I won a full scholarship to attend this wonderful retreat in Iceland in April 2020. We all know what happened.
I applied for the scholarship for the first time in 2018, not long after I had started writing and had some work published.
I have long yearned to visit Iceland. I have had a near miss already – was meant to take my students there on work placement but life had other plans so I never got there.
When I worked up the courage to start sending out my own writing into the world the book I was reading at the time was Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites. Iceland is almost a character in that book, the landscape, the weather, the light.
Iceland has a strong writing tradition, like Ireland, a Viking heritage, like Ireland, and is an island, like Ireland. These are superficial affinities but I am drawn to sharp edges, like the Sahara in Morocco, Skellig Michael in Co. Kerry and Iceland is another edge I would like to balance on.
I was shortlisted the first time I applied. Eliza Reid encouraged me to apply again. I did.
In 2019 I won one of the three full bursaries available. I burst out crying when I got the news. I was meant to go in April 2020 and well…
This year it’s online and there have already been two days of incredible workshops, the final day is today. I have learnt so much from dynamic teachers and have watched the videos of previous retreats with a mix of longing to be there in person, disappointment that I’m not and hope that I will get there eventually.