An L to Z of Places to Write

What to do there and why it’s good for you

 

A guest post by Shaun Levin

Writing outdoors and away from our desks helps deepen our experience of the world, expand our range as writers, and takes us out of our comfort zone. Sometimes I feel that writing anywhere but at home is where I work best. For the past ten years or so I’ve been writing about painters while sitting in parks, art galleries, waiting rooms, cemeteries, on mountains or on trains. Not just in cafés.

Not everyone agrees on the virtues of public writing. A while back, Geoff Dyer took a dig at writing in public places. “In the early 1990s,” he said, “I went to live in Paris. The usual writerly reasons: back then, if you were caught writing in a pub in England, you could get your head kicked in, whereas in Paris, dans les cafés . . . Since then I’ve developed an aversion to writing in public. I now think it should be done only in private, like any other lavatorial activity.” On the whole, I like what Geoff Dyer has to say. When I was first starting out as a writer, Geoff Dyer said something nice to me, the kind of thing an established writer says to a new writer that fortifies the new writer’s faith in their own work.

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Founded by artists in 1984, the Vermont Studio Center is the largest international artists’ and writers’ residency program in the United States. Each month the Center hosts over 50 writers and artists from across the country and around the world.

The residencies take place on a historic 30-building campus along the Gihon River in Johnson, Vermont, and run for between 2 and 12 weeks.

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Joanne Harris started her working life as a teacher, writing three novels during her fifteen years in the classroom. This included the international bestseller Chocolat (1999), the success of which made Harris a member of the exclusive Millionaire Authors’ Club, a list of UK authors whose books have sold more than one million copies. Since becoming a full-time writer Harris has written a further twenty books including two cookbooks and a Dr Who novella.

Last month Harris, a witty and wise Tweeter, shared the following tips for writers using the hashtag #TenWaysToKickstartYourWriting.

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The American Library in Paris Visiting Fellowship 2016

View over the 7th arrondissement in Paris, dominated by the Eiffel Tower, and the Invalides. Photo by Adrian Pingstone

The American Library in Paris is a private, non-profit English-language library located in the 7th arrondissement. It was founded in 1920 by the American Library Association using cases of books sent to U.S. soldiers serving in France during World War I. Among the first trustees of the Library was the expatriate American author Edith Wharton, and Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein were both early patrons.

First awarded in 2013, the Library’s Visiting Fellowship offer writers the opportunity to work in Paris for a month or longer, while participating actively in the life of the American Library. Writers should be working on a book project, either fiction or non-fiction, which resonates with the Library’s Franco-American tradition and interests. As part of the fellowship, the library will connect the visiting writer to resources and people in Paris that could be helpful to his or her project.

Fellows receive a stipend of US$5000 to assist with travel and housing costs. In return fellows are expected to present a talk at the library, participate in a members-only dinner and appropriately acknowledge the Library in any publication outcomes resulting from the fellowship project.

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Opportunities for Writers January and February 2016

Our regular round-up of writing contests, publication opportunities, fellowships and other opportunities for writers is back for 2016.

If you would like these lists to continue throughout the year, please share this link on social media and don’t forget to tell your friends about our site.

Deadlines and details do sometimes change, so please check the relevant websites (linked in bold) for all the latest details. 

The University of Notre Dame
is offering every student accepted to its Creative Writing MFA program full scholarships plus a US$12,500 fellowship. Applications are open until 2 January.

Firewords Quarterly
is an independent literary magazine with a strong emphasis on design, as well as substance. Firewords aims to be a publication where exciting new writers can have their voices heard and remembered. Submissions of short fiction, flash fiction and poetry for issue six, which carries theme ‘Secrets’, are open until 14 January.

Ploughshares
is accepting fiction and non-fiction of up to 6000 words until 15 January. Writers are asked to include a short cover letter citing major publications and awards, as well as any association or past correspondence with a guest or staff editor.

Jentel Artist Residency Program
is located on a 1000 acre plus working cattle ranch 20 miles southeast of Sheridan, Wyoming. It offers individuals a supportive environment in which to further their creative development. Application for residencies in summer and fall close on 15 January.

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We recently asked our Facebook followers which Australian writers they knew and liked. The responses included many familiar names – Peter Carey, Kate Grenville and Tim Winton and others. While these are all, of course, very fine writers, there are many more fantastic authors from our homeland that we would love for our readers to know about.

Here are just some of the great books published in Australia recently, all of which have won major prizes.

Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke
Winner of the ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year

In this collection of award-winning stories, Melbourne writer Maxine Beneba Clarke has given a voice to the disenfranchised, the lost, the downtrodden and the mistreated. It will challenge you, it will have you by the heartstrings. This is contemporary fiction at its finest.

 

The Bush: Travels in the Heart of Australia by Don Watson
Winner of the Indie Book of the Year 

A milestone work of memoir, travel writing and history, The Bush takes us on a profoundly revelatory and entertaining journey through the Australian landscape and character.

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The University of Notre Dame in Indiana (USA)
Photo by Nathan Rubert via Creative Commons

Applications are now open for the University of Notre Dame’s Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing Program. Since 2015 the program has offered a full scholarship to every student it accepts.

Each student in the program receives:

  • a full tuition scholarship
  • a $12,500 fellowship
  • access to a 100% health insurance subsidy

In exchange all students are required to teach, participate in outreach projects and/or be involved with the on-campus literary journals – The Notre Dame Review, Re:Visions and The Bend – or with its international press, Action Books.

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