Postcard from Prague
Sarah Perry on her writing residency

In January, Norfolk writer and novelist Sarah Perry travelled to Prague, City of Literature, to begin her writing residency. As the end of this exciting experience draws near, she reflects on her early expectations and the reality of what she has gained – has she achieved all that she’d wanted to?

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<p>I’m nearing the end of a stint in Prague as a UNESCO Writer-in-Residence, representing (as ever!) Norwich. Both Prague and Norwich are UNESCO Cities of Literature, a status conferred on 20 cities worldwide in recognition of their active and richly diverse literary scenes. From my bed I look into the windows of a baroque opera house that wears a golden crown; now and then swans fly upriver through the snow. I’ve been eating date syrup on pumpernickel bread.</p>
<p>Before I left, I promised myself, my husband and my cat that I’d use these two months wisely. I would (I said) return a better and a wiser woman, with a good grasp of conversational Czech and 20,000 words of a third novel.</p>
<p>Reader, you’ll not be surprised to hear I achieved little of this. But much of what I’ve gained I could not possibly have predicted, and I’ve learned a good many things I’d no idea I didn’t know.</p>
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