Virginia as Writer-In-Residence at Hardy’s Cottage

Virginia as Writer-In-Residence at Hardy’s Cottage

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Virginia has been selected as writer-in-residence at Thomas Hardy’s Cottage in Dorset.

Hardy’s literary works have always held a particular interest for Virginia. Her 1996 album Had I The Heavens was originally conceived as an album of songs inspired by Hardy’s 1887 novel The Woodlanders.

Virginia’s own writing has developed over subsequent years, leading to the publication of her collection of poetry The Curative Harp in 2015. Her first full-length collection The English River: A Journey Down The Thames In Poems And Photographs will be published by Bloodaxe in June 2018.

As part of her role as writer-in-residence, Virginia will also be running reading and writing workshops (which has already led to workshops running this August in Cornwall). She’ll also be creating original work inspired by Hardy’s cottage, which is maintained by the National Trust.

Speaking on her upcoming residency, Virginia said:

“I’m very pleased to be taking up the role of writer-in-residence at Hardy’s Cottage. I’m looking forward to becoming immersed in the landscape and encouraging people who may be new to writing to take inspiration from both the landscape and from Hardy himself.

Exploring his penchant for ‘gathering’ observations of his surroundings and his thoughts in his notebooks and journals, I hope to encourage others to use the practice of close observation in their writing to hone in on the little things that inspire them to write.

Whilst I will focus on Hardy, I would like to explore the influence of landscape not only on his contemporaries, Dorothy Wordsworth, for example, but also on contemporary writers who make ‘nature notes’ such as Robert Macfarlane.

I hope to share my work with writers of all ages and experiences and will be focusing on the short form and how Hardy and the landscape of the property can inspire writing of this kind”.

More information:

Poetry Writing Workshops

Poetry Writing Workshops

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Virginia Astley will be hosting a series of special poetry workshops taking place this summer at Kestle Barton Art Gallery, Cornwall.

Virgina was Artist-in-Residence at Kestle Barton in 2010. She is interested in putting the spoken word and music together and in using the natural world as inspiration and a means of reflection. Virginia returns this summer to offer a series of writing workshops that foster creative expression, as well as celebrating the natural beauty of the Helford River area.

This year’s series of creative writing workshops at Kestle will focus on exploring landscapes and looking at the relationships we build with our ‘own patch’; at what we embed in a particular place and what that place embeds in us. Early sessions will focus on gathering, on doing the research. We’ll be talking with people who know the local area intimately and reading examples of work with a strong sense of place. Using notebooks (or our phones!) we’ll be honing in and making close observations of what fascinates us.

Looking at short-forms of writing, for example: nature and travel-writing, journals and memoir, poetry, we’ll shape our findings.

For participants that are able to come to all sessions we will be aiming for some form of individual short collection: be that a poetry sequence, a collection of nature notes, a travel journal. For others who want to drop-in, they will find a stimulating and welcoming space.

The workshops will take place Kestle Barton Art Gallery, Cornwall on 1st, 3rd, 15th, 17th, 22nd, 24th August. The workshops are free, but booking essential. Please see our Events Page for more details.

Port Eliot Festival

Port Eliot Festival

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Virginia and Florence will be in performance at the forthcoming Port Eliot Festival which takes place 28th to 31st July 2016 at St. Germans, Cornwall.

The Port Eliot Festival features a broad range of music and literary guests including Beth Orton, Bo Bingen, Dawn French, Kim Gordon, Noel Fielding and Michael Morpurgo. Meanwhile, the Festival also has on offer a selection of other activities including canoeing, blacksmithing, film screenings, art and calligraphy events.

Virginia and Florence performed at the Port Eliot Festival in 2015 as part of the Caught By The River ensemble. They return once again as part of Caught By The River’s 2016 lineup and will once again be presenting a combination of spoken word and harp performances.

Port Eliot Festival takes place 28th to 31st July 2016 at St. Germans, Cornwall.
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Caught By The River Thames Update

Caught By The River Thames Update

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Due to unforeseen circumstances, Virginia and Florence’s planned performances at the Caught By The River Thames festival on 6th/7th August have had to be cancelled.

There have been several changes to the schedule for the event which unfortunately affects several artists appearing, including Virginia and Florence.

Anyone who has bought tickets to the festival to see Virginia and Florence is advised to contact the Caught By The River Thames team (an email update has also been issued to all ticket holders) to request a refund if required.

This cancellation does not affect Virginia and Florence’s appearance at the Port Eliot Festival on 28th to 31st July, which will be going ahead as previously scheduled. The Caught By The River Thames festival will continue as planned, but sadly without Virginia and Florence appearing.

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