Displaying items by tag: writer interview - Rosie Garland
How to ask for a residency

Since I wrote about the Power of Asking, I’ve been heartened by how many writers have told me they’re going to ask for Writers’ Residencies too. There are plenty of questions: What do you say? What do you ask for? This blog offers a few suggestions.

Where do you want your residency to be?
Chip shop, bus stop, lighthouse, theatre, cemetery. The choice is yours. Think of where you’d love to write. It may be a place you pass every day on the way to work, or somewhere you’ve stumbled on by chance. Perhaps you have a connection already. For example, when I was invited to read at The John Rylands Library, I fell in love with this Mancunian gem. It sparked a train of thought…

What do you want to do?
I’ve a pretty simple plan: my next novel is set in The John Rylands and I’m exploring what it’s like to write ‘on site’, drawing inspiration from the spirit of the place. You’ll have your own ideas. It’s a wonderful opportunity to try something new, with time to focus on your writing in an inspiring workspace. The clearer you are about what you’d like to create and how it’s connected to the venue you’ve chosen, the better. Do your research, and put together a proposal. I’ve broken this down below.

How long is a residency?
Weeks, months, or a year – it’s largely up to you and the organisation. My residency is running for a calendar year; time to produce a first draft of the novel. I’ve committed to being on site for one day a week, but can’t keep away from the place…

What can you offer?
As well as being clear about what you want to achieve, think about what you can offer your host organisation. Ideas can include giving talks, workshops, writing tutorials or readings, and writing blogs on the progress of the residency. You might produce a poem etched in the window, or devise a grand finale performance. There’s no limit.
If you’re unsure, ask for advice from writer friends (or friends of friends) who’ve done residencies in the past. If you don’t know any – ask the internet. Social media can be a lot more supportive than you might imagine.

How do you get an introduction?
You’ll need to approach your chosen organisation to find out of they’re interested in your idea. I asked writer friends for signposting, and got an introduction. People were only too pleased to help, a warm reminder that we’re in this together. There’s a community of writers out there, and we are pretty groovy people.

What about money?
This blog is about building your own residency from scratch, not applying for a funded opportunity. So, when the question of money and payment arose (pretty much the first question), I said no. Nowhere has money for residencies, unless it’s a regular gig like The Forestry Commission
And, unsurprisingly, these residencies are massively oversubscribed.
A personal tip is to source funding elsewhere. I applied to The Arts Council - Successfully.

Then again – aim for the stars! One writer told me she’s asking for a residency at a private members’ club with buckets of money. Needless to say, she IS asking them to fund it.

What’s the worst that can happen?
Fear of the word no can stop us asking in the first place. Your chosen venue may say no. But they’re not going to poke you with forks. Trust me on this one. And in the words of Steve Jobs: “Most people don't get experiences because they never ask. I've never found anybody who didn't want to help me when I've asked them for help.”

Keep going. Keep asking.

https://rylandscollections.wordpress.com/2019/02/26/how-to-ask-for-a-residency/

Published in News
Thursday, 27 April 2017 10:34

23.5.2017 - Women's Institute, Levenshulme

Levenshulme Women’s Institute

Inspire Café,
747 Stockport Rd,
Levenshulme,
Manchester M19 3AR
7.30-9.30pm


Levenshulme WI are delighted to announce that our guest speaker this month will be the phenomenally talented, and true local legend, Rosie Garland, who will be reading, talking, answering questions and generally being fabulous for our entertainment. She'll be bringing her new book along with her and there will be copies available to purchase, which we hope she will be kind enough to sign. We will therefore be keeping WI business to a minimum this month, but the usual refreshments (tea, coffee, cakes...) will be provided, of course.
The meeting will be free of charge to Levenshulme WI members, but as Inspire have very kindly accomodated us for the occasion, we do have extra space for guests to come along and join us, and we will be happy to welcome guests of any gender to this special event. As with any of our monthly meetings, guests are very welcome for a suggested donation of £3, payable on the door. We do ask that both members and guests book tickets through Eventbrite so that we can keep track of numbers, as we expect this event to be very popular!


https://www.facebook.com/levenshulmewi/

Published in Gig List

I was interviewed recently for WordMothers – a wonderful blog run by Australian writer Nicole Melanson. WordMothers is dedicated to showcasing women's work in the literary arts around the world. It features female author interviews and women in the book industry discussing what they're really passionate about.
Here's the link! Or you can read it in full below.
Click to read the interview on the WordMothers blog

WordMothers – Rosie Garland interviewed by Nicole Melanson
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I was a reader. Even more fabulously, I was read to. Early on, I discovered the joy of being transported to other worlds via the magic of words. It wasn't long before I started telling my own tales. I have a cough-sweet tin filled with books I created for my dolls, and wrote my first novel aged nine - a thrilling adventure involving super-heroines, spaceships and sharks. With pictures.
In fact, on the (mercifully rare) occasions I meet someone who professes to be a writer and yet not have time to read, my chin taps the floor. As Stephen King said: "This is like a guy starting up Mount Everest saying that he didn't have time to buy any rope or pitons."

WHAT IS YOUR LATEST BOOK OR CURRENT PROJECT?
I'm not happy unless I'm busy on a number of projects and am still learning the art of getting that number right...
My second novel 'Vixen' is out in paperback on February 12th and there's a busy book tour coming up. It's set in 1349, the year the Black Death arrived in England. This springs from my fascination with eras when the world was on the cusp of massive change.
I'm writing new poetry. In particular, a sequence of narrative poems inspired by the 2 years I worked as a teacher in Darfur, Sudan. Truly a stranger in a strange land. In addition, I'm getting on with my next novel for HarperCollins. It's at that stage where I hate it, and it is little more than a tangled heap of words.
I'm also treading the boards as Rosie Lugosi the Vampire Queen. If that wasn't enough, my band The March Violets are touring Europe and the USA in autumn 2015 with our new album, Made Glorious.
http://www.marchviolets.com/
Yes- busy. I love the interesting projects that come into my life! One I am particularly excited about is being invited to co-curate the John Rylands Library Literary Gothic exhibition in summer 2015.

WHAT IS YOUR WORK ENVIRONMENT LIKE?
I count myself as very, very lucky. I have a room of my own, to paraphrase Virginia Woolf. It's lined with bookcases and every square inch is stacked with bits and pieces picked up over the years (from Californian sand dollars to statues of Kali and all points in between).
I'm a writer who likes peace to scribble – which is the word I use to describe first-stage work. I love the physicality of handwriting at this stage. When I've got to the editing stage I move to the computer. I know a number of creatives who find music conducive to work – I guess I'm one of those who prefers quiet. I think it's to do with the fact that I love music – if I listen to music while I'm writing I end up singing along and writing goes up the spout.

WHEN DO YOU WORK? WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
I couldn't begin to say what a typical day is because I don't have them. What follows is a swift gallop around a 'writing day'.
I'm one of those 'morning people'. Morning, afternoon, middle of the night, I don't think it matters one iota as long as you find what works for you. However, I like to get started early. Part of it is because the world is not yet fully awake and that sense of possibility fires me up. Another reason is that I have a vicious internal critic who persists in telling me that everything I do is complete crap. She's a late riser, so I get up before she does and get started before the headtalk kicks in.
One of the things I wrestle with is the balance between writing and admin / social networking. A certain amount of the latter is unavoidable – it comes with the territory of writing being my job – but the knack is to refuse to let Twitter take over my life. I do admin in the afternoon. When I'm on a roll, I'll write into the evenings. It varies.
Also important is for me to take breaks. Not just to move the muscles, but to stay fresh. I take a leaf out of Julia Cameron's 'The Artists' Way' and go on an Artists' Date at least once a week: visit a museum, a gallery, or hang out with a creative friend.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Artist%27s_Way

WHAT IS YOUR WORK PROCESS?
I use creative rituals to get me started in the morning.
I'm not alone in being terrified of the blank page and a routine with small steps helps get the creative juices flowing. My day begins with three pages of journaling. This is not so much creative writing as a place to dump 'what I did yesterday' and clear the mind.
My rituals change (damn right too), but right now I like the exercise of writing six images (eg - something I can see / hear / smell, or that struck me yesterday). Coming out of the six images I write a haiku. Then the classic morning pages: three pages of free writing (the magic of 'threes'!). With those warm-ups under my belt, I get cracking on a heftier task like editing a chapter. An athlete wouldn't run a marathon from cold. My take is that a novelist functions in much the same way.
I want to grow, so seek out feedback and input. That might be going on a writing course, a writing retreat, getting feedback from creative colleagues, agent or editor. I am hungry to learn. For me, writing is a life process and is never done. At the age of 90, Pablo Casals was asked why he continued to practice the cello. 'Because I think I'm making progress,' was his reply.

WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?
There are times when I feel writing chose me. I write because I am made of stories. I write to work out and express how I think and feel. Writing as breathing out. Roald Dahl said - "A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it."

WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
The odd, the unusual, the folk who don't fit. I've always written about outsiders; whoever they might be. My fiction is about people who won't (or can't) squeeze into the one-size-fits-all templates on offer and the friction that occurs when they try.
I know this comes from having always been an outsider myself. My mother used to ask, 'why can't you write nice stories?' However, I don't explore dark themes as some kind of pose, or to be challenging for the sake of it. I write what I write because that's what comes knocking.
Sure, I can produce something that doesn't fire me up (I've tried), but my heart's not in it. There's the rub: I write where my passions reside. I've chased myself in circles trying to second-guess what a publisher 'might' want and it was a disaster. There's no point twisting yourself into shapes trying to please. That way lies madness, and not the interesting, creative sort. Maybe it's one of the reasons it took me so long for my novels to get published. But that's a different blog: http://booksbywomen.org/rosie-garland/

WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF WHAT YOU DO?
Keeping going.
As I mentioned above, I struggle with an internal critic who never says anything nice and never, ever stops. Simply put, this inner censor wants me to stop writing. It's been there since I was in my early teens, and shows no sign of going away. Sure, it's had to change its script a little over the past few years what with the launch of debut novel 'The Palace of Curiosities' and follow-up 'Vixen', but it has simply developed nasty new mantras. One example: when people say they like 'The Palace of Curiosities', they're only being nice.
I used to listen to and believe every word I heard. Result? I stopped writing. Call it writers' block if you will. An important part of my writing life has been improving how I deal with internalised put-downs.
The first step was to call the voice 'Mavis'. If you'd like to read my blog on Dealing with the Internal Critic – here it is.
http://www.rosiegarland.com/news-and-events/item/177-being-a-writer-dealing-with-the-internal-censor.html

WHAT IS YOUR VISION AS A WORD ARTIST OR BOOK INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL?
To communicate. To share. To get my stories out there and enable other word artists to do the same. To encourage - myself as well as others - to tell our stories. Especially when the mainstream world tells us those stories are uninteresting, dangerous, weird, off-kilter and just plain wrong. Especially when the mainstream world tells us that.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE FEMALE AUTHORS?
Oh goodness, how long have you got? I've been asked this question a gazillion times and I've yet to find a snappy answer. It's impossible! Which is good. I've read work by so many inspiring women that there simply isn't room to list them.

Published in News

News and Events

  • 10.8.2019 - Val McDermid's 10 most compelling LGBTQI writers in the UK today
    10.8.2019 - Val McDermid's 10 most compelling LGBTQI writers in the UK today

    I’m thrilled to announce that Val McDermid has selected me as one of the 10 most compelling LGBTQI+ writers working in the UK today!

    Val said: “These writers are writing for everyone. These are not words for a niche readership. These are not writings for a ghetto. These are the works of writers who have something to say that can be – and should be – heard by as many people as possible.”

    She continued: “Auden was wrong when he claimed “poetry makes nothing happen”. Words do change the world, reader by reader. They open our eyes, they provoke thought. The work of these 10 writers… will awaken in us fresh delight in the wonder of words.”

    The list was commissioned by the National Centre for Writing and British Council, supported by Arts Council England as part of a two-year programme to promote writing from the UK to an international audience. It also includes the amazing Colette Bryce, Juno Dawson, Juliet Jacques, Keith Jarrett, Kirsty Logan, Andrew McMillan, Fiona Mozley, Mary Paulson-Ellis & Luke Turner.

    The Guardian - The Word Is Out. Val McDermid selects Britain's 10 most outstanding lgbtq writers

    Written on Wednesday, 14 August 2019 08:44
  • 20.6.2019 - Peterloo: massacre or riot? The John Rylands Library
    20.6.2019 - Peterloo: massacre or riot? The John Rylands Library
    Peterloo – massacre or riot?

    On June 20th 2019, The John Rylands Library staged a live performance event to mark the bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre. It was a first for the library and I was excited to take the part of Jemima Bamford – one of the thousands of men, women and children who gathered at St Peter’s Field in August 1819. I donned bonnet and shawl and created a speech, imagining how she might have spoken out against the actions of the militia, who charged into an unarmed crowd, and murdered up to 23 people.

    Then joined by 5 other actors, I took part in a public debate as we decide: was Peterloo a massacre or a riot? At the end of the debate, votes were cast, and Manchester decided overwhelmingly – massacre.

    Written on Sunday, 21 July 2019 10:32
  • 8.6.2019 - Guest vox with The Bellwether Syndicate, Wave-Gotik Treffen
    8.6.2019 - Guest vox with The Bellwether Syndicate, Wave-Gotik Treffen
    Guest vox with The Bellwether Syndicate at Wave-Gotik Treffen

    The high point of WGT 2019 was being invited to be guest vocalist with The Bellwether Syndicate from Chicago! Rocking out to a special rendition of The March Violets track ‘Snake Dance’…
    The gig on Saturday 8th June 2019 at Taubchenthal, Leipzig was packed out – and what a crowd…

    A great pleasure to work with William Faith, Sarah Rose (aka Scary Lady Sarah), keyboards Phil Destefano, bassist Paul Sin & drummer extraordinaire Stevyn Grey

    https://www.wave-gotik-treffen.de/ro/go4it.php?id=197&loc=en

    Written on Sunday, 21 July 2019 10:20
  • 'How to ask for a residency' - The John Rylands blog
    'How to ask for a residency' - The John Rylands blog
    How to ask for a residency

    Since I wrote about the Power of Asking, I’ve been heartened by how many writers have told me they’re going to ask for Writers’ Residencies too. There are plenty of questions: What do you say? What do you ask for? This blog offers a few suggestions.

    Where do you want your residency to be?
    Chip shop, bus stop, lighthouse, theatre, cemetery. The choice is yours. Think of where you’d love to write. It may be a place you pass every day on the way to work, or somewhere you’ve stumbled on by chance. Perhaps you have a connection already. For example, when I was invited to read at The John Rylands Library, I fell in love with this Mancunian gem. It sparked a train of thought…

    What do you want to do?
    I’ve a pretty simple plan: my next novel is set in The John Rylands and I’m exploring what it’s like to write ‘on site’, drawing inspiration from the spirit of the place. You’ll have your own ideas. It’s a wonderful opportunity to try something new, with time to focus on your writing in an inspiring workspace. The clearer you are about what you’d like to create and how it’s connected to the venue you’ve chosen, the better. Do your research, and put together a proposal. I’ve broken this down below.

    How long is a residency?
    Weeks, months, or a year – it’s largely up to you and the organisation. My residency is running for a calendar year; time to produce a first draft of the novel. I’ve committed to being on site for one day a week, but can’t keep away from the place…

    What can you offer?
    As well as being clear about what you want to achieve, think about what you can offer your host organisation. Ideas can include giving talks, workshops, writing tutorials or readings, and writing blogs on the progress of the residency. You might produce a poem etched in the window, or devise a grand finale performance. There’s no limit.
    If you’re unsure, ask for advice from writer friends (or friends of friends) who’ve done residencies in the past. If you don’t know any – ask the internet. Social media can be a lot more supportive than you might imagine.

    How do you get an introduction?
    You’ll need to approach your chosen organisation to find out of they’re interested in your idea. I asked writer friends for signposting, and got an introduction. People were only too pleased to help, a warm reminder that we’re in this together. There’s a community of writers out there, and we are pretty groovy people.

    What about money?
    This blog is about building your own residency from scratch, not applying for a funded opportunity. So, when the question of money and payment arose (pretty much the first question), I said no. Nowhere has money for residencies, unless it’s a regular gig like The Forestry Commission
    And, unsurprisingly, these residencies are massively oversubscribed.
    A personal tip is to source funding elsewhere. I applied to The Arts Council - Successfully.

    Then again – aim for the stars! One writer told me she’s asking for a residency at a private members’ club with buckets of money. Needless to say, she IS asking them to fund it.

    What’s the worst that can happen?
    Fear of the word no can stop us asking in the first place. Your chosen venue may say no. But they’re not going to poke you with forks. Trust me on this one. And in the words of Steve Jobs: “Most people don't get experiences because they never ask. I've never found anybody who didn't want to help me when I've asked them for help.”

    Keep going. Keep asking.

    https://rylandscollections.wordpress.com/2019/02/26/how-to-ask-for-a-residency/

    Written on Sunday, 24 March 2019 10:08
  • 'The Power of Asking' blog - The John Rylands Library
    'The Power of Asking' blog - The John Rylands Library

    As part of my Writer’s Residency at The John Rylands Library, I’m writing a series of blogs… here’s the first – The Power of Asking.

    “I’ve just been appointed the first writer-in-residence at The John Rylands Library. How did I manage this wonderful achievement? I asked.

    Sounds easy.

    It wasn’t. If you’re anything like me (and the longer I live, the more I realise I’m not alone), asking is far more difficult than it sounds.

    Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. Unless you were born with a set of silver spoons in your mouth (which is everyone reading this, right?), then you’ve worked out that opportunities don’t fall magically into your lap. You’ve had to work hard to get where you are.

    I like what Julia Cameron (author of the inspirational ‘The Artists Way’) says: “Pray to catch the bus, then run as fast as you can.” It’s a reminder to put myself into the path of opportunities. The bus does not come to the front door. I have to leave the house, and darn well run for it.

    I have to take a deep breath, and ask. So, why is it so difficult?

    Here’s my take. I grew up with a spectacularly unhelpful dictum: Ask, don’t get. Don’t ask, don’t want. I shared this with friends recently, and was shocked to discover it’s very common. I end up stuck in a bizarre Catch 22 situation, thinking that if I have to ask for something, then I don’t deserve it. Or, that I must to wait for someone else to ask me. The most I’m allowed to do is stand around looking hopeful.
    This lose-lose mentality is combined with a vicious internal critic. I call her Mavis (I’ve blogged about her here and run Anti-Mavis workshops). She never, ever says anything nice. If someone says they like my writing, Mavis jumps in and whispers ‘they’re only being nice.’ In fact, she can be neatly summed up by this great Savage Chickens cartoon (Doug Savage):

    Naturally, my internal critic undermined any notion that somewhere as amazing as The John Rylands Library would want the likes of me.

    So – standing up and asking for what I want can be pretty damn hard. I’m swamped with fears of rejection, coming over as needy, an underachiever, someone who’s failed because they need to ask.

    Luckily, this isn’t a poor-me blog.

    Years ago I decided that I was not going to let fear of rejection stop me living a life that is too darn short as it is. I take inspiration from Jia Jiang, whose TED talk about dealing with rejection is well worth 15 minutes of anyone’s time.

    So, however hard it is to ask, to put myself forward, to send that manuscript to a competition or agent – I take several deep breaths and do it. In the words of Susan Jeffers: ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’.

    And here’s the good news. The John Rylands Library is delighted to have a writer-in-residence. Correction: The John Rylands Library is delighted to have me as a writer-in-residence.

    I have told Mavis to put that in her pipe and smoke it.

    Coming next – what I asked for, and how to ask for a residency.”

    https://rylandscollections.wordpress.com/2018/12/10/the-power-of-asking/

    Written on Saturday, 02 March 2019 15:36