Poet’s retreat in a Scottish castle

I had a Hawthornden Fellowship in June which involved living in a castle in Scotland with five other Writing Fellows to concentrate on our writing. Three Americans, a Scottish poet and a Filipina short story writer. It was an amazing experience, the castle was very secluded and we had to be silent betwen the hours of 9.30am-6.30pm. Lunch was sent up in Fortnum hampers (home made soup by the resident chef) so as not to disturb our work.

I was translating extracts from The Epic of Gilgamesh and saw my editor at the Scottish Poetry Library. I also saw Vashti who played me her beautiful new songs. Altogether a rich and unusual month (although very rainy…)

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