This week, Amtrak began selecting applicants for its newly launched Writers Residency. The national rail service will grant as many as 24 lucky writers with a passion for writing on trains a round-trip, long-distance journey.
Buzz about the program began circulating in December, when author Alexander Chee told PEN America magazine, “I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers.”
Not surprisingly, Twitter converted the statement into a hashtag, which was rapidly retweeted by authors worldwide.
After much encouragement (and an “organic form of advertising” that Amtrak couldn’t pay for if they tried) the novel concept became a full-fledged fellowship.
Want your chance to be one of the first, great, Amtrak-born travel writers?
Applications for the residency can be found here. And Amtrak isn’t derailing any artistic visions of grandeur. All writers will enjoy a private sleeper-car with a bed, fold-down table, and complimentary regional fare.
Of course, you’ll have to save the research for after your trip, as the long-distance routes are not equipped with Wi-Fi.
“[It’s] a unique opportunity to unplug,” one representative said. “The train offers a peaceful environment for reflection and inspiration…our long-distance trains are the perfect muse for artistic works big and small.”
Melanie Lieberman is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.