pamphlet, Pillars of Salt (Templar, 2006), won Templar Poetry’s pamphlet competition.
Rebecca Abrams , author and critic, teaches creative writing at the University of Oxford. Rebecca will be with us in October and November.
Her debut novel, Touching Distance (Macmillan, 2008), explores midwifery, slavery and medical discovery in the late 18th century. It was shortlisted for the McKitterick Prize for Literature and won the Medical Journalists’ Association Award for Fiction. She is also the author of several acclaimed works of non-fiction, including When Parents Die (Taylor & Francis, 2012) and The Playful Self (Fourth Estate, 2007).
Rebecca's events are to be confirmed so watch this space.
Peter Moore, a visiting lecturer at City University and writer of historical fiction. Saturday 1 March - Tuesday 1 April.
His debut novel, Damn His Blood (Chatto & Windus, 2012) which explores the dark murder of a Reverend in the early nineteenth century, has been described as channelling Hardy in its cast of characters and expertly weaves the truth of the past into a gleefully twisted, bloody and thrilling fiction.
While Peter was staying with us, he collected more than 7000 photos of the Library. Using computer wizadry, he tied these together and made this stunning timelapse video that really captures the atmosphere of Gladstone's Library. View it below or follow this link to Peter's YouTube feed. The music is Yan Tiersen's 'Comptine d'un Autre été'.
For two weeks’ residency:
Adnan Mahmutović, formerly a Bosnian war refugee, now a lecturer and Writer in Residence at the Department of English, Stockholm University. Adnan was with us from Monday 20 January - Monday 3 February, and with fellow Writers in Residence, Neil Griffiths, Tania Hershman and Melissa Harrison, was a leading figure in our inaugural Hearth mini festival. During a weekend of stimulating workshops, talks, discussions and debate, Adnan led a talk on writing across borders.
Adnan's fiction explores contemporary European history and the issues of identity and home for Bosnian refugees. His work includes: short fiction, How to Fare Well and Stay Fair (Salt, 2012); novel length fiction, Thinner than a Hair (Cinnamon Press, 2010); academic writing, Ways of Being Free (Rodopi, 2012) and film, Guzul.
Melissa Harrison, a writer, photographer and winner of the 2010 John Muir Trust’s ‘Wild Writing’ Award. Melissa was with us from Thursday 30 January - Thursday 10 February, and with fellow Writers in Residence, Neil Griffiths, Tania Hershman and Adnan Mahmutovic, was a leading figure in our inaugural Hearth mini festival. During a weekend of stimulating workshops, talks, discussions and debate, Melissa led a talk on inspiration.
Melissa's debut novel, Clay (Bloomsbury, 2013), has been chosen for Amazon’s ‘Rising Stars’ programme and is shortlisted for the Portsmouth First Fiction award. The novel explores the balance of life within a city and deconstructs binary opposites such as young and old, nature and development and recklessness and caution.
Neil Griffiths is the author of two novels. Neil was with us from Monday 27 January - Monday 10 February, and with fellow Writers in Residence, Melissa Harrison, Tania Hershman and Adnan Mahmutovic, was a leading figure in our inaugural Hearth mini festival. During a weekend of stimulating workshops, talks, discussions and debate, Neil was interviewed by the Library's Warden, Peter Francis, on his writing and the theological novel.
His debut novel, Betrayal in Naples (Penguin), explores the consequential nature of life and was the winner of the Authors' Club Best First Novel, and his second, Saving Caravaggio (Penguin), was shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year.
Patricia Bracewell is a Californian born author and the author of historical fiction debut Shadow on the Crown (Viking Adult, 2013). Patricia will be with us from Monday 27 October - Friday 7 November.
Based on real events and imagined as the first instalment of a trilogy, Shadow on the Crown delves into the lives of Emma of Normandy and King Æthelred the Unready and introduces readers to a previously unexplored chapter of English history.
Tania Hershman is the author of two short story collections. Tania was with us from Thursday 30 January - Thursday 10 February, and with fellow Writers in Residence, Neil Griffiths, Adnan Mahmutovic and Melissa Harrison, was a leading figure in our inaugural Hearth mini festival. During a weekend of stimulating workshops, talks, discussions and debate, Tania led a workshop on flash fiction.
Tania's first collection, The White Road and Other Stories (Salt 2008), was commended by judges of the 2009 Orange Award for New Writers. Her second collection was My Mother was an Upright Piano: Fictions (Tangent Books, 2012). She is often broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4, and her work is commonly inspired by science. Tania was recently Writer in Residence at the Science Faculty of Bristol University from 2009-2012.