Sigrid Nunez is an accomplished writer, having published six novels and a memoir about Susan Sontag. Solitude is critical to her writing practice, and although she gets plenty of it at home, she also values the residency experience and has been awarded fellowships at many arts colonies.
Over the years, Sigrid has found that residencies serve her best when she’s in the middle of a project and can make the most of long stretches of interrupted time. She came to Saltonstall with a new novel-in-progress. “I always forget how long it takes to write!” she says. “Saltonstall’s been what I hoped for. I’ve had good long hours of work every day.”
The degree to which Sigrid can focus on her writing at Saltonstall is what distinguishes a residency from the solitude of a home office. “You can’t just recreate this at home,” she says, referring to her last few weeks at Saltonstall. “You go to the (residency) in order to focus completely on the work. The quality of the work you do at a residency is usually better because the quality of the concentration is better. There’s also something about being surrounded by greenery. It’s been shown that just looking at greenery can boost a person’s concentration and creativity.”