Writers in Residence 2017

The submission period for our Writers in Residence 2017 programme opens on 4th January 2016 and closes on 1st June 2016. This is a postmark deadline.

Currently into its sixth year, Gladstone’s Library’s competitive Writer in Residence programme was established in association with Damian Barr (saloniere and author of Maggie and Me) to explore and define liberal values in the twenty-first century. The programme provides space and resources - a month's stay at the UK's only residential library - for four writers whose work engages with liberal values. By liberal values, we do not mean views aligned with any particular political ideology. 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.

Four places will be awarded. The dates of the tenures are February, May, September and November 2016, but these can be negotiated; if you would like less than a month, for example, please ask in your covering letter. During the residency writers deliver an evening event and a day's masterclass on any aspect of the writing process. These usually take place on the first Tuesday and final Saturday of the residential month. We also ask that two blog posts are submitted either before or during the residency.

Founded by Gladstone in 1894, the Library is committed to maintaining his legacy of engagement with social, moral and ethical questions by helping people reflect more deeply on the questions that concern them. It does not claim to provide any of the answers but it does offer a comfortable, sociable and stimulating environment together with unparalleled resources for creative study including renowned collections of historical, cultural, theological and political materials: 33,000 books come from Gladstone’s own library and many contain annotations made by Gladstone himself.

Through reflection and writing during their stay, Writers in Residence help us redefine liberal values for the twenty-first century. Their engagement might be critical, supportive or merely observant. Gladstone was a polymath with interests ranging widely across religion, history, social justice and politics from Classical times to what was then contemporary culture. The scope of these four residencies is equally wide and we welcome fiction and non-fiction writers. Gladstone read on average five books a week so you can be sure that the Library has something to offer you. The connections he made between the various disciplines he delved into helped shape his particular form of liberalism.

Gladstone's Library is unique – it is the only residential library in the United Kingdom. It provides a meeting place dedicated to dialogue, debate and learning for open-minded individuals and groups who are looking to explore pressing questions and to pursue study and research in an age of distraction and easy solutions. All are welcome at the Library regardless of gender, race, class, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. The Writer in Residence is expected to be at ease with this inclusive ethos.

The submission rules are as follows:

  1. Entrants must submit a one page CV/biography, a copy of the book they would like the judges to consider, a 250 word statement about their take on (re)defining ‘liberal values’ and 250 words on the work that they plan to do at the Library as well as their idea for an evening event and day masterclass. 
  2. Submissions should be sent to Gladstone’s Library, Church Lane, Hawarden, Flintshire CH5 3DF, and should be marked ‘Writer in Residence 2017’. Please note that no correspondence can be entered into.  
  3. Prose fiction and creative non-fiction, poetry, screenplays and drama are all eligible for submission.
  4. Submitted texts must have been published in the last three years, and must have been published in English.
  5. We accept manuscript submissions accompanied by evidence of a contract and publishing schedule. Please contact Katharine Easterby (katharine.easterby@gladlib.org) to submit. Please note that no correspondence can be entered into.  
  6. Academic monographs are not eligible for Writer-in-Residence and should be submitted to the Library’s scholarship programme.
  7. We do not accept self-published authors of any kind.
  8. Entry is free and limited to one entry per author.
  9. You cannot enter under a pseudonym.
  10. Winners will be notified by the end of September and invited to a launch event at the National Liberal Club.
  11. Winners agree to take part in publicity activity and abide by Library rules during tenure.
  12. Situated just six miles from Chester, Gladstone’s Library is Britain’s only Prime Ministerial library and the national memorial to William Ewart Gladstone. It is home to a unique collection of more than 250,000 printed items and offers a comfortable, sociable and stimulating environment together with resources for creative study including renowned collections of theological, historical, cultural and political materials. For more information about the Library, please visit the Library’s website: www.gladstoneslibrary.org

'You are looked after well - the food is delicious, the accommodation, with writing desk, is comfortable, quiet and spotless. But it is the library that drew me, [...] I wrote so much, and am sure the magic will work again' (Vanessa Gebbie, 2013)