Writers’ Residencies on a Train

After posting longing comments about writing on a train, author Alexander Chee sparked a ‘novel’ idea. He stated that;  “I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers,” in an interview with Pen America.

As the Tweet took on a life of it’s own, Amtrak listened and they are now offering (very limited) residencies for writers on their trains. In an interview with Wire Magazine Julia Quinn, social media director for Amtrak says, “the company is intent on turning this into a regular operation”.

Here are a few details from Quinn’s interview:

* We need to weigh [whether] it’s a good investment on our end” – because Amtrak can’t just start giving away free rides willy-nilly. It’s about building a “mutually beneficial relationship” with writers, according to Quinn, and ensuring that a long-term program is sustainable. For now though, the program looks to remain free, if limited.

*Amtrak,is open to authors with varied writing backgrounds – “the differences between a journalist, a published author, a blogger – those lines are continually blurred by the internet.”

You can read the entire article and ideas on how Amtrak plans to implement the program by following this link. You can also read author Jessica Gross’ article in the Paris Review of her ‘test run’ as Amtrak’s first ‘writer on a train”.

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