Scene @ Jura Writer’s Residency Launch

By Neal Comment


Top: Master distiller Willie Tate and creative director Simon Baker from the Isle of Jura distillery, located on a remote island off the coast of Scotland, pour drams of their various single malts for the literati and press gathered to learn about the new writer’s residency program the distillery is sponsoring along with the Scottish Book Trust. The Trust’s CEO, Marc Lambert, explained that one American writer will be invited to stay on the island for a month, provided a stipend, and invited to read both on BBC Radio 4 and at the Edinburgh Book Festival. Here’s the application form, so if you’ve managed to get at least one novel, collection of short stories, or poetry volume published, and you want to spend a month in the Hebrides, you’d better hurry and make your case before the editors and publicists who milled about the room tell their writers all about it.

Bottom: British writer Will Self, who was just picked to be the very first writer to enjoy the residency program, chats with the Bloomsbury publicity team responsible for promoting his latest novel, The Book of Dave. “I’ve never had any problem with isolating myself and writing,” he said in his prepared remarks, but the offer from Jura, including “as much whiskey as you can drink,” struck him as too good to pass up. “Although as a recovering alcoholic,” he quipped, “the amount of whiskey I can drink is precisely none, so let’s consider it as much whiskey as you can drink.” All that clean living has had its effect; we hear that Self walked all the way from JFK to the National Arts Club.