Ah, what beautiful, effortless thing — the shifting of the seasons!
The weather cycle has brought forth winter time once more. For our bookworm friends, we know what this means! Time to curl up in a soft, warm blanket and lose yourself in the comfort of your favorite reading genre while the thunderstorms outside crack the sky open.
But what about the writers? How is the frosty season reflecting upon their creative buds?
Pietro Aretino, Italian author and dramatist, describes winter as “the spring of genius.”
Aretino’s words may resonate with many writers who find the flow of their words smoothening as the beauty of the wintertide, along with all its fascinating elements, unfolds right outside their windows, settling in their creative bones and stimulating magnetic, winter-inspired symbolism and themes in their minds.
But of course, every writer knows that the process of extracting words from your mind and piling them up in sentences that incite upon the reading soul beautiful shivers and impressions cannot be complete without a comfy writing setting.
In this article, Bookstr will be exploring 7 of Literary History’s Coziest Writing Nooks that will inspire the interior writer/decorator in you!
Note: we recommend going through the list with a warm cup of tea or coffee in hand, and an active imagination.
1- Virginia Woolf’s Writing Lodge in Monk’s House, Sussex
Virgina Woolf (1882-1941) had her very own Room of One’s Own: a wooden writing lodge with big windows and a view of the Downs across to Mount Caburn. The lodge was initially beneath a loft, but then moved to the far end of the garden, under a chestnut tree. According to The Guardian, Woolf wrote parts of all her major novels, including Mrs Dalloway and Between the Acts, in this very lodge. This is also where she wrote the farewell letter to her husband Leonard before heading over to the River Ouse to drown herself.
2- Mark Twain’s Writing Gazebo in Elmira, New York
This is where Mark Twain (1835-1910), née Samuel Langhorne Clemence, wrote some of his most famous works, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The small octagonal shack, still holding the brick fireplace and Twain’s writing desk, was built for him by his sister-in-law. The study now sits on the campus of Elmira College. Twain described it as “The loveliest study you ever saw…octagonal with a peaked roof, each face filled with a spacious window…perched in complete isolation on the top of an elevation that commands leagues of valley and city and retreating ranges of distant blue hills.”
3- Louisa May Alcott’s Room in the Orchard House, Concord, Massachusetts
The Orchard House was the only permanent residence Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) and her family had. May Alcott’s father built her a special half-moon, folding “shelf” desk in her room, upon which she would pen down Little Women.
4- Rudyard Kipling’s Study in Bateman’s, Sussex
This is where Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) wrote some of his finest work, including “If—”, Puck of Pook’s Hill, and Rewards and Fairies. His daughter Elsie has recalled that Kipling, while writing verse, would “pace up and down the study humming to himself.” Rudyard and Caroline Kipling bought Bateman’s in 1902.
5- Dylan Thomas’ Writing Shed in his Boathouse in Laugharne, Wales
This was the last home of Dylan Thomas (1914-1953), where he would write many of his works, including the poems “Do Not Go Gentle” and “Over Sir John’s Hill”. The shed, originally a garage, was set on stilts in the cliff and had large windows to reflect stunning, uninterrupted views of the Laugharne estuary. Thomas’ writing shed was also the one to inspire Roald Dahl’s.
6- James Baldwin’s Writing Desk in Chez Baldwin, Southern France
James Baldwin (1924-1987) called his writing study his “torture chamber.” Baldwin, a prolific writer, has produced a large body of literature including essays, novels, and plays. His novels include Notes of a Native Son and Go Tell It on the Mountain. Baldwin, since childhood, had established a habit of writing at night when he could enjoy his solitude.
7- Anaïs Nin’s Writing Desk in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California
Anaïs Nin (1903-1977) lived in Silver Lake with her husband Rupert Pole, while also being married to her first husband. The house was designed by Pole’s half-brother. Nin was best known for her erotica and her multi-volume series of journals. On writing, Nin has said that her ideas usually come to her “not at [my] desk, but in the midst of living.”