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Amtrak announces its writers' residency participants

After a writer floated the idea of an authors' residency program on trains, Amtrak has invited 24 writers to ride the rails.

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    Amtrak has selected 24 members of the literary community as the first group of writers to participate in the Amtrak Residency program.
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Amtrak has announced the 24 writers that will be participating in the company’s writers’ residency program.

As we reported earlier this year, writer Alexander Chee brought up during an interview the idea of a residency for writers by Amtrak because he said one of his favorite places to work was on a train. Writers Jessica Gross and Zach Seward tweeted a link of the story to Amtrak’s account and the company wrote back, saying, “We’d need a test run. You two up for a trip to Chicago and back?” 

Now Amtrak has announced other participants.

“Over the next year, they will work on writing projects of their choice in the unique workspace of a long-distance train,” the Amtrak blog reads. “The 24 residents offer a diverse representation of the writing community and hail from across the country.”

Those who will be taking the journeys include Gothamist deputy editor Jen Carlson, SETT co-founder Tynan, author Ksenia Anske, author Karen Karbo, sports blogger Craig Calcaterra, and movie critic Lisa Schwarzbaum.

According to Amtrak’s site, they received more than 16,000 applications for the residencies. Chee, Amtrak vice president of government affairs Joe McHugh, Random House editor Samuel Nicholson, and National Endowment for the Arts director of literature Amy Stolls judged the entries.

The blog further detailed the company’s vision for the program.

“What started as a casual mention in an interview and a tweet from a freelancer writer back in December, has turned into a program that Amtrak is truly honored to be a part of,” the blog reads. “We are excited for the 24 residents to experience the beauty of long-distance train travel and hopefully find inspiration for their writing along the way.” 

Readers, if the program continued, would you apply to get some writing done on a trip across the country?

 
 
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