Welcome to another Irish Writers Wednesday!!
Today I am joined by Rose Servitova, author of The Longbourn Letters with a guest post that I think will emanate with many writers, no matter what country you are from.
Rose writes about her frustration with funding etc for writers so this is really a very insightful post, an open letter. I do recommend you read it….
Also today, I am delighted to announce that the fabulous Susan Heads aka The BookTrail is joining forces with me on Wednesdays promoting Irish Writers under the same hashtag #IrishWritersWed. I have included The Booktrail details further on in my post. Hopefully this collaboration will spread the word further of the fantastic resource in writing that Ireland has to offer.
And now, I’ll hand you over to Rose Servitova…
Wanted – Multi-Milllionaires for New ‘Support a Writer Scheme’
No Sugar Daddies Need Apply
by Rose Servitova
There is something akin to anger that festers within. I call it ‘the assumption’. It has nothing to do with the Virgin Mary although who is to say that she didn’t try to pen a memoir and was also a victim of the ‘assumption’ and rightly or wrongly kicked her manuscript into the ditch.
The ‘assumption’ is the unspoken belief that excepting your name be JK Rowling or Stephen King, writers and wealth do not belong together – never the twain shall meet. In my experience, wherever there is struggle or poverty there is shame and worry and this is all too prevalent a feeling amongst writers.
State support (or lack thereof) deserves a thesis of its own. To receive funding is like finding a Wonka golden ticket and while the amounts given are better than a kick up the coccyx, they are often once-off and minute.
I was recently at an event organised for writers, which also included a panel of well-known authors. The audience of writers were asked to raise their hands if they had ever received arts council funding – less than five people raised their hands (none of the panel had received any though they too applied regularly since commencing their chosen career).
The recently launched effort by the state to acknowledge writers (social welfare) has been well received in many quarters but as a civil servant myself I smell the usual boxes that require ticking, the conditions and stipulations, the time-frames and loops that need to be jumped, the threshold of abject poverty that you have to prove.
When the state can see the unquantifiable service that artists provide to both their fellow countryfolk, tourists and the perception of Ireland around the world, they might realise that it’s a profession worth elevating and investing in.
Tourists, who visited Ireland in 2015 (leaving 6 billion euros after them) did not come to read white collar annual reports but to visit the land of Yeats, Beckett, Joyce, Edna O’Brien, Anne Enright, Roddy Doyle, Maeve Binchy, Frank McCourt, Marian Keyes, Colum McCann, Bono, Enya, Christy Moore, The Cranberries, Shane McGowan, Louis le Brocquy, Pauline Bewick, Graham Norton, Mary Robinson, Michael Fassbender and The Rubber Bandits.
There appears to be a morbid fear that writers who receive a basic sum of taxpayers money might go mad with the dosh, therefore, what they get must be sparse and rigidly controlled. They might become lazy too – sitting around all day in an attic looking out the window and throwing out a few words here and there.
The thing is writers are never off-duty. Once they start writing they enter what my husband refers to as ‘the fog’ where all else in their lives is put on hold while they go within and pull out the gunk that will eventually form a beautiful creation.
Writers don’t switch off.
They don’t get paid for their 168 hour writing week and yet many still have to work in ‘normal’ jobs to pay mortgage, childcare, food and other overheads.
My solution is two-fold.
We have to find a public servant who understands and appreciates artists and put him or her in charge of the petty cash box. Michael D Higgins will do until the job is advertised and filled.
Secondly, we need to go out and find lots of multi-millionaires who will ‘sponsor an artist’ or some such programme.
When Yeats was flapping about Lady Gregory’s estate at Coole Park, reputedly wearing his pyjamas beneath his clothing, he did not have to fret about putting food on the table or bend his back to turn the soil so that he may pay the childminder….no, he could turn his attention to his craft.
And what a service to mankind to have given him the space, time and freedom to write about swans, gyres and treading softly!
Rose thank you so much for this wonderfully honest post. I do wish you all the very best with your writing and hope that you too will find a way to continue with your passion for the written word.
Rose joined me previously for a wonderful Q & A session which you can read HERE
You can find out more about Rose at
Twitter ~ @roseservitova
Rose Servitova ~ The Longbourn Letters
‘Eager to know what happened to all in ‘Pride & Prejudice’, once it’s hero & heroine had their happy ending, I decided to lend a quill to my two favourite characters, Mr Collins and Mr Bennet, and let them reveal all through their written correspondence. What emerged was a collection of letters, written over a seven year period, reflecting the inner workings of both men and their observations on the lives of others.’
“Did I mention to you that he walks an imaginary dog, our Reverend Green? No one has had the heart to tell him that Spot has been dead these twelve years. He even believes that Spot has sired my current litter of pups so, as a kindly gesture, I offered him to take any one of his choosing believing the company of a real animal may be of benefit to him but he refused, stating most firmly, that he cannot be responsible for all that Spot begets.” – Mr Bennet
Purchase Link ~ The Longbourn Letters
A little bit more about my new, green hat-wearing mascot 🙂
The Booktrail in Susan’s own words:
“The inspiration for this blog, now website, was a literary character by the name of Phileas Fogg. One of the first books read to me as a child. The book that made me want to travel, speak French like Passepartout and ‘ go anywhere’ just like these two!
As well as travelling, what about being able to read your way around the world? Take a book, visit the locations in it and see where it takes you. A trail of sorts like the one in the novel.” Continue reading at ~ http://www.thebooktrail.com/about/
Twitter ~ @thebooktrailer