Friday, September 21, 2007

Famous Writers' Rooms

The Guardian has published a collection of annotated photos of famous writers' writing rooms. The one shown here is Seamus Heaney's room.

"This is a corner of the attic room of our house in Dublin. In the down-slope of the ceiling on the other side there's a second skylight, much wider and longer and lower than the one in the picture, and through it I have a high clear view of Dublin Bay and Howth Head and the Dublin port shipping coming and going - or not, depending on the weather.

The desk surface is a slab of board on two filing cabinets, but when we first moved in 30 years ago, it consisted of two planks that had served as bench seats in a lecture hall in Carysfort College - oak whose grain had been polished by the soft shiftings of a century of student schoolmistresses.

I liked to think there was much virtuous concentration stored in that timber, but I also liked the makeshift nature of the arrangement. I always had a superstitious fear of setting up a too well-designed writing place and then finding that the writing had absconded. Even so, the attic was redesigned 10 years ago, with the new skylights and a mini-stack arrangement to create some badly needed book space."

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