Some great news! I have been accepted into the Eramboo Artist Environment in Terrey Hills, NSW – that is on the North Shore of Sydney and not far from the Central Coast where I grew up. I will be spending two weeks working on my novel The Ozone Cafe which was an art deco building that disappeared from the shores of Broken Bay in the nineties. My novel traces its construction, to three separate owners and then to the cafe’s demise through council corruption.
So this writing residency/retreat will take place in the last week of March & first week in April.
In other news I’m applying to US artist retreats. Actually, they call them colonies. In my research and discovering an American writer by the name of Alexis Grant there are several more to think about than just Yaddo and The MacDowell Colony. The US collective is known as VCCA, and one colony that calls itself an “international working retreat for visual artists, writers, and composers is situated in the rolling foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.” The program offers fellowships between two weeks and two months long, and it’s located about a three-hour drive from Washington, D.C.
Another is The Hambidge Center located in Georgia, where each artist has their own studio in the woods, VCCA residents all live in the same building.
The Percentages of Acceptance in the U.S.
Yaddo accepts about 22 percent of applicants, and VCCA’s acceptance rate is only slightly higher, 37 percent, according to the Alliance for Artists Communities. (Compare that to the less-prestigious but equally worthwhile Hambidge, which has a 76 percent acceptance rate, the AAC reports.) So, as Alexis Grant advises – apply to the more realistic colony, as she calls it a “safety” colony, one with a higher acceptance rate and where you double your chances. MacDowell is the hardest with a low success rate. They’re into high-profile artists.
Alexis Grant states, ‘Yaddo rejected me. I don’t often blog about rejections, because it can sound like whining and doesn’t really benefit anyone. But I’m telling you about Yaddo because sharing only success paints an inaccurate picture of the writer’s life, particularly one like me who’s hopping from one genre (journalism) to another (memoir). It ain’t all pretty, and there are bumps and rejections along the way.
But facing rejection is normal. The key is to keep your head up, keep chugging and keep trying. And at some point, even that colony you thought would probably reject you will respond with an email saying YES.’