• How to Apply for the Amtrak Residency for Writers

Writers will find great inspiration on Amtrak's 15 long-distance trains.

How to Apply for the Amtrak Residency for Writers

#AmtrakResidency is happening!

What began as a line in Alexander Chee's interview in PEN Ten and was fueled by Twitter, is now an official Amtrak program.

As many of you may know by now, our test-run for Amtrak Residency was done by Manhattan-based writer Jessica Gross, whose piece, Writing The Lakeshore Limited was published in February by The Paris Review. What followed was overwhelming support on Twitter and in the media with #AmtrakResidency being featured in The Wire, The New Yorker, and Huffington Post among others.

Today we are happy to announce that #AmtrakResidency will allow for up to 24 writers to take long-distance trains to work on their projects. Each writer's round-trip journey will include accommodations on board a sleeper car equipped with a bed, a desk and outlets. We hope this experience will inspire creativity and most importantly fuel your sense of adventure!

Are you excited about #AmtrakResidency? Want to learn more and apply? Head over to our official entry form and good luck!

331 comments
maeganbeaumont
maeganbeaumont

A few friends who applied with me have received rejection letters but I haven't heard anything. Not sure if I'm a finalist or my application was lost.

hirschwrites
hirschwrites

waiting to hear about my application for the residency. Any word out there?

SwingerSongwriter
SwingerSongwriter

I submitted as a songwriter with national awards, but of course, could not submit a 'song'... So I submitted lyrics already published and I own all publishing and copyright. They're welcome to print the lyrics. I aimed my application at a specific trip in my near future (Sept 2014)    http://www.tlanetwork.org/conference/3742-2/   and thought I'd learn what I could about timing,  etc.   Appears my best bet is to stall long as I can before buying a plane ticket from Maine to Kansas City, Mo.   Holding hope, but not holding my breath. 


You guys all seem to know each other... ? 

DavidSpearman
DavidSpearman

Receive the RIGHTS to my work?

Is this true??

KingMidget
KingMidget

I'm pretty certain that Amtrak has demonstrated how not to run a contest.  


First, include provisions that provide far more rights to Amtrak for works that are unrelated to the actual competition so that most sane people won't apply.  Hello Amtrak, typically what you should get the rights to is the work generated during the residency, not the sample that is submitted with an application.


Second, have an on-line application that utterly fails to provide any confirmation of successful submission and also refuse to provide confirming emails that an application is received.  And, then, point out that anybody who submits more than one application will be automatically disqualified.


Third, ensure that those interested in the residency are told, yet again, that they will receive no confirmation of their application, no notice if they are rejected for the residency.  Essentially, there is no obligation by Amtrak to do anything to notify any of the applications, even while they are claiming that by applying we all are giving away our rights to what we submitted in our application.


Well done, Amtrak.  


This was pretty much a joke.

DenisePikolycky
DenisePikolycky

I wish they would pick two of us each month.  This chatter would be overflowing!

DenisePikolycky
DenisePikolycky

That's a good question.  I will review the application again.  It would be nice if they e-mailed all of the applicants 2 winners each month and posted them on Livefyre.

ScottMohnkern
ScottMohnkern

Does anyone know where a list of awardees will be posted?

vlyman
vlyman

they probably will pick one or two a month until the deadline .... I think so many of us here though rushed our applications because we didn't realize the due date was March a year from now.  I guess we're not used to seeing yearlong call for entries so somehow it didn't register .. I know that I for one am bummed that I rushed my application while sick, when I actually had a whole year to complete it .... 

DebbieLannen
DebbieLannen

I am almost finished with my third book. Would love to put finishing touches on it and begin my new series while riding a train! Any idea when announcements will be coming through? Anxiously waiting.

momonroe44
momonroe44

Any news about who the lucky winners are?

DenisePikolycky
DenisePikolycky

If you have submitted two applications you need to withdraw one.  Email Amtrak at social@Amtrak.com and let them know which one to delete and which one to keep.  Good Luck!

DenisePikolycky
DenisePikolycky

I don't recall them telling us when they will announce the 24 lucky winners.  It might have been in the application details. 

vlyman
vlyman

when do we find out?

PeterJoseph
PeterJoseph

Any chance at a photographer's residency? =)

DenisePikolycky
DenisePikolycky

Arlo Guthrie is also famous because of it.  Ride on!

MagnoliaMoon
MagnoliaMoon

Lookit, I handed up train orders to The City of New Orleans for four years, rode the train a dozen times between Hammond, Louisiana, and Homewood, Illinois.  Write on it?  Pffffff-tttt.

Arlo Guthrie did that already.


DMaxMJ
DMaxMJ

Not sure Amtrak is looking to get into the movie making business, but if you write well enough-maybe some cutesy pretentious train-travel promotional stuff. A train ride and the chance to write is all, I think, and I doubt you will be roughed up and robbed of the writing you do on the train.....or WILL YOU (insert suspenseful DUHN DUhn duhn orchestration...lights fade)...Oh yeah, I'm feelin it.

BrandonSeifert
BrandonSeifert

"In submitting an Application, Applicant hereby grants Sponsor the absolute, worldwide, and irrevocable right to use, modify, publish, publicly display, distribute, and copy Applicant’s Application, in whole or in part, for any purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and marketing, and to sublicense such rights to any third parties."


I would love to participate in this residency. I've been super excited about it since it was announced.


However, if this language means that Amtrak is taking these rights to my application — including my writing sample — then there's no way I can even apply. These are not standard rights to be granting in a residency application, and they aren't reasonable rights for you to be asking for, for publicity reasons or any others. Per the terms listed above, Amtrak would have the legal right to license a movie based on my writing sample — without paying me! And that's just one example that the language allows for; I could list many others.


Please cut this onerous licensing clause!

jbfrance
jbfrance

Hi! I am French and I would like to know if having a tourist visa can be considered as being a "legal resident" to apply for the Amtrak Residency for writers? Thanks for your answer.

cdhdoctor
cdhdoctor

Yes, I just received an email from the Dramatists Guild, stating their concern over Paragraph 6, their attempts to get clarification and modification from Amtrak, and the fact that Amtrak has not responded to their last communications with them. Because I sent them a sample that was published, I sent in a second sample and tweeted that the first was published and not available for "use." I know sending them two apps took me out of the process. However, I also availed myself of emailing them with "Remove" in the subject as they posted on this site. It's all getting too messy. If DG can get a change, I will reapply.

dwiener
dwiener

Yes, paragraph 6 is a deal-breaker; however, in my submission, I sent a previously published (and copyrighted) work, and stated this very clearly in the application; even though that might take me out of the running, I wanted the administrators of this project to know that, while the answers I gave to the application questions can be used by Amtrak, the work sample itself is unavailable for this type of use, having been previously published and copyrighted. The Dramatists Guild is working to deal with this issue, but that's one way for the writer to handle it.

ChuckGuest
ChuckGuest

Amtrak is about enjoying the journey. Brian Belefant's writing is just as engaging and life-affirming. This is a match that must be made. The adventures of a lifetime are waiting for us around the bend or the turn of the page.


TamaraThompson1
TamaraThompson1

I hope you will include Brian Belefant in your writer series, his work is born of truth and the uncomfortable beauty that springs from it.

Eugenia Parrish
Eugenia Parrish

@maeganbeaumont I got a nice rejection with the discount offer.  I'm debating trying for a discounted ride in the fall.  My problem is that I have to drive quite a while to get to a station plus then store my car, etc.  It would be worthwhile for a free trip, but don't know if the discount would pay for the gas!

DMaxMJ
DMaxMJ

@maeganbeaumont Got a very nice "We had so many entries and it was difficult to choose" rejection, that came with an offer to ride at a discount with a special code provided. 3 weeks-ish, almost a month ago, I think. It's a neat idea, boy I could use a writing-vacation (in solitude), but I'm about to get a few days as my wife and daughters go to fetch some nephews out of state. I see a well stocked fridge, a couple bottles of wine and some writing time.

DenisePikolycky
DenisePikolycky

@DavidSpearman   Yes but it's free promotion for your work, free advertisement, and a free trip!  If you didn't apply yet, write a sample that you haven't published yet and hope you win!

DMaxMJ
DMaxMJ

@ScottMohnkern  I have won. At first, people assumed Veruca would win, but after I flushed her down the vacuum bowl commode on the Amtrak (which everyone had thought was mostly inactive until recently) I was the soft-spoken but pure hearted shoe-in. Let the rides begin. Just don't push the red button.

DenisePikolycky
DenisePikolycky

@ScottMohnkern   I just read the application again.  They will be selected on a rolling basis, another words, ongoing throughout the year.  They will notify the applicants they are interested in by e-mail.  You only have 3 days to reply so watch your e-mail everyone and good luck!  Wish I was on that train right now!

DenisePikolycky
DenisePikolycky

@vlyman   Yes a year is a long time to wait.  It might take me that long to get a good grip on twitter!  I keep forgetting my password!

DenisePikolycky
DenisePikolycky

@DebbieLannen   I don't know either.  I was going to go back to the application and see if it said anything about when they will let us know but I never did it.  I was disappointed when I realized the deadline ends 3-31-2015!  I thought it was 2014!   So I guess they can let us know next year!  I was hoping they would choose two a month or something.  Guess not.  It was so exciting there for awhile!  Now it's ....boring.  We are so use to instant results.  Wish we could microwave this literary hatching!

DenisePikolycky
DenisePikolycky

@momonroe44   Well the contest doesn't really end until March 31st 2015.  That's a whole year away.  I was just hoping they would select 2 each month or something like that.  I don't remember reading the selection process.

MagnoliaMoon
MagnoliaMoon

@DMaxMJ FADE IN:
INT. CLUB CAR - NIGHT

Amtrak Writing Resident downs another scotch and water.  Scribbles in notebook.  Tears paper from notebook and crams it in his mouth.

MagnoliaMoon
MagnoliaMoon

@BrandonSeifert Paragraph 6 is a killer for me, too.  If there was no "writing sample" to submit, that may make a difference.  Given that Paragraph 6 takes ownership of that sample is beyond the pale. 

Buh-bye, Amtrak.


DenisePikolycky
DenisePikolycky

@BrandonSeifert If you are selected, you have to sign something before you continue. They don't automatically take your work without that signature.   You would get to discuss that with them.  Meanwhile, I am not sure but I think the application process is over near the end of this month.  I read it but I just don't remember the dates.  They should be letting us know who is selected soon!  It would be great if you or one of the authors who agrees with you could come up with rights that you would comply to.  It might save everyone a lot of anxiety.  They could take what you/we would be happy with and blend it in with what they have to have for their own protection.  Win win?

MagnoliaMoon
MagnoliaMoon

@dwiener Under the terms of the agreement, it does take you "out of the running."  How do you expect Amtrak to make use of copyrighted material?  Humm?  (Silly writer.)

DenisePikolycky
DenisePikolycky

@DMaxMJ @ScottMohnkern    You brat!  I knew you would be one of the winners!  Good for you!  Did they send you an e-mail?  Or are you just kidding!?!  Soft spoken?  Not you!  Congrats though, truly!

vlyman
vlyman

@DenisePikolycky @momonroe44 I couldn't find anything about their notification timeline or process.  wow though!!  I totally thought it was only open til March 31, 2014!  I hurried through my application with a fever.  I wonder if I can re-do and re-submit.  

DMaxMJ
DMaxMJ

@DenisePikolycky @DMaxMJ  Maybe you will! I share willingly, which is my fatal flaw. My psych 15 yr old daughter is nearly as twisted as me and we share ideas all the time.

DenisePikolycky
DenisePikolycky

@DMaxMJ @DenisePikolycky    Your daughter seems to have your humor then.  What other habits of yours does she admire?  Its hard to be a parent.  We have to set examples without squashing that creativity.

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