Writer in Residence – Melanie Shearn

Ilkley Manor House has partnered with local writer, Melanie Shearn, to launch an inaugural Writer in Residence programme. Melanie will write in the Manor House at different times of the day, week and year and will respond in artistic ways to the Manor House and its events with a view to creating new fictional work.

“I’ve always been drawn to Ilkley’s Manor House. It sits up on Castle Hill, tucked away, hidden, historical, protected; a little gem in a Courtyard whose heart is being renewed and restored and is becoming something else. To write in a building in such a central and beautiful setting, where stone has been laid upon an ancient monument, is immediately awe-inspiring.”

Melanie favours a spontaneous and instinctive approach to writing and art, and previously handwrote live in the Manor House at an Ilkley Literature Festival Fringe event last October. Chatting with visitors inspired much of the writing that culminated in a handmade artists’ book titled Inbetween.

Melanie has lived in Ilkley for twenty buy valium zolpidem years, holds a PhD in interdisciplinary Gender Studies from the University of Leeds and ran a Guardian Top 10 book blog. She was previously a trustee for Ilkley and District Good Neighbours and is a member of Ilkley Arts. She grew up in a bushveld valley in Johannesburg and her most meaningful job was as an election monitor for South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994.

For storytelling progress, follow the Instagram hashtag: #writerinresidenceilkleymanorhouse
You can follow Melanie on Instagram: @tumblingfumbling

To contact Melanie by post, please write to her at:
Writer in Residence
Ilkley Manor House
Castle Yard
LS29 9DT


“For you Mel, anything and everything is possible and probable.” – Ilkley Arts member and visitor to the live writing event, October 2019

“ Sometimes you see a book that stops you in your tracks and makes you rethink everything you thought you knew.” – Sarah, Editions Studio owner and bookbinder, Seattle, commenting on the handmade artist’s book, Inbetween.

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