About Tanya

Tanya Shadrick at Jan Michalski Foundation (credit Tonatiuh Ambrosetti)
A former hospice life-story scribe, Tanya embarked on her first public work after forty with The Wild Patience Scrolls: a mile of writing composed pen on paper beside England’s oldest outdoor pool…

You can listen to Tanya discuss that undertaking with her mentor, sculptor David Nash, in the BBC Radio 4 show Pursuit of Beauty: a celebration of slow art which features both Tanya’s mile of writing and Nash’s forty-year old living sculpture Ash Dome.

Since her first performance piece, Tanya has been a writer-in-residence at many other extraordinary locations, including the Jan Michalski Foundation in Switzerland and Virginia Woolf’s garden on the Sussex Downs.

“A mile of writing. What patience it would take. What nerve. To be a woman in middle age, taking up space, claiming attention. Making an exhibition of myself. What Mother said I must never, ever do. Beyond the pale. Outside the fenced enclosure; into disrepute. Could it be done? What might it do to my life if I tried?”

The Cure For Sleep

All of her work seeks to call forth creative responses in others – a practice which earned her Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts in 2018.

As founder of The Selkie Press, Tanya is the editor of Wild Woman Swimming – a journal of west country waters longlisted for the 2019 Wainwright Prize: a book she promised to make after a single meeting with its dying author, Lynne Roper.

The Cure for Sleep (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2022) is Tanya’s first book – and an open invitation for others to begin (or return to) their own creative journeys…

The Jan Michalski Foundation, Switzerland

“Tanya creates intriguing space in public places where the curious find themselves engaging in a writer’s practice and volunteering their own stories to be wove into her work”

Sculptor David Nash RA (Mentor)

“Tanya has that very rare combination of stillness and energy. Her stories captivated me instantly”

Robert Caskie (Agent)

“Tanya is an electrifying voice and her book reminds me of the very best memoirs – Joan Didion’s writing, Lorna Sage’s Bad Blood…

Lettice Franklin (Editor)

Art & Projects

You can explore Tanya’s work more fully by visiting her artist site, which includes profiles and resources relating to her major projects beyond the book…

Wild Patience Scrolls
a mile of writing composed pen on paper on 5 x 150ft scrolls, inviting onlookers to describe when they felt most wild and free
supported by Pells Pool, Lewes, and the Jan Michalski Foundation, Switzerland
as featured by Radio 4, Oh Comely and the Outdoor Swimming Society
Tanya Shadrick in residence at Pells Pool - Credit Steve Creffield

Concentrates of Place
a rest-of-life project begun by artist Tanya Shadrick after sudden near-death
as featured by National Geographic Education, Ernest Journal and The Simple Things

Birds of Firle
a single edition book being posted in sequence to one hundred collaborators across a decade, inviting responses on grief & hope as the things with feathers
as featured by Little Toller’s The Clearing
Birds of Firle by Tanya Shadrick for The Selkie Press

The Selkie Press

small publisher with a big commitment to stories of community & connection
founded by Tanya Shadrick
home to Wild Woman SwimmingBirds of Firle & Selkie Press Stories

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