Start the Year Writing: These 12 Residencies Provide Plenty of Space and Inspiration

writer residencies 2019

We’ve been down this road before.

If you kept up (and applied to these incredible programs), you might already know about Artcroft in Kentucky or the 50-plus residency programs offered by the National Park Service. Or maybe retreating to the home region of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay in upstate New York or a cottage in Stockholm are more your speed.

We’ve uncovered a new set of a programs that might inspire you to finally push that book — or other written masterpiece — out of your head.

Let’s see where this takes us.

1. Surround yourself with artists in NH.

The MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire offers a new model of support for journalists dedicated to “telling complex stories that have the power to change our lives and make our society better.” The colony’s overall mission is to nurture the arts, offering creative people with an inspiring environment to produce enduring and imaginative works. With the Art of Journalism Initiative, the colony is investing $2 million in fellowships for journalists and long-form non-fiction authors and providing journalism project grants, while helping to link a new network of publishers, non-profit newsrooms, and other key players in the journalism community to MacDowell’s artist community.

macdowellcolony on ig

Credit: @macdowellcolony on Instagram

2. Maybe writing at sea floats your boat.

Offshore Residency is a nontraditional program that offers a week at sea, challenging perceptions about where ideas come from and inspire artists to develop concepts for a new body of work. In the months following their sail, Offshore provides residents with access to a number of established artists, gallerists and academics to support them in executing this new body of work, the program says. The program launched July 2016 off the coast of Maine.

offshoreresidency on ig

Credit: @offshoreresidency on Instagram.

3. Find snow inspiring? Visit the Arctic Circle.

This climate intense program is sailing into its 11th year. The Arctic Circle brings together “international artists of all disciplines, scientists, architects, and educators who collectively explore the high-Arctic Svalbard Archipelago and Arctic Ocean aboard a specially outfitted Barquentine sailing vessel.” The program provides a shared experience for participants to engage in issues relevant to our time and to develop professionally through fieldwork and research, interdisciplinary collaborations, exhibit opportunities, and public and classroom engagement.


Credit: Barbara Putnam, The Arctic Circle

4. Yes, please: A 15th century Italian castle.

Meet Civitella Ranieri. Civitella is a residency program for international writers, composers, and visual artists. Since 1995, Civitella has hosted more than 900 fellows and director’s guests in a 15th century castle in the Umbrian region of Italy. Civitella Ranieri fellowships are awarded through a careful nomination and jury process by a rotating group of distinguished artists, academics, and critics that ensures access to a diverse group of emerging and accomplished candidates from around the world.

civitellaranieri on ig

Credit: @civitellaranieri on Instagram.

5. For California writers only.

1888 Center offers the Yefe Nof Residency to California writers seeking two-week residencies in the mountains of Lake Arrowhead. Who qualifies: Fiction and non-fiction writers, composers, playwrights, poets, video and filmmakers, and visual artists.


Credit: @1888center on Instagram.

6. Seeking seclusion? Here’s a former fish factory in Iceland.

The Creative Centre is located in Stöðvarfjörður, a remote village in the East fjords of Iceland. It was established in 2011, when a group of people acquired the abandoned fish factory of the village. The group funded a non-profit cooperation that owns the building and manages the daily operations and business of the centre. The Residency is multi-disciplinary and open for most creative directions: visual art, new media, printmaking, sculpture, dance, performing arts, land art, textile art, music, literature, sustainable design, engineering and photography. The program comes with two dogs, Tumi and Skotta, who are at the centre most days and may follow team members.

fishfactorycreativecentreig7. Spend a month on a private estate in NY.

Blue Mountain Center was founded in 1982. It provides support for writers, artists, and activists, offering month-long residency sessions in the summer and early fall. These sessions are open to creative and non-fiction writers, activists, and artists of all disciplines, including composers, filmmakers, and visual artists. Applications are reviewed by accomplished authors and artists who are particularly interested in fine work that evinces social and ecological concern, and is aimed at a general audience.


Credit: Blue Mountain Center on Facebook.

8. Camp in a “treehouse” in Switzerland.

The Jan Michalski Foundation for Writing and Literature features a group of seven residential modules available to writers, translators, and other creative individuals for residencies of varying lengths. “Hanging from the openwork canopy surrounding the Foundation, these living spaces are called “treehouses” and offer ideal conditions to anyone looking to start, continue, or put the final touches on a writing or translating project,” the site says.

fondation jan michalskionfb

Credit: Fondation Jan Michalski on Facebook.

9. Or maybe a private studio in Japan speaks to you.

ResArtis is an association of more than 650 centers and organizations in 70+ countries. Each member is dedicated to offering artists, curators, and all manner of creative people the essential time and place away from the pressures and habits of every-day life, an experience framed within a unique geographic and cultural context. In Japan, Kyoto Art Center was conceived and established as a place for encountering various genres of art. Disciplines include visual art, sculpture, literature, music, and dance, to name a few.

kyotoartcenter10. Tuck yourself into the redwoods in Northern California.

Two weeks. That’s how much you have at the Wellstone Center in the Redwoods near Santa Cruz, Calif. The WCR Writing Fellowship involves living in the private and rustic “Library House,” a book-filled cabin on the edge of the forest with no electricity or running water. Bath room and shower are in the main house, which is just a short walk up a hill. The Wellstone Center was founded in 2012 by Sarah Ringler and Steve Kettmann.


Credit: The Wellstone Center in the Redwoods on Facebook.

11. Bask in the warmth of Key West.

The Studios of Key West offers a residency program for emerging and established artists and writers designed to encourage creative, intellectual and personal growth. The program grants nearly 35 artists each year the time and space to imagine new artistic work, engage in valuable dialogue and explore island connections, the site says.


Credit: The Studios of Key West on Facebook.

12. Or an isolated island in the Long Island Sound.

Meet Fishers Island, NY. The Lighthouse Works’ Fellowship is a residence program available to artists and writers. Fellowships are six weeks in length, occur year round, and provide fellows with housing, food, studio space, a $250 travel allowance and a $1,500 stipend.


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Christine Cube is a senior audience relations manager with PR Newswire and freelance writer. Check out her latest on Beyond Bylines or follow her at @cpcube.


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