They occupied Linden Place for a month for creative inspiration

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 6/6/24

The reading of works and discussion for the 2024 Writers Residency participants will be held on Wednesday, June 12 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

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They occupied Linden Place for a month for creative inspiration


Now completing its third year, the Linden Place Writers Residency reading will feature the work of the seven selected writers, who spent the month of April working on the grounds of Linden Place, drawing creative inspiration from the home that has seen slave traders and industrialists, abolitionists, literary giants, and Hollywood royalty sleep under its roof.

The Residency is open to all levels of creative writers working in fiction, narrative non-fiction, poetry, screenplays, and plays. Those selected receive a free audio tour introducing them to the Linden Place story, a on-site workspace for the month of April, research support from museum professionals, a $100 travel stipend, a consultation with a sensitivity reader who helps them navigate potentially harmful pitfalls related to writing about early Black history, press and publicity, an audience to hear works in progress, and 50% off accommodations at the Bradford-Dimond-Norris House B&B next door for the month of April.

The residency is made possible in part by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Writers are expected to start a new writing project while in residence and work on site at Linden Place for a minimum of 9 hours during the month of April. Writers are also required to attend the reading of their works in progress and community discussion in June.

The reading and discussion for the 2024 residents will be held on Wednesday, June 12 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Works being read from include a short story by Alice Cross told from the perspective of famed actress Ethel Barrymore as she readies herself for a party at the mansion; a first-person essay by Kate Hanley that grapples with darker aspects of the house’s history; a play by Caitlin Howle about Ethel’s husband Russell on the day divorce papers are served; a short story by Celine Keating about family matriarch Theodora DeWolf Colt; a series of short stories by Elizabeth Reinhardt about the 4th of July celebrations at different points of time following various people connected to the house's history; an excerpt from a historic novel by Nada Samih-Rotondo that centers Black and indigenous communities in 1800’s Rhode Island; and a narrative nonfiction project by Samanthe Sheffer that explores racial dynamics through the physical objects in the museum’s collection and attributes of the property.

“It was marvelous,” said Keating of the opportunity. “Linden Place could not have been lovelier, and the staff were so welcoming and available. Leigh (Medeiros, the Residency’s director) is amazing.”

“I loved working in the solarium, I’m so happy I was picked,” said Cross, whose work was inspired by a hair accessory that Curator David Harrington showed her in the archives.

“It’s a wonderful program,” said Sheffer. “Linden Place has done such a great job furthering research, education, and conversation around racial dynamics.” Like the other writers, Sheffer felt exceptionally supported, and said she was surprised at how bonded she became to the property.

For the reading, the audience will meet on the front lawn of Linden Place and then move around the exterior of the mansion to various stops where each writer will read from their works. After the readings the audience will enjoy light refreshments and sit in the ballroom for a moderated discussion with the writers. In the event of heavy rain, the whole event will take place in the ballroom.

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