Q&A with 2012 Writer in Residence, Ian Parks
Poet and author of The Exile's House Ian Parks talks to us about his 2012 residency at Gladstone's Library.
What prompted you to apply for the Gladstone’s Library Writer in Residence award?
I was one of the first writers to hold a residency at Gladstone's Library in 2012. As there had been no previous writers there was nothing really to go on apart from the very tempting prospect of spending a month of seclusion in the library, writing and thinking about writing projects. It didn't turn out to be quite like that as I found myself involved in all sorts of fascinating activities and debates. There was also time for reflection and for writing – and for meeting lots of stimulating people. I would return with out hesitation.
Did you have any concerns about applying?
I had no reservations about applying as I knew about the library and the great work it does. The application process was very straightforward and clear and everything I needed to know was made available before I applied. I liked the way in which the residency itself was flexible, suited to the strengths and needs of individual writers.
What did you take away from the residency?
I loved my time at the library. I took away something practical in the form of a collection of poems which I wrote mainly while I was in residence there. It's called Citizens and is due out later this year from Smokestack Books. More than that I took away an internalised sense of an important debate about the very nature and future of liberalism which is ongoing at the library. It changed the way I thought in a positive and challenging way.
What advice would you give to anybody considering applying?
Any further comments?
I was among the first writers to take up residency at the library in 2012 and had a truly wonderful, rewarding, and stimulating time. The residency allowed me the time to work on my own writing and gave me the opportunity to meet others through the readings, workshops, and individual tutorial sessions I ran when I was there. I have held several residencies and fellowships and Gladstone's has been the best – the most fruitful and the most stimulating. The residencies allow the writers to work to their own strengths while providing support. The connection has been a valuable one for me and led to me returning to appear at Gladfest 2016. I am grateful to the library for the time I spent there which I'll never forget.