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Writer in Residence at the Sick Kids Hospital, Edinburgh
07 June 2012
This week I began a residency which will run part-time for two years at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. I will be running ceative writing activites for patients, staff and parents as well as writing for and about the hospital with a view to retaining some of the character of and affection for the current building, of Victorian origin, when it moves to a purpose built new site in a few years' time.
So far, my over-riding feeling from being there, meeting staff and seeing how the place works (including Jubilee fun), is a sense that I am enormoulsy priveliged. To be somewhere where people are doing their best in difficult circumstances; where the emotional 'edge' hovers close by; where there are twisting corridors and low-celinged cellars, mysterious corners and a palimpsest of stories through the decades.
In 'A most perfect hospital', a history written for the centenary by George Birrell, the hospital is described as '..a favourite aunt who remains fascinating because of her risque youth and continuing independence of spirit.. a buxom red sandstone building...a coquettish dash of rouge on an otherwise grey suburban face.' This gives me more than enough to get my imagination going on ideas for a character who could inhabit a story...