UK | 2002
Diran Adebayo was born in London in 1968 to Nigerian parents. His first novel, Some Kind of Black, won him the 1995 Saga Prize, a Betty Trask Award, the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award, and the Writers Guild Award for Great Britain’s New Writer of the Year in 1996. He recently published the novel, My Once Upon A Time, and is a frequent contributor to the Guardian and BBC TV and Radio. He lives in London.
I had a pleasurable, productive sojourn at Santa Maddalena; wrote a good amount of text on the novel-in-progress, garnered as much again in notes and new information, and met a number of pleasant, stimulating people.
We four writers were of different ages and backgrounds but got on well. We had writing in common, of course, and probably the thing I’m most grateful to Santa Maddalena for – a thing I wouldn’t have got in the largely solitary business of writing back home – was this chance to spend concentrated time and commune with three other, distinguished members of the trade. Talking about your pressures and frustrations, sharing career contacts and thoughts on other writers’work etc. was valuable, and the sheer number of books and art works and literary magazines, the artistic inclinations of Beatrice and most of her dinner guests, all contributed to a sort-of arts hothouse atmosphere that I found inspiring and morale-bolstering. More specifically, one of the main characters in my work-in-progress is a country girl, and being able to spend a stint in this countryside setting in the company of two nature writers in Anna and Tower-mate Terry, paid great dividends for this urban boy!
If you’re not expecting total solitude, but a wider, enriching writing-centered experience, then you’ll enjoy Santa Maddalena as much as I did.