Norwich, UK

Being a Writer

The Amtrak Writers Residency Program

One of the most inspiring and creative residency for writers must be the Amtrak Residency. This American train service operates a round trip through 500 of the country’s most wonderful destinations, and their writer’s residency allows all types of writers to apply for a free inclusive place aboard it every two years. All they ask is that during your time aboard – you write!

What the Amtrak Residency Is All About

This unique residency offers groups from a wide range of writing disciplines to take part in a once in a lifetime opportunity, whereby they can devote the entire time to working on their writing projects whilst devouring the breadth of inspiration that surrounds them as they travel and stop at specific towns on the route.

With use of a private room, complete with a bed, desk and window to watch the world go by, writers also receive complementary meals whilst aboard!

The Selection Process of Amtrak’s Residency

Amtrak believe in selecting a diverse range of writers from all over America. By process of an application form, applicants will be judged on a writing sample and their informative responses to a series of questions. They are then picked by selected judges to join. The last residency accepted a total of 24 writers.

Applicants over the years have included poets, journalists, novelists, travel writers, PHD literature students, playwrights, motivational speakers, TV writers, editors and film makers!

A Residency to Learn From

Essentially, Amtrak have created a writer’s dream residency. The concept is not to find America’s next best writer, by any means. It is simply to allow a select few to experience the thrill of writing aboard a train!

Whilst it may not be a more successful commercial venture, after all the residency doesn’t require payment, one can only imagine the response if other countries were to take part in such a scheme. There would most definitely be a long line of people queuing up to submit their writing for such a residency, especially when you consider the success and overwhelming popularity of a scheme that has so far only run twice during 2014 and 2016!

Perhaps the next time you think about a writer’s retreat, why not look at the possibilities of creating your own train residency? After all, the UK, for a start, has some of the most beautiful and inspirational countryside landscapes ever seen. And then there is always the possibility of boarding the Eurostar and travelling further afield for pastures new.

Who knows, you may just be inspired to write the next best-seller – and no, we’re not talking Girl on The Train!