Hannah Vincent, writer, 25 August – 1 September 2018

The publisher of my first novel (had) asked me to submit some short stories, with a view to perhaps publishing these as a collection. I spent my week at Brisons Veor polishing some existing stories and gathering these together in one manuscript in order to consider how the material works as an ensemble.

The work was hard – editing, mostly, rather than the glorious freedom of first draft work – but having time alone in the house allowed me to concentrate and also to ‘decompress’ after a particularly busy and stressful period. I was able to wind down after my recent doctoral viva examination…the technical nature of the work was such that I was only able to concentrate for an hour at a time, breaking for a swim or a walk every couple of hours before returning to the desk. I suspect I would have found the work even harder and my concentration even further reduced without the focus and balm of the residency.

It was interesting and instructive for me to consider the different experiences possible on a residency, depending on what stage a project is at. My preference would be to work on early draft work at Brisons Veor, as the more technical editing tasks can be achieved in an office or more ordinary environment and it seems a shame not to take advantage of the liberating effect of the surroundings on one’s artistic practice.

I received positive feedback on the manuscript I produced at Brisons Veor and it is currently with the publisher’s editorial board, who will decide if/when to go ahead with publication.