Article written by Sam Wood from the University of Kent Press Office.
The project takes inspiration from Xavier de Maistre’s ‘A Journey Around My Room’. De Maistre’s book was written in 1790 when its author was under house arrest, and could venture beyond its walls only into the territories of speculation, memory, and daydream.
Amy Sackville, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing in Kent’s School of English said: ‘Like de Maistre, as writers we are used to working alone in a room, and exploring our imaginations from that vantage point. For over a year we have sat in those same rooms and joined a virtual space. We have become used to thumbnail glimpses of each other’s lives and rooms in Zoom calls and online conferences. Our ways of working and community have undoubtedly changed due to the pandemic, as will our appreciation of the rooms we occupy, and ourselves. A Journey Around Our Rooms provides the platform for writers to express this, and to examine what the space means to them.’
The website already has dozens of contributions from creative writers both from within the University of Kent and internationally, and is now open to receiving writing submissions from the public. The project’s organisers advise contributors to reconsider their own spaces and the ways they inhabit them.
David Flusfeder, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing in the School of English, said: ‘We all have an intimate relationship with our workspaces even if it is one of frustration. Living online blurs the line between public and private, and this project is a means of reclaiming and redefining that. Already it is turning into a kind of snapshot of this moment and it’s fascinating to see the shared concerns and common themes that are making themselves evident. We’re also looking at ways that this project might grow, and offer a space for conversations and connections between writers and artists.’
The project is open to submissions until 30 June. Submissions can be made here.
Recent contributions to Journey Around Our Rooms include:
David Herd, poet and Professor of Modern Literature in the School of English https://research.kent.ac.uk/journey-around-our-rooms/david-herd/
Supriya Kaur Dhaliwal, poet and former Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow at the University of Kent
Tessa McWatt, author and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia
Katarzyna Biela, PhD student studying theatre and multimodal literature in the Institute of English Studies at Jagiellonian University, Poland