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BOA Editions Author, Renia White, at Château de Lavigny: A Transformative Residency

Renia White, an accomplished poet and creative non-fiction writer based in Brooklyn, NY, recently experienced a month-long residency at the Château de Lavigny in Switzerland, from May 28 to June 24, 2024. Renia, who has a BA from Howard University and an MFA from Cornell University, is the author of the poetry collection Casual Conversation (BOA Editions Ltd., 2022), which was selected for the Blessing the Boats award. Her work has been featured in notable publications such as NO NIIN, The Recluse, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series.

Anticipation and Arrival

Renia’s excitement for the residency was palpable even before her arrival. Reflecting on the chaotic spring semester, she expressed her anticipation for dedicating herself to her writing projects, meeting new people, and making creative breakthroughs. The serene environment of Château de Lavigny provided the perfect backdrop for this personal and professional renewal.

Immersed in Creativity

Renia’s time at the Château de Lavigny has been nothing short of transformative. She has relished the opportunity to step away from the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn, where she has lived and toiled for seven years. The residency has offered her a much-needed balance and the chance to immerse herself in her writing in a way that daily life in the city does not always permit. Surrounded by talented writers and translators, she has found inspiration not only in her own work but also in the fascinating projects of her peers.

A Legacy of Support for Writers

The Château de Lavigny, established by Jane Ledig-Rowohlt in memory of her husband, German publisher Heinrich Maria Ledig-Rowohlt, has been a haven for writers for over 20 years. This residency program has welcomed more than 600 poets, novelists, and writers from around the world, fostering a spirit of international community and creativity. The foundation’s mission is to provide writers with the precious gift of time, allowing them to focus on their work and exchange ideas with fellow residents. Notably, the Château once hosted Tayari Jones, Renia's favorite Château alum!

Reflections from Renia

Renia’s reflections on her time at Château de Lavigny are filled with gratitude and wonder. She has experienced significant writing breakthroughs and has seen new creative shapes forming in her work. The residency has not only offered her the physical space and time to write but has also provided a rejuvenating and inspiring atmosphere. Renia’s heartfelt wish for her loved ones to share in this radiant experience speaks to the profound impact the residency has had on her.

A Place of Transformation

The Château de Lavigny has a reputation for leaving an indelible mark on its residents. Writers who have stayed there, such as Adam Zagajewski, Aharon Appelfeld, Ben Okri, and Assia Djebar, have all spoken of the magical and transformative nature of their time at the château. This sentiment resonates with Renia’s own experience, as she accumulates new insights and creative energy in the serene Swiss setting.


Renia White’s residency at the Château de Lavigny has been a period of intense creative focus and personal growth. Her time in Switzerland has allowed her to connect deeply with her writing and with other writers from around the world. As she returns to Brooklyn, she carries with her the inspiration and breakthroughs from her stay at the château, ready to continue her literary journey with renewed vigor and vision.

Pictures from the residency: 

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