Friday, October 16, 2009

Writers at Soapstone: Barbara Sjoholm

Barbara Sjoholm was in residence at Soapstone for a week in the summer of 2001 and a week during the winter of 2003. She wrote about the first week:

“I accomplished far more than I had hoped. I brought a number of memoir/essays to work on and ended up not only writing but being able to see them as a unified whole. I was surprised at how much I was able to get done. I felt intensely focused on the work—the days seemed much longer than at home.

“I was happy to be at Soapstone with a friend. Most nights we took turns reading our work to one another and giving feedback. We worked through the days except for two escapes to the coast on sunny afternoons. Perhaps especially since we are friends, I was glad to have the excellent “rules” and not have to bother to work out any of that ourselves.

“You’ve done an incredible job organizing the process from beginning to end. Every question and/or contingency had an answer in the materials, leaving our brain cells free to create. Thank you!”

Barbara Sjoholm is a novelist, memoirist, translator, and mystery writer. Her books include Blue Windows: A Christian Science Childhood, The Pirate Queen: In Search of Grace O'Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea, Incognito Street: How Travel Made Me a Writer, and The Palace of the Snow Queen: Winter Travels in Lapland. Her short pieces have been published in the Harvard Review, The American Scholar, Antioch Review, the New York Times, Slate, and Smithsonian. Barbara has also published several collections of short stories and three novels; she is one of the founders of Seal Press and the nonprofit Women in Translation.

Many readers know her as Barbara Wilson, author of two successful, offbeat mystery series. In 2001, a film of Gaudi Afternoon was released, starring Judy Davis and Marcia Gay Harden. Her awards include a Columbia Translation Prize for Cora Sandel: Selected Short Stories, a British Crime Writers' award, and a Lambda Literary Award.

She is currently working on a translation from the Danish of With the Lapps in the High Mountains, by the painter and ethnologist Emilie Demant Hatt. You can find out more about Barbara on her website.