Friday, June 10, 2011

Ellie Watts-Russell

I went to visit the Kerouac House writer in residence, Ellie Watts-Russell, on a warm sunny afternoon. When she writes she cuts herself off from all distractions. The cell phone is turned off the night before and the computer is off to avoid the distraction of Facebook. She was getting close to the end of the novel she was working on, entitled "The Lodge", and and she didn't want to rush to the finish line. Usually when she writes she shares her work with another writer to get his opinion while she reads his work. Since she was working alone at the Kerouac House she spends more time proof reading her work. This is what she was doing when I joined her on the porch to sketch.

Born in 1979, Ellie is a graduate of Andrew Motion's Creative Writing course at Royal Holloway. In 2006 she was appointed Writer-In-Residence at HMP Ashwell, an all male prison in Rutland. She speaks with a charming British accent. A petite hummingbird necklace adorned her neck. We sat quietly for more than an hour as she worked. Her Oxford dictionary and thesaurus were on hand and she occasionally consulted with them. Her Moleskin notebook seemed to bulge at the seems. Her keys, attached to a mountain climbers clasp were partially tucked into her notebook. The glass of ice water sweated as she worked. I can't wait till "The Lodge" hits book stores.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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