The Fellowship of the RLF

My new home-from-home, the Biomedical Sciences building
I am now in my third week of an RLF Fellowship, so it seems a good point to comment on this remarkable institution and its work.

The Royal Literary Fund is a charity that was set up in the eighteenth century to support starving authors - and it still helps those in difficulty today, but arguably its more prominent role is now educational. The fund now has Fellows, who are professional writers, in over 50 UK universities and similar institutions (you can see an impressive map of where they are here), where their role is to help students and staff improve the quality of their writing.

I'm one of two Fellows in the Science faculty at the University of Bristol, working alongside short story writer and poet Tania Hershman, and so far a summary of the experience would be 'exhausting but brilliant.' 

Need to get right to the top of the road as seen here
The exhausting part is partially because after 20 years of working for myself I'm not used to doing a proper job (at least that's what some might say), and partly because getting to our base in the Biomedical Sciences building involves a climb up the south face of St Michael's Hill, an ascent that I'm sure most professional climbers would not attempt without all the right gear (though students do power past me with monotonous regularity). 

As for the brilliant part, it is extremely rewarding when it's possible to help someone with their writing - and its hard to imagine a more welcoming faculty. It's only early days, but I think this was a good project to take on.