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”.