From April 2016 the Foyle Foundation allocated to HHT an annual payment to create The Skoyles Bursaries Fund. This has enabled us to offer up to £1,000 pcm personal bursary (or pro rata for shorter periods) to our appointed residents to be spent on whatever is needed; this is in the manner of a prize and is normally tax free.
The HHT is unique in the UK in offering not only a retreat but also unrestricted bursary money. However, while our residencies are based on excellence and need, very occasionally we make different arrangements with specific writers who have no financial need but who wish to pay us for the privacy and convenience of Church Cottage. Alternatively, some writers are sponsored by Arts Council England or by their publishers, but for those in need we offer financial assistance.
The length of each residence is based upon what women request; many have complicated domestic, personal and professional lives and ask to make several short visits while some writers have no home in the UK and ask for a longer period, and all these factors we accommodate. Each resident is visited and mentored by a trustee and their return, which is often requested, is at the discretion of this trustee and normally restricted to three visits.
From January until March 2018 we are collaborating with Coventry University Faculty of Arts Humanities on two residencies. Some appointments in the past have been made collaboratively with the Royal Shakespeare Company and annually we house the poet appointed by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust as the poet in residence for the Poetry Festival. We also in 2016/17 gave first prize and a residency to Words and Women, a literary enterprise for women’s writing in East Anglia and this is to be repeated in 2017/18.
During 2017 we are commissioning seven writers to contribute stories to a short anthology based on the village and a sonnet of Michael Drayton, the Tudor poet forever associated with this place. To be entitled Kiss and Part , it is to be a companion to the historical study we made of our area, Round the Square and Up the Tower: Clifford Chambers, Warwickshire. We expect publication during 2018.
From September until January, residencies are not yet confirmed. We are planning to build a small studio room onto Church Cottage which will enable us to appoint women artists working with words but this awaits full funding.