I’ve been looking for a quiet place to write away from the distractions of home (think snacks, endless wifi and a wild peacock so loud I’m quite certain he’s heralding the apocalypse).

Here’s a good list of quiet places to write in London, but my doctor flatmate alerted me to a little known gem perfect for this purpose.

Hidden behind this slightly forbidding façade is a lovely medical library, complete with wood-panelled walls, padded chairs and thick wooden tables.

The only sound you’re likely to hear is the soft tissue of medical students’ heads hitting those thick folders of notes in desperation. There are lots of power points and large tables in comfortable alcoves on two floors (possibly three, I was too scared to venture into the basement).

It’s centrally located, between the St Paul’s and Barbican stations, and unless you’re a medical student there’s no wifi access, so perfect if you lack discipline like me.

Just mumble something about proliferative retinopathy if someone asks you why you’re there.

Do you have a favourite writing space?

Where: St Barts Hospital, London. Walk into the central courtyard, then follow the signs to the Robin Brook centre. The library is to the right next to the entrance.

Opening times: Monday-Friday 9am to 9pm and Saturday 1pm to 8pm during term times. Opening times vary during the holidays.

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It’s sublime. Just go into another room and make pictures. It’s magic time. Where all your weaknesses of character and blemishes of personality and whatever else torments you fades away. Just doesn’t matter.

Maurice Sendak on making books and pictures. Video here.

I think I mentioned somewhere I’m currently taking the Curtis Brown Creative novel writing course. It’s been a wonderful experience, if you are the sort of person who thinks stubbing your toe repeatedly against stray bed posts, strumming your face with a cheese grater or flushing your own head down the toilet is wonderful. It has been, I think, the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, this daily facing of my own foibles and inadequacies, this constant fight against apathy and self-loathing.

This week, we were treated to a presentation by author Jojo Moyes, who recently won the popular vote of Richard and Judy’s book club for her novel Me Before You. She was an eloquent, funny, and inspiring speaker, and this, I think, was the gist of her message:

Just sit down and write the damn thing. And turn the stupid internet off.

She recommended Freedom, a piece of software that locks you out of the internet for your own good, but I am not brave enough for it yet. Besides, I need the internet for research. See the image above for proof – all of these searches were for the book, apart from maybe “carrot coconut cake Hummingbird” and (ahem) “Adam Brody”, which was entirely fellow CBC student Sarah’s fault.

If you’re after insight into writing and publishing, want some book recommendations, or simply like to shed little tears in pleasure at other people’s well deserved success, go check out Jojo’s blog. It is lovely.


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I wrote a little something for the World Nomads Travel Writing Scholarship.

Read it here.