Emily Bitto, author of Stella Prize-winning novel The Strays, was a resident in McCraith House over summer in the lead up to her participation in Women Writers in the City – a new project for non/fictionLab in 2017 supported by the City of Melbourne.
Emily says: “My residency at McCraith House was the first block of dedicated, sustained writing time I’d had in eighteen months, and it was incredibly useful and productive. I have been working on a second novel for close to two years now, but during that time have also been working full time running my own business. This residency allowed me to immerse in the project in a way that I don’t get to in my day-to-day life, and by the end of the fortnight I felt that I had made a genuine breakthrough. Primarily, as well as producing more than 10,000 words, I managed to pin down the ‘voice’ I had been struggling to find, almost to the point of despair, over many months. While at McCraith House I began to hear this voice clearly and, consequently, the writing began to flow at last. The time, the solitude, the singularity of focus, the expansive, ever-changing view, the proximity to the ocean, and the beautiful space in which to sit and work, were all instrumental and wonderful. McCraith House is truly a special place, and for me it will always be the place where I finally began to feel good about my second novel.”