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Learning from failure by Emily Morris

by Amy Sumner | Sunday, 20th October 2019

Back on a sweltering day in August, I was cycling along the Welsh Road when I heard a thud and a dull skid. I stopped, turned around and saw that one of my overstuffed panniers had fallen off the back of my bike and bounced into the gutter. I wondered if I could hail a black cab, but I wasn't in Manchester anymore.


Self care for writers by Suzannah Evans

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 17th October 2019

It is undeniably brilliant to be a Poet in Residence here. Every day I get up and eat breakfast that someone else has cooked, leave the dishes and scuttle off to write in one of the most beautiful, wooden beamed, book-scented libraries I have ever been in. After lunch I take a walk around the village in one direction or another, and then come back to write more or read until dinner time.


My bleeding art by Suzannah Evans

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 11th October 2019

A couple of nights ago, at my Q&A event at the Library, an audience member asked a question along the lines of: If I cared about climate change, why wasn’t I writing political slogans instead of poems? A good question in these times of heightened worry for our world and our environment, and one that I answered briefly at the time, but which I think is very important to address more fully too. 



How to read 22,000 books by Amber Massie-Blomfield

by Amy Sumner | Sunday, 01st September 2019

William Gladstone (who lived until he was 88) read 22,000 books in his life. They like telling people this fact when they arrive at the Library, I suppose, because they like to see how their faces contort as they try to do the maths. Let me save you the trouble – it works out at around a book a day, for most of his adult life. 




Play time by Oliver Emanuel

by Amy Sumner | Monday, 18th March 2019

My two year old daughter has been with me at Gladstone’s for the past few days. Like any parent of a toddler will tell you, her desire for play is tireless. Tell me a story. Let’s go outside. Shall we dance? I’m a monster. Rrrr. There is seemingly no end to her enthusiasm and joy for making things up and mucking around.


Susanna Forrest on walking

by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 12th March 2019

After a certain age your body lets you know that sitting for hours at a desk requires a degree of physical fitness. Via carpal tunnel, twanging hamstrings or a classic 'bad back', you discover that you are not, in fact, capable of eight hours on what the Germans call your 'sitzfleisch' or 'seat meat'. 


Sophie Mackintosh on finding a routine

by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 06th March 2019

One of the most beneficial parts about coming to Gladstone’s is the opportunity to be far away from your usual daily routine. It’s amazing how much energy and brain-space is freed up when you take away so many parts of every day life - cooking, cleaning, commuting, and even having a television.


Sophie Mackintosh on making time to read

by Amy Sumner | Monday, 25th February 2019

Having never been a Writer in Residence before, I was extremely excited about the idea of getting an enormous amount of work done before having to head back to inconvenient ‘real life’. Write one book? The library is open from 9am to 10pm every day, after all - the problem will be writing too many books, if anything!




Gladstone, two books and a film for Christmas

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 20th December 2018

This is my Christmas…I was going to say ‘letter’, but I guess it is more of a homily. Hey-ho!  I don’t get to preach often these days but this is what I feel 'compelled' to write. My text, if you can call it that, comes from Naomi Alderman, now a much lauded and fully established novelist, who was our first Writer in Residence in 2012.


NOT researching in Gladstone’s Library...

by Amy Sumner | Monday, 26th November 2018

You know that moment, when you really should be hard at work. When you really should be reading your way through a particularly dense chapter that is connected to the subject of your next book, with loads of footnotes and references which you have to laboriously work your way through, holding down the page number, consulting the back of the (heavy) book, with the name of the author, the publisher, the date of publication, and let’s face it, all the boring information you need. And your neck begins to ache, and you think you really must stretch your legs, at least stand up and take a turn along the shelves where the grass suddenly seems greener, and the books seem far more glamorous and fascinating. And so you do...




Polly Atkin on her February at Gladstone’s Library

by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 13th June 2018

Sitting with my feet in a river in rich yellow sun on a June evening, it’s hard to think of February with any clarity. Looking towards the summer solstice after six weeks of (almost) unremittingly fine weather, the library and my wintery sojourn there seems very far away, almost implausible. 


Rachel Malik on Horne’s Guide to Whitby and Dracula

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 19th April 2018

A few of the many things I loved about my stay:

The rook convention outside the library; window sills so wide you can organise your life on them; the giant woodpigeons; the mushroom quiche; that there is a book called The Best Books which Gladstone wrote his name in (some things seemed simpler in the late 19th Century); treacle tart; that I thought a lot, read a lot and wrote quite a lot. That I worked out on the last day my villain’s bad, bad secret. Guilty pleasure: watching both series of The Hour again in the evenings. I love Romola Garai.



Could you be our next Writer in Residence?

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 04th January 2018

Gladstone’s Library is now open for submissions for its 2019 Writers in Residence programme, from which a selection of the best contemporary writers will be chosen to reside at the Library to focus on their current projects. 


Christmas reading recommends from the Gladstone's Library team!

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 15th December 2017

Gifting the perfect book to a person is one of the great joys of life; creating a perfect partnership which you can just feel in your bones will last.

With that in mind and as a little Christmas treat, the Gladstone's Library team have gathered together some of our books of the year and reading recommends perfect for stockings. If you are still looking for that perfect gift for someone special, we hope you can find inspiration within this guide! 







Key Strokes: Writer as Swimmer by William Atkins

by Amy Sumner | Monday, 27th February 2017

I’ve always been interested in the relationship between the work of the mind and that of the body, how one can influence the other, and the extent to which the physical overlaps with the mental: How the reservoir of one kind of energy seeps into or draws upon the other.




Gladfest interview: Ian Parks

by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 02nd August 2016

Ian Parks was one of the first Writers in Residence at Gladstone's Library in 2012. His collections of poems include Shell Island, The Landing Stage, Love Poems 1979-2009, and The Exile's House. He is the editor of Versions of the North: Contemporary Yorkshire Poetry and was Writing Fellow at De Montfort University, Leicester from 2012 - 2014.



Stronger Together by Emma Rees

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 24th June 2016

Last weekend I ran a workshop for around 20 people as part of my writing residency at Gladstone’s Library. I arrived a week earlier, on the Sunday when the news was breaking about the brutal murders of dozens of people at Pulse, an LGBTQI nightclub in Orlando. On Thursday, as the ghastly news from America had only just begun to soak into the fabric of the world’s narrative palimpsest, I was writing at my desk when I heard about the murder of Jo Cox on the streets of West Yorkshire. That same day, I read, Boko Haram had shot dead 18 women who were attending a funeral in Kudu, Nigeria. The news reports on all three cases, and the Twitter updates and Facebook posts about them, combined to have the effect of making the world – already a dangerous place – feel somehow more urgently precarious.


Trustee Stella Duffy awarded OBE

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 17th June 2016

We are thrilled to offer our congratulations to 2012 Writer in Residence and Trustee, Stella Duffy, who has been awarded an OBE for Services to the Arts in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List! It is always a pleasure to work with Stella and we can think of few people more deserving of this award.



Snowdonia by Amy Liptrot

by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 04th May 2016

This morning I put my swimsuit on under my clothes and drove from the Library to Snowdonia. On the way, I stopped at a Holy Well (‘The Welsh Lourdes’, 1 pound entry) where they displayed the crutches of pilgrims, no longer needed after taking the Holy Water.


The Writing Process by Susan Barker

by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 13th April 2016

A writer I like, Mohsin Hamed, wrote an essay for the New York Times a couple of years ago, in which he described the DNA of fiction as a double-helix: one strand comprised of what the writer knows, and the other strand comprised of what the writer wants to know.


A blog by Rebecca Farmer

by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 16th March 2016

If you are lucky enough to stay at Gladstone’s Library for a whole month, and I was, it is almost inevitable that, by the end of your stay, there will be things that get left behind and other things you will take away. I could get metaphysical about leaving behind a month of my life that had now become the past but, instead, I’ll tell you about the washing I left. Now is not the time for intimate detail but you’ll be relieved to know the washing was clean and had been left hanging on a rack. I was soon reunited with it when it arrived in the post neatly parcelled up as a kind of living proof that my stay at the Library hadn’t all been a dream…(cue wavy images, floaty music…). 


Interview: Natasha Pulley

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 25th February 2016

Natasha Pulley is our February Writer in Residence here at Gladstone’s Library. This means that for the entire month, Natasha has been living in, working on her current project, reading, conversing and just generally giving us all a lot to think about over dinner!


How I met Sylvia Pankhurst by Rachel Holmes

by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 26th January 2016

"How and why did you choose this subject?" 

As a biographer, this is the question I'm most frequently asked. I've been on the road with my latest book, Eleanor Marx: A Life for nearly two years since it was published on May Day 2014, and there's not a single event, interview, lecture or festival so far where this question hasn't come up. 


The Gladstones and the Pankhursts by Rachel Holmes

by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 25th November 2015

I’ve spent the day dusting off the historical connections between the Gladstones and the Pankhursts. These legendary British political families didn’t exactly have reciprocal dinner parties or exchange Christmas cards, but for the best part of two generations, they catalyzed each other’s lives.


A Feast of Words and Ideas: Gladfest by Robyn Cadwallader

by Amy Sumner | Tuesday, 10th November 2015

September isn’t the time to leave Australia and go travelling to the other side of the world. It’s the first month of spring. The air moves more lightly; the hard, hopeful buds are beginning to swell; the trees are coated in the bright green of young leaves; the blossom appears, seemingly, overnight; and the magpies turn ballsy. Outside my kitchen the Wisteria transforms from winding sticks to purple lanterns and the veggie garden grows weeds at an alarming rate.








Reflections - by Lachlan Mackinnon

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 31st July 2015

'On my way here, I read Joanne Limburg’s terrific new novel, A Want of Kindness, about Queen Anne. Quite apart from lighting up a patch of history I knew nothing about, the novel so engrossed me that I felt I was travelling through a much older country. I was therefore briefly startled by how much Gladstone’s Library is a child of his century...'



Shortlist for our 2016 Writers in Residence programme announced

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 09th July 2015

Gladstone’s Library has revealed the 10 books shortlisted for its successful Writers in Residence programme.

Now into its fifth 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.

The shortlist is made up of novels, poetry and creative non-fiction that, in the eyes of the shortlisters, best represent some of the most creative writing in the world today.
















On Borders by Adnan Mahmutovic

by Amy Sumner | Thursday, 30th January 2014

Our Writer in Residence Adnan Mahmutovic gears up for his Hearth talk in this post that examines borders. Should they be worried? How much can they be bothered? Adnan has the answers.










The Faith Thing

by Amy Sumner | Wednesday, 23rd May 2012

So, what of faith? Theres no getting away from it here in the Library, from its actual founding, to the theology room in the library itself, to the event last night to open the Robinson Room; from St


Naomi takes stock

Thursday, 15th March 2012

Gladstone is everywhere in this building. Paintings, writings, sculptures, even a photograph or two. There's a statue of him in the library itself in which I swear he's doing the Saturday Nigh

Zombies, Run!

by Amy Sumner | Friday, 02nd March 2012

Here our Writer-In-Residence, Naomi Alderman talks about the new iPhone app which she has created with games studio Six to Start.




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