13 Unique Writing Residencies to Apply for in 2020/2021

Writers in Residence: Unique Programs to Enhance Your Writing

Hello, 2020! As a new year begins and many writers look for ways to stick to their writing resolutions, some may benefit from getting away from it all and finding some peace and quiet to find inspiration.

A writing residency offers plenty of uninterrupted time for writers to work on and even complete their next work. It also provides opportunities for feedback from a supportive writing community made up of peers in the same boat.

Whether you’re more inspired at the beach, in the wooded wilderness, or right in the middle of town, hopefully you can find something on this list that suits your needs.

I’ve also included a few residencies that will have application deadlines in 2020 for their 2021 programs.

Lakeside Lodge in the Adirondacks

The Anne LaBastille Memorial Writers Residency offers a two-week residency in October. Six writers (poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction) are selected for this intimate experience that includes family-style meals, hiking, paddling, and plenty of time to unplug (there’s no cell reception). The writers also will get the chance to explore the cabin used by Anne LaBastille, who authored more than a dozen books about the region.

Applications: Open from April 16-May 27, 2020 ($30 fee)
Costs: Beside transportation to and from Twitchell Lake, there are no other residency costs.

583-Acre Ranch in Northern Calif.

The Djerassi Resident Artists Program offers four- and five-week residencies from mid-March through mid-November to emerging and mid-career artists. The ranch is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains and offers a variety of landscapes to inspire creatives, including redwood forests, coastal grasslands, and ocean views. Although the 2020 session is full, I still wanted to include this one in the list since applications for 2021 are due in the coming months.

Applications: Deadline is March 16, 2020, for residencies in 2021 ($45 fee)
Costs: The program provides transportation to and from San Francisco International Airport. All dinners are provided by a chef; ingredients for all other meals are provided.

The Kerouac House in Florida

The Jack Kerouac Writers In Residence Project provides four residencies a year, each lasting approximately three months. Residents will stay in the cottage where Jack Kerouac wrote his novel Dharma Bums — it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They are required to participate in a welcome potluck and a final reading of their project — the rest of the stay is dedicated to working on their writing.

Applications: Applications are due by March 15, 2020 ($35 fee)
Costs: Residents are responsible for travel to and from Orlando. The project covers lodging and utilities and provides the resident with a $1,000 grocery store gift card to pay for their food.

Prairie Retreat in Illinois

Ragdale offers 18- and 25-day residencies to creatives in a variety of fields, including writers, architects, and composers. The property is located in Lake Forest, Ill., north of Chicago. The historic home offers artists a private room, chef-prepared dinners, and access to the beach, walking paths, and more in the area. “Ragdale lets artists focus on what’s most important: creating new work.”

Applications: Deadline is May 15, 2020, for residencies in 2021 ($25 fee)
Costs: 18-day residency will cost $630 and a 25-day residency costs $875. Financial aid is available on a limited basis.

Arts District Studio Apartment in Kentucky

With residencies ranging from two weeks to three months, A.I.R. Studio Paducah includes a storefront gallery/multi-purpose space that can be used for exhibitions or presentations during the residency. Residents can choose to work in peace and quiet or engage with the local community. The apartment is within walking distance of the local museum, art center, and theater.

Applications: Deadline for the 2021 program is Feb. 15, 2020 ($25 fee)
Costs: Residency fee is $1,000 per month, or $700 for two weeks, including utilities. Length of stay is negotiable. The resident is responsible for transportation, food, and materials.

Barn Loft on a Historic Farm in Central Maryland

Writers can stay as long as four weeks at this amazing loft from The Good Contrivance Farm Writer’s Retreat. The retreat is directed by Ron Tanner, an award-winning author, and his wife, Jill Eicher. Views of the farm, a full kitchen, and small library all are included. Proceeds support the nonprofit’s mission to promote the preservation and restoration of historic family farms.

Applications: Apply for a reservation via the website. The loft is available on a first-come, first-served noncompetitive basis.
Costs: Prices vary depending on length of stay. Fees range from $95 per night to $570 for one week and $490 for a four-week session. Day-use options also are available.

Georgian Revival Mansion in Massachusetts

The Edith Wharton Writer-in-Residence Program offers two- and three-week residencies in March to women poets and writers (fiction or nonfiction). Residents will receive a $1,000 stipend while staying near The Mount, Edith Wharton’s former home in Lenox, Mass. They also are expected to make themselves available to media and participate in a public panel discussion with fellow residents during their stay.

Applications: Applications for 2021 will open in the fall of 2020 ($25 fee)
Costs: Residents are responsible for transportation to and from The Mount.

Historic Artistic Destination in Minnesota

More than 700 artists have participated in the residency at the Anderson Center since it opened in 1995. Residencies lasting two weeks to one month are available in May through October. Participants will receive a private room, board, and workspace at the historic Tower View Estate in Red Wing, Minn. The center also features a Deaf Artists Residency program in June.

Applications: Due by February 15, 2020 ($20 fee; no fee for Deaf Artists Residency applicants)
Costs: Transport to and from the Twin Cities airport is provided, as are dinners and groceries for residents.

Rustic Island Cabins in Maine

Located one mile offshore in Maine is the Norton Island Residency for Writers & Artists. The 150-acre island is mostly undisturbed, in its natural state. Residents will stay in small cabins (no Wi-Fi or running water) and have access to the main lodge, which includes a kitchen, library, and meeting room. Two sessions of nearly two weeks each are available in June and July. According to the site, nature and travel writers especially have found the residency beneficial in past years.

Applications: Due March 15, 2020 ($35 fee)
Costs: There is a residency fee of $125 per person. Travel to and from Maine also is the responsibility of the resident.

Rural Working Farm in Nebraska

Art Farm’s mission is to support artistic vision, which may be impractical, obscure, and independent of commercial recognition — where failing is no less welcomed than succeeding.” In exchange for 12 hours of work per week on the farm, residents receive a private room and workspace. Length of stay can range from one week to five months between June and November. Collaborators, partners, and children are welcome to attend.

Applications: Due by March 1, 2020 ($22 fee)
Costs: Residents will need enough money to cover daily living expenses and transportation.

San Juan Islands in Washington

Artsmith’s Artist Residency takes place at the Kangaroo House B&B on Orcas Island in Washington’s San Juan Islands. Weeklong residencies are available in January and include private lodging. A testimonial on the site reads, “I loved the residency… in the week that we had on Orcas, the silence and beauty inspired me to get much work done.”

Applications: The next application period will take place in Spring 2020 for 2021 residencies ($35 fee)
Costs: There is no cost for the actual residency. Residents are responsible for travel to and from the B&B, as well as lunches and dinners.

Women’s Writing Retreat in Wisconsin

Hosted by Judy Bridges, author of the writer’s guide Shut Up & Write! and founder of Redbird Studio writing center, this women-only writing retreat offers a full week of peace and quiet to work on your story or article. The program will take place at The Clearing, a folk school in Ellison Bay. Mornings are for quiet writing time and afternoons include helpful feedback sessions with other residents. The residency runs from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, 2020.

Applications: Registration will open in February 2020
Costs: A minimum $300 deposit is required when registering. More pricing info will be available with the 2020 catalog.

Stewardship in the Alaskan Wilderness

The Voices of the Wilderness artist residency is one-of-a-kind. “Instead of staying at a remote wilderness cabin, our participating artists are paired with a wilderness ranger and actively engaged in stewardship projects, such as research, monitoring, and education…The hoped-for result is artwork that communicates something of the meaning of these lands.” Residencies run from June to August and are available for several wilderness areas across Alaska.

Applications: Due March 1, 2020 (no fee)
Costs: Travel to and from Alaska is the writer’s responsibility, as is their personal gear. The hosting federal agency will provide transportation to and from the field, camping and field gear and, in many cases, food.

Need more ideas? Check out residencies we’ve featured in past lists (2019, 2017) to see if one meets your needs and is accepting applications!

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Rocky Parker works in Audience Relations at PR Newswire. Check out her previous posts for Beyond Bylines and connect on LinkedIn. When she’s not working, Rocky typically can be found cooking, binge watching a new show, or playing with her puppy, Hudson.

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