Archive for the ‘Hedgebrook’ Category

VW’s writing LodgeVirginia Woolf’s idea that a woman needs a room of her own in order to write fiction has inspired two retreat sites in the U.S. for women writers — as well as a $50,000 award that provides worthy women writers with an income of their own.

Room of Her Own on Ghost Ranch
A Room of Her Own Foundation, located in New Mexico, bills its nonprofit mission as “furthering the vision of writer Virginia Woolf by bridging the often fatal gap between a woman’s economic reality and her artistic creation.”

The foundation nurtures women writers in several ways. It offers writing retreats, as well as a $50,000 Gift of Freedom Award for worthy women writers. The award provides the winner with an income of her own while she completes her writing project.

Meredith HallMeredith Hall, whose 2007 Without a Map has received widespread critical acclaim, was the recipient of the 2004 Gift of Freedom Award. The award gave Hall the freedom to finish her book, which was originally conceived as a collection of essays but ultimately became a memoir.

I just finished reading Hall’s book, which begins with her experience as a 15-year-old teenager facing the harsh consequences of being pregnant and unmarried in a small New Hampshire town in 1965. Her sad and thoughtful story gripped me in a way that few stories do. I also found myself captivated by the beauty of her writing. But what affected me the most was the wisdom and insight she has drawn from her life experiences and the power of her honest portrayal of them. 

As for the six-day retreats that A Room of Her Own Foundation sponsors, they give women the time and place to do solitary writing and the opportunity to attend group workshops and discussions. Retreats are held at Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. Scholarships are available.Room of Her Own tote & CD

The foundation’s Web site has a page dedicated to Woolf. It also has a store that features a tote bag and a CD, both titled “A Room of Her Own.”

Hedgebrook faces Puget Sound 
Then there’s Hedgebrook, a retreat well-known within the international writers’ community. It has hosted more than 1,000 women writers — about 40 each year — from all over the world. Residencies range from two weeks to two months, and they are offered to selected writers at no cost.

Writers chosen for the program are housed in handcrafted cottages on Whidbey Island, about 35 miles northwest of Seattle. Hedgebrook itself is situated on 48 acres of forest and meadow facing Puget Sound.

Resident writers spend their days in solitude – writing, reading, and walking. In the evenings, they gather in the farmhouse kitchen to share a home-cooked gourmet meal, along with their work, if they like.

The residency season runs from early February to mid-November, and the selection process begins in the fall of each year. Hedgebrook was co-founded by philanthropist Nancy Nordhoff in 1988 and became a non-profit in 2001.

Read the latest news about Hedgebrook and Lynne Varner’s column about the retreat published in The Seattle Times.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: