The highly talented UK dark/weird fiction author and artist V.H. Leslie, whose superb first collection Skein and Bone I’ve reviewed elsewhere, has shared a post from the Saari Residence in Finland. Supported by the Kone Foundation, an “independent non-profit organisation” originating from Finland’s Kone Corporation, whose “goal is to make the world a better place by advancing bold initiatives in research and the arts,” the Saari Residence opened in 2008, and since then has hosted over 300 writers, artists, and other creatives. It “offers artists and researchers the opportunity for peace and tranquillity, and the possibility to focus on their creative work undisturbed. The Saari Residence’s historical surroundings and peaceful location near a nature reserve and bird wetlands help to fade away all distractions.”

“‘Saari’ means ‘island’ in Finnish, after the fact that it was once surrounded by the Baltic sea. That was until about a thousand years ago, when the land began to rise,” Leslie explains. “Remote landscapes are very important in my work and to the production of my work. Surrounded by woodland, with the sea close by, I feel my ideas can breathe here.”

Saari is in Finland’s South Karelia region, with a population of just over 1400. “From September to April, eight artists and researchers of all different disciplines work at the residence for two-month periods at a time. Consequently, opportunities for interaction between these often very different residents abound,” the Foundation explains. “There is a sense of camaraderie, a recognition of similar temperaments and intellectual ideas – though our mediums are very different – and perhaps, potentially, the seeds of collaboration,” Leslie adds. And she recommends fellow writers and creatives to apply in their turn. Who would want to miss the chance?


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