Writer-in-residence, Ashdown House, Berkshire
Every one of our places has a story to tell. It might be a house inhabited over the centuries by fascinating characters, or a stretch of coastline with an amazing heritage or a garden that's a window into the past.
Nicola Cornick tells us how she became writer-in-residence at Ashdown House, Berkshire.
How it all began
I became writer-in-residence at Ashdown House quite by chance. It started with the research I was doing into the history of the 17th-century house and the Craven family who had owned it. Soon I was sharing my discoveries with the other volunteer guides at Ashdown and we were all investigating our own areas of interest and pooling our ideas.
We gave talks and created exhibitions, not just about the house and its history but about the myths and legends that surround it.
There is so much inspiration all around us. It all adds to the richness of the story the visitors experience when they come to see us and we can take our stories out into the community as well, showing how we fit into the wider environment and history.
A role to suit everyone
A writer-in-residence could be someone who tackles a specific storytelling project or who has a few hours to spare, is retired, is a student, or a child at school.
We all have stories to tell and we all have inspiration to draw on. There are no set rules; everyone expresses themselves in individual ways.
" One of the most fulfilling things I have done as a writer-in-residence is to talk to schoolchildren about creative writing and then helped them to have a go themselves."
I've written a novel that draws on the history of Ashdown House and it's been a pleasure to see how many people have come to visit the house as a result of reading the book and to hear how much it's added to their enjoyment and understanding of Ashdown’s history.
It’s the passion that counts
The role of writer-in-residence is very flexible. It can be undertaken by anyone with a passion and enthusiasm for communicating stories about their National Trust property.
It can range from novels drawing on the history of a place to blogs, tweets, videos, guided walks and creative writing classes.
No matter the subject, it’s the passion for telling stories that counts.