Individual residencies / Olot


From Monday, 25 October 2021 to Friday, 29 October 2021

Freelance writer


Jamie Melbourne-Hayward is a writer and journalist from Wellington, New Zealand. His writing has been published in Oceania and Europe, in Spanish and English, including in titles such as The New Zealand Herald, Metropolitan, Vice Magazine, Capital Magazine, and the Australian literary publication Kill Your Darlings.


I will use my time at Faberllull to continue working on my first novel, in particular the second half, which is currently languishing in the doldrums of disconnected memories, poems, and inspiration. The novel is set in Barcelona against the backdrop of the 2010-2011 financial crisis, and weaves together the events leading to the radicalization of the protagonist by anarchists.

My writing has been influenced by a wide range of Spanish language authors, among which the universe creators Cortázar and Borges feature prominently. I am curious about infusing the poetic lyricism of Spanish with the descriptive eloquence of English, and I am currently reading the works of Catalan author Enrique Vila-Matas, whose fascination with the quotidian – observing the space in-between events – is one of my touchstones in the creative process.

Set on a country road leading out of town, the Faberllull residency provided the perfect environment to focus on my writing. From my window at the Hotel Riu, I looked out over productive fields and stretches of yellow and red forest. There were great stretches of grass roamed by robotic lawnmowers, farmers tilling the land, homesteads burning off piles of leaves, and hot air balloons drifting across the bare, white face of the mountain – Three silver globes, which when viewed at dawn appeared alarmingly like UFOs. Autumn was taking hold. Yet, the only time the skies open was for a sun shower. In between scribbling, I would take strolls past fields of sunflowers, corn, and freshly turned earth (which resembled blocks of smashed-up, dark chocolate). Having come directly from the city, the sense of freedom was intoxicating. At night, I walked along the dimly lit roads that branched off in multiple directions from the hotel, to try and catch some starlight. On these walks, I discovered why only select patches of sunflowers were displaying their full complement of yellow petals. These were the ones gathered around the base of the streetlamps (spread out every 50 meters or so), which provided the flowers with artificial illumination. Aside from these groups, the rest of the field was bent with age, their heads drooping half-way to the ground. This phenomena explained why, by day, these groups of sunflowers looked around in random directions – in absolute confusion – unsure of which God of Light they should revere.

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