Fool’s Paradise, Here I Come!

A Doris McCarthy painting of Fool’s Paradise

A Doris McCarthy painting of Fool’s Paradise

Following the death of landscape painter Doris McCarthy in 2010, the Ontario Heritage Trust established the Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence Centre, at her request, on the property where she had lived for over 60 years. Her mother did not approve of her purchase of the land in 1939 and referred to the property as “that fool’s paradise of yours.”

Last fall I applied to take advantage of the opportunity to focus intensely on my writing at Fool’s Paradise, a setting imbued with the spirit of this fine artist, overlooking the Scarborough Bluffs. I’d heard about the possibility of doing so from Jan Coates, who went last year.

Next week I’ll begin a month-long stay there, armed with feedback I received recently from the wonderful women I can count on to give me insightful responses to my works-in-progress (and from my in-house (literally) editor) of the project I’m taking with me – my first full-length novel for adults.

I imagine I won’t be writing every minute of every day I’m there. I’ll do my morning yoga, take walks, and read as well. And I imagine I’ll take more than a few photographs of my surroundings as a memento of my time there. Hopefully, come mid-April, I’ll be bringing home a manuscript that’s a whole lot closer to being ready to submit to an agent.

Where have you done your best work? Is there another residency/retreat I should think about applying to, for next year?

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. janlcoates on March 9, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    So jealous – but please say hi to Jitka for me (and Doris, whose presence I'm sure you'll feel at FP, especially in her Chapter House and when she's smiling over your shoulder as you gaze out the front window). It's almost as inspiring a place as Port Joli/Sandy Bay!

    • Kathy Stinson on June 29, 2016 at 10:00 am

      Sorry it’s taken me a while to respond, Jan. There was a glitch in the system for a while that didn’t let me know when someone had commented on a post. Fun (in a bittersweet way) to be reminded of the lovely Jitka and of Doris’s looking over her shoulder at me in that front room. It was a pretty amazing place to be alright! And PJ time is coming up soon. Hope you’ve got plans for a good writing place this summer too.

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