A friend was talking about writers’ sheds recently, and it reminded me of a post I did here a while ago. Here’s another version of it, with more pictures. And here’s to the shed …
If a writer is very lucky, she has that special thing Virginia Woolf famously called ‘A room of one’s own’ – a private, dedicated space to write. Virginia had a hut in the garden, although she couldn’t always use it. Roald Dahl’s shed is famous and inspirational (but not my favourite). Here are my top 10 writing spaces – but I know that all a writer really needs is a tabletop, something to write on and with, and her own imagination.
(This, by the way, is mine.)
10. JK Rowling’s cafe in Edinburgh
9. TS Eliot – Margate
8. George Bernard Shaw
The best thing about the hut at the bottom of George Bernard Shaw’s garden is the name. He called it ‘London’ so that his staff could legitimately say he’d ‘gone to London’ when he was hiding here, writing.
7. Lawrence of Arabia
There is, I’ve witnessed it, lots of controversy about where TE Lawrence wrote, but here is one of the places. The most amazing thing about his writing life that I know (never mind his political life in the desert) is that he wrote the Seven Pillars of Wisdom Twice. The first manuscript he lost in a railway waiting room. So he did it all again …
6. Dylan Thomas
I could sit here and write this minute.
5. Phillip Pullman
4. Virginia Woolf
“She was always being distracted – by Leonard sorting the apples over her head in the loft, or the church bells at the bottom of the garden, or the noise of the children in the school next door, or the dog sitting next to her and scratching itself and leaving paw marks on her manuscript pages. In winter it was often so bitterly cold and damp that she couldn’t hold her pen and had to retreat indoors.” – from The Guardian
3. Mark Twain
“It is the loveliest study you ever saw…octagonal with a peaked roof, each face filled with a spacious window…perched in complete isolation on the top of an elevation that commands leagues of valley and city and retreating ranges of distant blue hills. It is a cozy nest and just room in it for a sofa, table, and three or four chairs, and when the storms sweep down the remote valley and the lighting flashes behind the hills beyond and the rain beats upon the roof over my head—imagine the luxury of it.” – Mark Twain, in a letter to William Dean Howells, 1874
2. Roald Dahl
- Vita Sackville-West
The tower room at Sissinghurst. Now, isn’t that just the most perfect place to write?