Drawing by David Hockney: “for lovely Beatrice from David H, August 21st 1973”
FROM ANDREW SEAN GREER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:
People used to ask me, as a novelist, the best way to support the arts. I always had the same answer:
“Give to an artist’s residency.”
By supporting writers at Santa Maddalena, you are helping to create a global community of art, and a vital conversation about the state of our world. Every donation goes into fellowships that provide studio space, uninterrupted work time, living accommodations, and meals for up to 20 writers a year; the writers themselves pay no fee. Fellowships supported by donors like you have supported legendary writers such as Zadie Smith, Michael Ondaatje, Colm Toibin, Juan Gabriel Vasquez and Dany LaFerriere. Santa Maddalena Fellowships have helped launch careers, and Fellows have gone on to earn Pulitzer Prizes, Prix Goncourt, National Book Awards, Booker Prizes, International Dublin Literary Awards and other major distinctions.
Recently, we have focused on writers from places of distress, hosting talented authors from Afghanistan, Turkey, Syria and Somalia, giving them not only a place in which to work, but a place of connection to other writers. It has been a gratifying project.
But it does not come cheap; each artist residency costs us about $25,000 in overhead, and we rely on donations from Friends like you to help keep it alive. It is a struggle every year, and even more with our new focus. Your contributions make an enormous difference, and we have a wish list for 2018 (some an imperative, some a delight):
- TRAVEL ASSISTANCE: Even a small fare can be impossible for writers—consider the taxis, trains, as well as the plane—and even $500 can help bridge that gap. Any contribution towards our Travel Fund will allow us to do what we have never been able to do before: help writers come to our foundation. A dedicated sponsor could lend a name to these grants, and connect personally with the writers.
- WRITER’S STIPEND: Bills don’t go away just because a writer is away six weeks working on a novel. A $500 or $800 stipend can help cover a family’s utilities and rent while the writer is here. Even a modest fund could allow so many writers to take time for their work.
- PREMIO GREGOR VON REZZORI: The Premio is Italy’s most important prize for a work in translation, bringing the world’s greatest writers to Florence. It has been difficult to do without a major sponsor: the awards alone are usually $35,000. Even smaller gifts—for instance: $5000 for use of Sala D’Arme projections—would be essential to keeping this prize alive!
- TWO NEW CARS to replace the old 2000 Land Rover and 1992 Mitsubishi. We need a large used vehicle for country living, and another smaller one for trips to the market for daily meals and hope to spend less than $6000 each.
- A GASOLINE FUND. Gas prices in Europe are almost double those in the US, and we have been limiting trips to save on gas. More breathing room could let us bring writers to Arezzo or Siena to experience the treasures of Italy. We are working towards an $8000 fund.
- A NEW CHIMNEY FOR THE TOWER. Movement of the earth over the years has created cracks in the chimney, rendering the fireplace unusable. We would love for writers to continue the tradition of a fire in winter while they read or write—this would require fitting the chimney with a metal tube ending in a glass fireplace. The cost is about $8000.
- A NEW ROAD: Many have enjoyed our notoriously bumpy road, which must be renewed every few years. We are investing, along with others along the road, in something that will last longer, but the local government will only assist up to a certain point. Our share: probably $4000.
- A NEW REFRIGERATOR: ours is now many decades old, and a new one is only $500. Hungry writers will thank you!
- A NEW WEED CUTTER for $200 is what Mangiu (the groundskeeper) wants for Christmas.
- CHEESE FUND for lunch time. Another wonderful Italian tradition that is a major expense. We go through two hunks of Parmigiano each week, $15 a shot, which gets us to $1000 on Parmigiano alone! Then there is Pecorino with salad, and so on.
- WINE FUND for dinner time. We are happy to be able to offer the Tuscan tradition of red wine with dinner (writers provide their own once they leave the table), but of course even a glass each at dinner runs $2000 a year.
- AND, OF COURSE, FUNDING A WRITER, possibly on an ongoing basis. A Sponsored Fellowship is an invaluable opportunity to help artists, and can be named for the donor or in memory of another. The donor will have a chance to connect with the writers. If you are interested in becoming a Major Donor, feel free to contact me personally!
Any assistance you could give would make a world of difference for our writers, and for our staff who work tirelessly to provide a home for them in Tuscany. I am personally grateful to any of you who can give generously to what we all know is a worthy cause.
Andrew Sean Greer
A donation to the Foundation should be addressed to:
The Santa Maddalena Foundation, Inc.
Stephen Graham 435 East 52 Street Apt. 12 – G New York, NY 10022, USA
The Foundation has been granted a tax exempt status under Section 501 (a) of the United States Internal Revenue Code as a section 501 (c) (3) charitable organization. Donors to the Foundation may deduct contributions as provided in Section 170 of the United States Internal Revenue Code.