Q&A with 2015 Writer in Residence, Pascale Petit
Poet and author of The Huntress Pascale Petit talks to us about her 2015 residency at Gladstone's Library.
What prompted you to apply for the Gladstone’s Library Writer in Residence award?
Previous Writers in Residence raved about it and encouraged me to apply. I teach and mentor a lot and was finding it impossible to work on my own book, so I badly needed a month’s retreat, and Gladstone’s Library looked the perfect place to have precious ‘dream’ time!
Did you have any concerns about applying?
I was worried I wouldn’t have a useful ‘liberal value’ to contribute, but then I thought about my ethos when teaching creative writing and saw this might be valid, that I believe everyone should have access to creativity.
What did you take away from the residency?
A very warm feeling that every moment I was there I was supposed to be working on my book, and shouldn’t do anything else. I had a beautiful room I could hide away in and write; I had a beautiful desk in the library, earmarked as my own for the month, where I could write, though it was more like a world I created between the bookshelves; I had spots in the garden and abutting cemetery where I sat each morning very early, in mist or sun, scribbling then walking down the steep paths; there were grounds nearby where I could go for longer walks to clear my head if needed, where I felt safe; there were comfy settees, a fire, company and wine in the evenings if I wanted. The retreat made me feel safe and supported exploring difficult material, and I came away with a crucial part of Mama Amazonica written.
What advice would you give to anybody considering applying?
Apply! Just do it, now! You’ll love it.
Any further comments?
Gladstone’s Library is the perfect retreat for writers, everything there conspires to help you write, from the incredible library where you can make yourself at home until 10pm each night, to the quiet bedrooms for early morning writing at the desk, surrounded by inspiring gardens and the peaceful Welsh countryside. I was extremely lucky to be offered a residency at this special place that glows with creativity and calm.
If you think you could be our next Writer in Residence, click here for submission rules and deadlines.