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This Week on Writers Abroad
Category: Site News
Tags: members' news

After last weeks huge scoop of brags, this week we have news that Jill has been shortlisted in the I Must Be Off travel writing comp. This is huge and we all congratulate Jill on this success.


Today’s meeting was chaired by Chris and well attended and we swiftly moved through the agenda with some great input from all. Check the Meeting Room forum for minutes.  As a result the September challenges and opportunities thread will soon be up and running. If you have anything, please add the details.


The meeting also discussed WA Magazine submissions, the draft newsletter, and members’ visions - all in the excellent minutes.


There has been a little confusion again with the planner - Nigel will be adding a super Monday Muse for us this week and will delay posting his blog until September 11th - confusion sorted I think.


Our Poetry Project is running a challenge to write a ballad for submission to Writing Magazine deadline 15th September. Details in the Poetry Project forum.


I think that is it. If I’ve forgotten anything, just holler.


A New Kind of Tourism
Category: Writing
Tags: Literary Famous Writers


A New Kind of Tourism

Have you ever wandered around a famous writer’s home?  Perhaps stood beside the writing desk secretly hoping you would find inspiration? Maybe gazed from their windows and wondered what they were thinking as they pondered the same landscape? The scattering of dust on the mantelpiece might contain microscopic particles of ‘writerly DNA,’ which by standing close, was possible to absorb.

There is often something special about the atmosphere of these homes, is it the location, the tranquillity or merely the fact that the author was successful?

Literary tourism is booming. If we consider that Chawton House in Hampshire, the only house that Jane Austen lived (and wrote) in is open to the public and saw 40,000 visitors visit last year, we can see that this brand of tourism has become quite an industry.

There are myriad well-known writers homes open around England and as 2017 has been declared the  Year of Literary Heroes in Britain, let’s visit a couple here   

Winston Churchill lived at Chartwell in Sevenoaks, Kent for forty years until his death in 1965. Apart from his role in politics, a love of art and his ability as an artist, he was a prolific writer. His work comprised historical books, memoirs, short stories and one novel, forty-three books in total. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953 and is often quoted as saying – “HISTORY WILL BE KIND TO ME FOR I INTEND TO WRITE IT.” 

Chartwell is now managed by the National Trust and in 2016 saw over 232,000 people visit. The library and study are set up just as if the former prime-minister had momentarily left the room. We can almost imagine him returning to the room to retrieve his glasses left on the blotter or the briefcase cast under the desk.



Let’s also look at the home of Vita Sackville- West whilst we are still in Kent. Vita loved reading and writing, she was passionate about words. A quick check on Goodreads says she wrote 92 books. Her work comprised mainly novels, poetry and several biographies. Her love life is legendary and her affair with Virginia Woolfe well-known but she remained married to Harold Nicolson, a politician and a writer. In 1930, they purchased Sissinghurst Castle which was built in the middle ages and surrounded by a moat. At the time of purchase, the castle was extremely run down and in need of much restoration which Vita and Harold accomplished over the years. One of the main features being an octagonal four storey tower where Vita used to write. Aside from writing, Vita was a keen gardener and her purple garden a work of art. To quote the National Trust website – ‘Today the Purple Border is a complex tapestry of purples ranging from violet-blue through to crimson-magenta and every shade in between.’

Sissinghurst is run by the National Trust and was visited by almost 199,000 people in 2016. I have touched on three writer’s homes but there are many others. Shakespeare’s home in Stratford-on-Avon, Dickens home in Doughty Street, London, Charlotte Bronte in Thornton, Yorkshire to name but a few.

Do you visit writer’s homes? How does the visit affect you? Are your writerly batteries recharged? In conclusion, I leave you with my favourite quote from Vita Sackville-West.

"It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop."



















This Week on Writers Abroad
Category: Site News
Tags: writers abroad creative writing expat writers


What's New This Week?

  • Vanessa has raised the fact that every time a blog post gets published automatically to FB, her image is sometimes used. I have tried to change things via Networked Blogs but if you use an image at the beginning of the post this should be selected...
  • Dianne has written the Blog post this week about plot and where to start your story. Some interesting points about doing things a little differently.
  • Lesley is providing the inspiration through the Monday Muses with some fab prompts, one very close to her heart and some great pictures. Loving the monkey one!
  • Both Crilly and Alyson have risen to the August Challenge... not too late to post something!
  • Where to begin on the Bragging Stool? The Ad Hoc'ers have done it again; Sue, Crilly, Angela, Chris and Laura. Sue also has achived first place in a poetry competition in the Writing Magazine, Jill has a secret to tell, but not yet and has been longlisted in the I Must Be Off comp, Alyson came third in Morgan Baileys 100 word competition and made the long list of the Exeter Creative Writing Matters comp... phew! We need a sofa, not a stool! Congrats to all and shout out if I've missed anyone.
  • Content required for the WA Mag Issue 7 has been posted in the Magazine forum. Filling up nicely. Deadline for copy is September 30th
  • And finally, the Formal Chat is this Sunday at 4pm, Agenda will be winging its way to you shortly.

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