My writing residency at Faber in Olot, Catalonia

I was awarded a fully-funded residency at Faber at the beginning of 2018. Here are the five best things about the experience:

1) How I came to hear about it

A friend of mine, a truly gifted writer from Louisiana called Courtney Young (check out her latest story here) emailed me while she was in residence at Faber encouraging me IN ALL CAPS to apply. I’d been vaguely aware of the residency, which gives writers and academics a room in a four-star hotel in Catalonia as well as two meals a day in order to give them time to produce, but assumed that as an emerging writer it would be out of my league. But with the encouragement of Courtney (who I met while in residence at Vermont Studio Center), I applied, and was quickly accepted.

The view from my balcony

The view from my balcony

2) The space

Your desk at the hotel is set against a window with a stunning view of the Catalonia mountains. The room is functional, quiet and comfortable, with the centre of town and some glorious hikes a short walk away. The hotel has a small apartment where residents can relax, work, make coffee and chat to staff – and it’s covered in pictures of past residents. I was brought in, tired from travelling, and squealed at the sight of my friend’s picture on the wall.

3) The staff

The welcome at Faber is warm. They speak great English (though we communicated mostly in Spanish), and they’re always on hand for advice.

4) The other residents

Rare is the residency that isn’t made by the company you keep; I was joined by Marina, Jacob and Kristina who made for wonderful breakfast and dinner companions. We remain friends and Kristina and I have even exchanged chapters of our works-in-progress (hers were fantastic, and she’s just had a book proposal accepted by Clemson University Press!)

5) The location

The town of Olot is quiet and friendly. I spent a lot of time at Cafe Nabila, and after giving a talk at the local English school I had a few enjoyable, caffeine-fuelled meetups with a local student and her dog. Girona is a short bus ride away, where I spent a wonderful day wandering, eating ice cream drinking coffee and working on my laptop. I was cranking out a chapter about my time in Sicily at the time, and the mental leap from the cobbled streets of Girona to the sun-baked paving stones of Palermo wasn’t a difficult one to make.

Check it out below, and apply here.