How to Apply for the Amtrak Residency for Writers

March 2013

#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!

 

 

The application for the Amtrak Residency 2015 program is now open and available here.

34 comments
Greg Buchold
Greg Buchold

Based on the past residency recipients, most appear have been established book authors. Is there interest by Amtrak to support new food and travel bloggers that would like to explore different aspects of U.S. travel by rail? More Millennials are working online, support mass transit as part of the "share economy", and love to travel. Amtrak having a discount mechanism for these workers to use the Amtrak train as a wifi-enabled workspace and to explore destinations by hopping on/hopping off over an extended period (akin to the BritRail or EuroRail passes) could be a great way of promoting the appeal of #rail_life and a mutual opportunity for brand growth. That kind of positive focus could shift misperception that rail travel is unsafe caused by recent rail accidents in the U.S. and abroad.

CarlSmith1
CarlSmith1

Hey, is this program just for US residents, or can us foreigners apply too?  (Obviously for the next year, since 2015 seems to be done.)

EarnestWard
EarnestWard

The Amtrak residency program sounds marvelous and it should do well at reaching its target audience. But, if it meets or exceeds Amtrak goals, why not consider expanding the residency program to reach other audiences too? How about a residency for musicians? And, since train travel is about SEEING America up close, why not a residency for visual artists?


I've done three artist residencies with the National Park Service. (I also blog about my travel adventures and have published four media-rich books.) I am familiar with the long historical connection between the railroad in America and the country's scenic treasures. And (given growing interest, both here and abroad, in the Slow Travel movement) believe a residency for visual artists could help reignite public interest in travel by rail in 21st century (much as the See America First campaign did in the late 19th and 20th century.)  

AmandaLevine
AmandaLevine

How do you know if your application was received? There was no confirmation email.

rebeccaromani
rebeccaromani

You just extended the deadline. What was the deadline extended to?


Sdfauk527
Sdfauk527

Hello. Can I apply if I only have Instagram? Also, when is the residency?

314allison
314allison

I need to apply. I need to explore. I need to get out there and do everything I have ever dreamt of doing. How do I go about such means with this once in a lifetime opportunity? 

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PlanetBrandee
PlanetBrandee

Seeking information about the 2016 residency - please advise!

RebeccaSutton
RebeccaSutton

I agree with many comments about offering this to people who have a true passion but not the means. Established writers aren't rich and famous, but they are already making a living. I'm a writer, but have only contributed to smaller sites and such. It would be a dream come true to do this and would offer the encouragement, confidence, and insparation for people like me to make a difference in the writing world. my heart about leapt from my chest when I saw this. I started shaking, even, from the possibility of doing something so unique and life changing. But as I read the credentials of the chosen 24, my heart sank with each biography. No hope for the up-and-coming or small, passionate peons.

JoyfullyDazed
JoyfullyDazed

@RebeccaSutton I got super excited too.....can you imagine? Not only is it a dream to write a book, but imagine this experience to fulfill that dream?! Then I saw the people that were chosen and I was happy for them, but very disappointed, because it made me wonder if you have to be "established" in order to be considered. Because you know many, many un-establshed and unemployed writers applied. Not one was chosen. I had hopes that this might be the "American Idol" for writers but I was sadly mistaken. Maybe they'll give us "nobodies" a chance next time around *sigh*

mooncusser99
mooncusser99

@JoyfullyDazed @RebeccaSutton , you do not need a train ride to write your book.  It takes determination and perseverance with some talent.  Don't let the lack of a train ride deter your ambitions.  That would be foolish.

BrianHosmer
BrianHosmer

I have an idea for an Amtrak Residency program.  Will the project continue?

Amtrak
Amtrak

Sorry to all for any confusion. With our blog relaunch we removed dates from our blog posts, which may have caused confusion about the Amtrak Residency program. We are working to solidify what the 2015-2016 application process will look like and hope to have an update in the coming month. We encourage you to tune in to our social media channels for an announcement about the program. Sorry again for any confusion and thank you all for your enthusiasm!


Julia Quinn

Director, Public Relations at Amtrak


demospoet
demospoet

@Amtrak I'd like to apply for the writers-in-residence program, but your "go to the official entry form" page has no entry form I can see, just info about the current group of writers.

Dan Soto
Dan Soto

@Amtrak  Julia,


You might want to add this disclaimer at the top or bottom of this article rather than burying it in the comments section.  That's assuming that effective communication is your intention.

JasonHoward1
JasonHoward1

Oserge, it seems like there where only two comments which implied Amtrak shouldn't be going after established writers who already make a living from their craft. Seems like "all you folk" is a very misleading statement. Also, can you point me to the location of the exact quote you are attributing? I cannot seem to find it in the handful of comments below.

In an article about writers, I would have hoped for a bit more reading comprehension and much less vitriol for differing opinions.

o_serge
o_serge

All you folk talking about "the winners are all rich and famous..." Rabble rabble rabble: have you checked them out? Some of the residency winners don't seem so rich and famous to me. I think this Amtrak writing project is great and look forward to enjoying its fruits. Hope they keep offering it, if not every year then every four years like FIFA World Cup.

HeidiKortman
HeidiKortman

Amtrak, please update the site page with information about the residency program for 2016. If there is not to be one, tell us that. Thank you.

AlicynHenning
AlicynHenning

This is clearly a dated site - they should put a date on these things. The entry form no longer exists at the URL they link to, and no mention of how to apply is made. It's a great idea, but appears to be something of a circle jerk since the people chosen are all already established writers, with some rather big accomplishments listed in their bios. This would be a really awesome thing if it was grabbing virtual unknowns who wouldn't be able to make a long distance trip on their own funding, but instead it looks more like a way for people already established and earning from their writing to get free stuff. Meh.

JoyfullyDazed
JoyfullyDazed

@AlicynHenning I see where you're coming from but I'm hopeful that this won't always be the case. I'll apply whenever new applications are available and hope that myself, and/or other newbies are chosen. This would be an amazing experience in every way :) 

JasonHoward1
JasonHoward1

Clicked the link and read about the selections. Doing so motivated me to write a value proposition for the program, as follows: If you can afford the train ride without batting an eye, and would love to keep down a poor artist searching for their muse, please apply today!

baseballworldbjt
baseballworldbjt

How do I apply?  I am a published author, newspaper columnist and columnist with an web based sports network.

PeteMolick
PeteMolick

Please create a complimentary program offered to photographer's!  The current #PassportExpress journey has me filled with envy!

jmermels
jmermels

I saw your list of this year's 24, but I did not see any application or directions on how to apply.

TonyVincent1
TonyVincent1

How do I access the official entry form?

Jenni Young
Jenni Young

Is this program still running? How do I apply? Thanks!