Winner of 2017 Giller Prize

Winner of 2017 Giller Prize
Michael Redhill for his novel Bellevue Square

Friday, November 9, 2012

Get Thee to a Writers’ Colony


 
Balconies everywhere to admire the view at the Dairy Hollow Writers Colony
 
A couple of years ago I found an Internet site describing various writers’ colonies around the United States. A writers’ colony is very different from a writers’ school or a writers’ retreat or a writers’ conference.  No speakers, no pitches, no critiques, no workshops.  Just a lovely space to write and uninterrupted time to do so, (or procrastinate, play solitaire or pull one’s hair out by the roots. Whatever).

 
 

 Dairy Hollow Dinner - gourmet food, wine and good conversation

A quickie Google turned up many such colonies.  Some offer rooms, others cabins or suites.  Some are expensive, others amazingly cheap and some are” pay what you can.”  Some offer a chance to apply for a scholarship.  A few are free! 

 Some writers’ colonies are set up to take visual artists, composers, dancers and other artists. At Dairy Hollow in Arkansas, a suite with a professional kitchen is available for writers of cook books.
 

Joan Baril with gourmet chef Jana Jones before the wine tasting party
 

 Some accept applications all year round while others restrict applications to certain times of the year.  If your application is successful, you might have to wait several months before you start your residency.
 
Here is a quote from the Lillian E Smith Centre for the Creative Arts, in Florida. The Center offers each resident a furnished cottage, which includes a bathroom and a kitchen facility. There are currently three available cottages, two on top of a ridge of Screamer Mountain. There is a Common Room that is sometimes used for special occasions and also houses the laundry facilities offered to the residents.



No meals are provided, but grocery stores are conveniently located in the nearby town of Clayton. It is desirable for a resident to have a car, inasmuch as there is no public transportation.

A fee of $100.00 per week is charged to help defray the basic expenses of maintenance and operation. The length of each residency period is negotiable between the applicant and the director.  The web site  http://www.lillianesmith.org includes interesting photos of the cottages.

I found the application process daunting.  Dairy Hollow, in Arkansas, required a publication list, an up-to-date CV, a description of my writing project and three written recommendations from knowledgeable people.  I found it hard to ask people to write letters about me  but, to my surprise, everyone I asked seemed happy to do it.

Diary Hollow.  Unlike many colonies, Dairy Hollow provides food and what food! They have a gourmet chef on staff.  Dinners are congenial where everyone gathers after a hard day of writing or walking or exploring the near-by town of Eureka Springs.  One evening, we five residents set up a critique session is the main lounge which is available to us. On another, the colony hosted a wine tasting night for the community. But for the most part, our evenings consisted of interesting conversation and then— back to the lap top.

My suite is quiet and comfortable.  I do write here as well as play solitaire, pull my hair and pace about, all the things writers do.  I also go for long walks in the town or the beautiful Ozark hills.  I’m very glad I came.

 For more info on Dairy Hollow check out http://writerscolony.org. 
 
Hallowe'en at Dairy Hollow Writers' Colony
 Comments on this story are welcome. Click the comment link.  Leaving comments is now easier that ever.

 

 

No comments:

Post a Comment