Writing in exile

In my interview published today on The Displaced Nation, author Harriet Springbett talks about being an English writer living in France: ‘When I go back to England and see bookshops stuffed with books, or blogs featuring new books every day, I feel intimidated. Writing stories suddenly seems rather pointless and I wonder what I can…

SAÓ Festival in the Catalan Pyrenees

110 people attended the SAÓ Festival on 11 October 2015 organised by the Centre d’Art i Natura in the vicinity of the village of Farrera in the Catalan Pyrenees. In the morning the audience saw Joanès Simon-Perret’s tree caressing machine and his mountain mirrors greeting the midday sun. Next they passed by my writing on water at the…

the little river tributaries number more than your eyelashes

On Sunday 11 October I will make an action in the landscape concerning water for the SAO Festival organised by the Centre d’Art i Natura in Farrera in the Catalan Pyrenees. The other artists presenting work are Joanes Simon-Perret, Quelic Berga, Anna Rubio and Meritxell Romanos and Blai Mesa. [The post title is adapted from a…

Authors’ Foundation Award

I am delighted to be a recipient of an Authors’ Foundation Award from the Society of Authors for a biography I am writing on the medieval female lord, Almodis de La Marche, and her sisters, Raingarde and Lucia. Almodis was Countess of Toulouse and Barcelona and acknowledged as an active participant in the rule of…

Romanesque

Went to Sant Pere del Burgal near Escalo in the Pyrenees a few days ago to see the 11th century frescos in the church by the Master of Pedret. Below the Holy Family and the saints, Llucia de la Marca is represented. She was the Countess of Pallars Sobira and the sister of the heroine…

Moon Mountain, Fire Mountain

Watched two of Anna Rubio’s beautiful and moving dance films, one made during her Frontiers in Retreat residency in Latvia. She is working with sites – the valley and mountains here, or old neglected stone steps in Latvia, and with natural materials – sheeps fleece, leaves, water, and her dance has a quality of antiquity…

Wind, Water, Bees

The three artists in residence at Centre d’Art i Natura in Farrera, including myself, gave presentations on our work in progress to a local audience on Friday 24 Oct. The room was crowded and there was a very good dialogue with the people who came along. We are doing quite different things. Tuula Narhinen from…

Fishing in the Library

A fabulous day in the library reading about Farrera – birds and wildlife, plants and landscape, people. I read about barking deer, boars with their striped piglets, wild cats and tufty eared red squirrels, fields of white Narcissus Poeticus, Tengleman’s Owl, Black Woodpeckers, the Capercaillie and the Lammergeir or Bearded Vulture. I feel like I have…

The future and the past

I am working on two new novels. One is set in the late 11th century and features a female troubadour from this village, Farrera. Most of the action takes place in Toulouse and Poitiers, but there will also be some scenes set here and in Aragon. The second new novel I am working on is…

Writing eyrie

Tuula Narhinen, Quelic Berga and I spent the first few days here in Casa Ramon and I grew quite fond of my attic writing eyrie but tomorrow we are moving into the newer, purpose built rooms in the Centre which face out across the spectacular view of the valley and mountains. The skylight in my…