Gladstone's Library, Hawarden

By Rhian Waller - Gladstone's Library PR and marketing

Today we're sharing part three of a series of articles featuring the writers who choose to work at Gladstone's Library, Hawarden. We like to think the 120-year-old Library building inspires these fantasy authors!

Teika Marija Smits said: "I recently visited the library and had a wonderful time. I'm a writer of poetry and speculative fiction, I'm currently writing my second novel (historical fiction with a magical realism slant to it) which I started writing at the library. Being surrounded by books which were written and published in the century my novel is set in really inspired me to get going with my work!"

Eliza Chan said: "I was there with The British Fantasy Society group editing my fantasy novel Fathomfolk, due to be released in February 2024 by Orbit. The Gladstone Library was so inspirational, and it really pushed me to focus and work much longer hours than I've managed at home. I have recommended it to all my friends!"

Saloni Surah said: "It is a magical place to write. I love the room with the fire. I have worked on my children's book Flora Investigates: The Case of the Missing Gold Eggs due to be released in July, and more lately my fairies [books]."

Siân O'Hara said: "I'm a fledgling author, so this was the first time I had ever given myself so much space and time to write. I had no idea what to expect… but it was incredible! The amazing location, the welcoming staff and the friendly company were so inspiring. Much to my relief, I sat down each time to write and found words or edits just pouring out. Since the retreat I've had two flash fiction pieces published online, one more accepted for publication in August, and have grown in confidence as a writer. I just wish I could come back to Gladstone's Library every month!"

Jen Williams said: "I had a completely excellent time! I've written two fantasy trilogies, The Copper Cat and The Winnowing Flame (the later won two British Fantasy Awards) as well as Dog Rose Dirt, a serial killer thriller with folk horror undertones, and Games for Dead Girls, a thriller that's out... now! Wow that came around fast. The book I finished in the Library itself was another scary book, as yet untitled but likely to be published next year."

Mandy Morton said: "My next book is based in the Gladstone library! I've turned the library into an academy for wayward cats as part of my No2. Feline Detective Agency crime series and the book title is a secret at the moment...

"I was inspired on a visit to the library with my partner Nicola Upson who was giving a talk on her Josephine Tey crime series. It was a wonderful place to set a series of murders and I've included the wonderful church and graveyard as well. I've renamed the building The Grubstone Library and the church St Gertrude of Nibbles as she was the patron saint of cats!"

Claire Harlow said: "I edited my first book Tidemagic (to be published by Puffin in 2024) in one visit last spring and returned in the summer to research book two. I will be back again soon to get on with some drafting. So excited about the next visit."