The Amtrak Residency program received more than 16,000 applications, of which a group of semi-finalists were reviewed by a panel of judges representing the literary community and Amtrak. Meet the Amtrak Residency judges who helped select the final 24 residents below:

Alexander CheeAlexander Chee is a fiction writer, poet, journalist and educator. He is the recipient of numerous literary awards including the 2003 Whiting Writers’ Award and a 2004 NEA Fellowship in Prose. He is the author of Edinburgh (Picador, 2002), and The Queen of the Night (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015). The Amtrak Residency program was inspired in part by his wishing for it, in this interview with PEN, and in May 2014, he was one of the inaugural fellows.





Joe McHughJoe McHugh has been Vice President – Government Affairs at Amtrak since May 2002. He is responsible for initiating, developing, and communicating Amtrak’s legislative strategy and funding needs to the United States Congress. McHugh is also responsible for the corporation’s interaction with the Congress, the Executive Branch, and various state governments.  McHugh is  responsible for  Amtrak’s corporate communications function which involves responding to the media, as well as customer and employee communications. He serves on Amtrak’s Executive Committee.




Sam NicholsonSamuel Nicholson is an Editor at Random House and The Modern Library. His recent titles include Boyd Varty’s Cathedral of the Wild and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s I am Zlatan, and forthcoming titles include H.G. Adler’s The Wall and Joshua Cohen’s Book of Numbers.




Amy StollsAmy Stolls is the Director of Literature at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) where she works with thousands of publishers, presenters, writers, and translators nationwide to keep literature a vital part of American society. She is the author of the novel The Ninth Wife (HarperCollins, 2011), and the young adult novel Palms to the Ground (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005).