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This report is taken from PN Review 259, Volume 47 Number 5, May - June 2021.

Blood and Divine Love
Blood and Divine Love: Imagining the City
Vahni Capildeo
Last autumn the National Centre for Writing, based at Dragon Hall in Norwich, put out a call for a UNESCO project, ‘Imagining the City’, which would connect virtual writers in residence. Wherever else I am in the world, Norwich is one of the cities chiefly in my mind. I knew I had to apply, however little I could offer under lockdown conditions. The five writers were Liz Breslin (Dunedin, New Zealand), Lynn Buckle (Dublin, Ireland), Valur Gunnarsson (Reykjavík, Iceland), Marcin Wilk (Krakow, Poland) and me (Edinburgh, Scotland). The National Centre for Writing website and Instagram page host our new work, images, book recommendations, writing tips. Officially, this is evidence of fantastic productivity. Humanly, these are traces of an ongoing conversation. Though the residency is over, Dragon Hall, ever a generous host, continues to encourage us to ‘meet’ online. Our imagination is nourished by a shared mycelium, antipodean sunshine shedding light on early-morning Liz while tenderly stacked books threatened to engulf nocturnal Marcin, Valur shaking us with his reports on sleep disturbed by earthquakes, and Lynn conjuring us into awareness of the poetics of sign language and of tree communication. What is authorship? What is intention, compared to connection and encounter? None of our pieces is just one.

For my project, ‘Lighthouse and Anchorage’, I took a version of the same walk every day, along the north coast of the Scottish capital city, visiting the decommissioned lighthouse lit up by rainbow LEDs; once or twice venturing onto the breakwater designed by Robert Louis Stevenson’s grandfather, famous too for their lighthouse ...


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