27 Amazing Writing Residencies You Should Apply for This Year

27 Amazing Writing Residencies You Should Apply for This Year

It’s a dream of many writers: to spend time at a quiet colony or residency where you can focus on your work. But too often the only writers’ colonies we hear about are and , prestigious residencies that only accept a tiny percentage of applicants.

The truth is, there are lots of other wonderful writers residencies to choose from, many of which are less competitive, so you’re more likely to get accepted.

Our founder, Alexis Grant, enjoyed three highly productive residencies at . She’s convinced that a big reason we don’t hear about the non-MacDowell-level residencies is because the writers who frequent these places aren’t always digitally savvy; rather than participating in online communities or blogging, they spend their time writing

Here are 27 high-quality writing residencies and retreats you may not know about yet. While some of these are quite selective, others are a little more open with their admission policies.

1.

From the philosophy and mission; to the facilities; to the administration; to the meals; all has been well thought out. When I add in the lovely locale and the interesting and supportive Oysterville community I don’t know how it can get any better. — , visual artist

This fairly new residency program, which was launched in 2014, is already making waves. It’s located in Southwestern Washington and offers month-long residencies to emerging and established artists of all types. Lodging, meals and work space are provided to six residents per month from March 1 through September 30. Expect a $30 application fee — and a $100 refundable deposit to confirm your residency if you’re admitted. (You’ll get it back as soon as you arrive!)

2.

I showed up to Millay a lotta bit nervous but curious about what doors in my work would open up there, out of my element. Thankfully, the staff and the land itself, which seems infused with some soft blessing by Edna herself, make it hard not to settle in and let the work take you. — , poet

This small artist’s colony occupies the former estate of Edna St. Vincent Millay in upstate New York, offering two-week and month-long residencies to six or seven artists between the months of April and November. Unlike many other residencies, they don’t emphasize social events or speakers, instead preferring for you to focus on producing your art. There are no costs, and food is included. You can also apply for a virtual residency or a “group residency” with your collaborating partners. Application deadlines are March 1 and October 1 each year; there’s a $37 application fee or $60 for the late deadlines (March 8 and October 8).

3.

At Ucross I learned that I am capable of focusing deeply for long periods of time. I love to write. I don’t think I would have said that before this trip. — , novelist

A favorite among writers with the likes of Annie Proulx in its list of alumni, this colony is located on a 20,000-acre working cattle ranch in Wyoming. It serves 85 artists per year, with up to ten people in residence at any one time. Lunches are delivered to your door, while dinners are eaten together in a group; towels, linens, and weekly housekeeping is provided. Residencies last two to six weeks and are free of charge. $40 application fee; March 1 and October 1 deadlines.

4.

The month’s end is a time I am not looking forward to because with the space itself being gorgeous and comfy, the food being good, the people being wonderful, and me being productive. I can see myself dreaming of this place once I leave. — , fiction writer

Sitting just eight miles away from UCross is Jentel, which hosts month-long residencies year-round. The program accepts both established and emerging artists, so long as you’re “focused and serious” about your intent to write and “have developed a personal vision or personal voice” in your work. Though food isn’t included, they do provide a $400 weekly stipend to help with the costs of your trip. Applicants must be over the age of 25. Deadlines are January and September 15; $23 application fee.

5.

There was something magical about being in such a supportive and beautiful environment, having a different place (studio) to go to every day with the deliberate purpose of writing, and being inspired by the serious work ethic of all the other artists. — , poet

This selective residency is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and accepts artists of all types. Residencies are offered year-round and last from two weeks to two months, with at one time. You’ll receive three meals per day and are asked to contribute what you can, up to their $150 per-day cost to host you. $40 application fee; deadlines are January, May and September 15. (TWL Founder Alexis Grant attended this residency, and it is a !)

6.

This place is truly amazing and inspiring. I spent my mornings, early afternoons, and evenings working on a new orchestra piece (still pending), and my late afternoons hiking around the ranch… The other artists were fascinating. — , composer

Wyoming ranches are popular places for writers residencies! This one offers three-week residencies, complete with lodging, meals, workspaces and natural beauty — though the applicant guidelines specify that residents must stay for the entire duration of the residency, arriving on the set arrival date and departing on the set departure date as planned. They provide communal lunches and dinners. Closed in December. $40 application fee; apply by September or March 1.

7.

For mothers who write, a room of one’s own is still important. But it wasn’t just sequestering myself… I was surprised at how many pages I produced. — , writer

Like wine and solitude? Then you’ll love this residency. Available at several different vineyards on the West Coast, this is different from other residencies in that there’s no community of artists. You’ll have a private cottage in which to write for up to one week, with nobody else around to distract you. No meals are offered, though your stay is free if you’re accepted. $30 application fee.

8.

The international character of [Omi] sharpens your perspective on what it means to be a writer outside the U.S.A. in the 21st century… As for the writing, my main reason for being here, it went sailing along, with only a few days when the anchor dragged. — , writer

Writers Omi welcomes published writers of all types for residencies of one week to two months. Located on 300 acres in upstate New York, they offer full room and board and frequently host dinner guests from the New York City publishing community. There is no application fee, and no fee to attend.

9.

How did I get here? Where am I? I feel like I don’t exist, and it’s nice. —

This 10-day residency is located off the coast of Maine and offers a rustic and outdoorsy experience each summer for a flat fee of $125. When we say “outdoorsy,” though, we mean it, so get ready: WiFi is limited, cabins lack running water, and the program reminds you to “Watch out for wildlife—most of it amazing, some of it icky, all of it harmless.” $35 application fee.

10.

There was time to sleep in, time to stay up late and work, time to nap, time to eat when it was necessary. It allowed me to get wrapped up in the novel completely… The process of engagement was so much more complete at KHN. — , fiction writer

Located in Nebraska City, Nebraska, the KHN Center offers approximately 70 residencies per year, for stays of two to eight weeks. If accepted, you’ll receive free housing and a $100 stipend per week to cover food. $35 application fee; March 1 and September 1 deadlines.

11.

It’s hard to describe joy. It was like I had come home, but the way home would be in heaven: yes, a community in the Adirondacks, but cleaner, fancier, peaceful and safe. More art and more cookies. — , novelist

Go off the grid in the heart of the Adirondacks. This artist’s community offers three different month-long sessions in the summer and early fall, including free room and board. Cell phones aren’t welcome at the center, though you’ll be able to use its phone booth and computer room with ethernet plug-ins (no WiFi here!). $25 application fee.

12.

The Mineral School saved me from myself. … The beauty and the stillness of this landscape was a gift. In it I could hear my own voice as I hadn’t in the chaos of life at home, and I could finally see the shape of my novel. — , fiction writer

With sweeping western Washington views of Mineral Lake and Mount Rainier, it would be hard not to produce great work at this residency, held in a renovated 1947 elementary school building. Open to writers of poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction, the program provides lodging, studio space and meals for $250 per week (or at a slightly discounted $425 for two weeks). Limited fellowships are available.

13.

This place really captures the essence of “sanctuary.” Coming off of a very demanding working mom schedule, it was a gift to have the time to hit the reset button and get to the creative work that I’ve been meaning to devote more attention to. — , visual artist and poet

Another favorite is the largest international artists’ and writers’ residency program in the United States, hosting 50 visual artists and writers each month in the heart of Northern Vermont.

While writers give it high marks, it’s not cheap; for the complete program, you’ll pay $2,050 for two weeks or $3,950 for four weeks. Some fellowships, grants and work-exchange programs are available to help reduce your cost. $25 application fee; deadlines are February 15, June 15 and October 1.

writing residencies

14.

My room looked out over a rolling lawn and at night I could hear deer crossing through the streams in the surrounding woods. It was beautiful. Everything I imagined and I was lucky enough to be in residence with a great group of people who were also amazing cooks. — Nichelle Tramble, novelist

Located on a knoll on Long Island, “The Barn” is easy to get to, yet still secluded. It’s open from mid-May to mid-October and accepts artists for four- or six-week residencies. The Albee Foundation can accommodate up to five people at a time and does not provide food. But there’s no cost to apply and no fees if accepted.

15.

The staff is amazing. I feel incredibly well-cared for and very fortunate to have had this opportunity to work in such a calm and peaceful environment. — , fiction writer

If you’re looking for a short residency on the East Coast, look no further. Wildacres offers one- and two-week residencies from April through October. You’ll stay in one of three cabins on their property in the mountains of North Carolina. Meals are served in the main lodge, where you’ll interact with non-artists. There is a $20 application fee but no cost if accepted.

16.

It was a game changer. I learned a great deal about me and my life as a teacher-writer. It is no small thing to come face to face with one’s work with no distractions. And while it is not something I could do on constant basis… it is something I plan to incorporate into my writing year from now on. — , creative writer and teacher

Open year-round, this colony in Arkansas hosts dozens of writers each year for residencies ranging from one week to three months. If accepted, you’ll receive either a subsidized general residency or a fully-funded fellowship. Actual costs of the residencies are about $125 per night, but non-fellowship residents contribute a flat $75 per night as well as a one-time $25 cleaning fee. There’s also an application fee of $35.

17.

The publisher of an independent press had helped screen residency applicants, and before I could even travel to Red wing to begin my month-long stay there, she reached out by email to compliment me on my writing sample and inquire about my novel-in-progress. … She agreed to recommend me to a handful of agents, one of whom took me on as a client a week later. — , fiction writer

Based in the scenic river city of Red Wing, Minnesota, the Anderson Center offers two- and four-week residencies for writers and translators from May through October — that is, the most beautiful months of the year up there. Residents are provided lodging, studio space, and weeknight dinners, but prepare their own breakfasts, lunches, and weekend eats. Both emerging and established artists are encouraged to apply, and there’s no application fee.

18.

A well-established fellowship program that’s been offering residencies since the 1960s, the Fine Arts Work Center residency is pretty darn selective — but a great gig if you can land it. Each year, 20 artists are offered a seven-month stay in its Provincetown, Massachusetts facilities, including lodging, studio space, and a $750 monthly stipend. Writing fellowship applications are due December 1 annually, and have a hefty $50 fee which can’t be waived for any reason. But boy, if you make it in…

19.

I had no book when I was accepted to Hedgebrook in 1995. I’d published poems in a few journals but that was all… Fast forward 18 years. The stay at Hedgebrook changed my life in several important ways. — , poet

While this residency is pretty well-known, we wanted to include it on this list because it’s only for women, and only for writers. Featuring six handcrafted cottages located on Whidbey Island, outside of Seattle, 40 women attend each year to immerse themselves in free residencies of two to six weeks in length, running from February through October. $30 application fee.

20.

You know that saying, “I can hear myself think?” At this writer’s colony, I can. I can hear the words and phrases bouncing around in my head, begging me to put them down on paper… I can get to the heart of what I’m here to do: Create. — The Write Life founder

Located on 600 acres in the mountains of north Georgia, Hambidge Center residencies last from two to eight weeks. For food and lodging, you’ll pay $250 per week — a fraction of the total $1500 cost to the program. Limited scholarships are available primarily for first-time residents, which waive the fees and provide a $700 weekly stipend. $30 application fee; deadlines are January, April, and September 15.

21.

This residency allows writers to spend three months typing away in the Orlando cottage where literary legend Jack Kerouac wrote his acclaimed Dharma Bums. The Kerouac Project offers four residencies a year, and residents are expected to spend their time on their project, participate in a Welcome Potluck Dinner at the start of their residency, and read from their work at the end. (Other events and workshops are available if a resident is interested.) Participants also receive a $1000 food stipend. $30 application fee.

22.

There’s little more inspiring than jazz, strong cocktails and beignets. If you want to do some hard work in the Big Easy, consider applying for the New Orleans Writers’ Residency. If accepted, you’ll spend four weeks in a historic house with up to five other writers, including one or two same-sex roommates. Better yet, the program offers continental breakfasts as well as a $200 weekly stipend for food and living expenses, and up to $500 for airfare. $25 application fee.

International Residencies

23. (Iceland)

As much as I love New York, I wanted to spend a month in a setting that couldn’t be more different — I wanted sublime natural beauty, peace and quiet, relaxation and simplicity — a reset button for myself. Gullkistan was an ideal answer. – , writer

Located in Iceland’s Laugarvatn Valley, this quiet getaway has mountains, woods, creeks, and a peaceful setting. They welcome all sorts of artists and writers and have space for eight people at a time. The minimum stay is one month, but they may be able to work out a shorter stay for people who are interested. Fees vary based on accommodation preference, starting at 850 Euros. No application fee.

24. (France)

Inspiration came from my magnificent view of the Mediterranean sea, that ever-changing body of water — silvered over with sunlight in the morning, Aegean blue in the afternoon, black as ink on nights without a moon — and from the space, silence, and freedom of self-direction the fellowship affords. — , fiction writer

Imagine waking up each morning on the southern coast of France, with nothing on your to-do list but write, write, write. If you land one of these six- to eleven-week residencies in Cassis, it could be a reality — along with transportation, lodging, and a $250 weekly stipend.

25. (Finland)

Located in the Finnish countryside, these one- to two-month themed residencies are held at various intervals year-round and house 12-14 artists per month. Food is not provided, but participants enjoy a traditional Finnish wood-burning sauna and have access to a car and bicycle. The program also includes one or two “silent days” per week — less talking, more writing! Financial support is available, which reduces the cost to 970 Euros per month for one person in a single room with studio space; the full cost is 1,940 Euros per month. There’s no application fee, but you must be 23 years old to apply.

26. (France)

This French art foundation hosts several different residency programs each year, open to interdisciplinary artists both emerging and established. Attendees are housed in private rooms in the recently renovated Villa Marguerite, each with a sea or garden view and a private bathroom. Breakfast and dinner are provided on weekdays. $30 application fee.

27. (China)

Live and work in Beijing, China with this program which provides four-week residencies year-round, which can be stacked for up to six months total. Red Gate will help you get involved in the local art scene and cover your airport pickup, local phone line and a welcome dinner. However, participants are expected to pay their own living expenses during the program or seek funding and grants from artist organizations in their home country. No application fee.

This post originally ran in October 2015. We updated it in April 2018.

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155 comments

  • Sarah Allen says:

    Oh man, this is such a great list! For some reason applying for residencies has felt intimidating, but this is a great place to start. Thank you!

  • Kathy Westra says:

    Terrific, inspiring article, Lexi! It’s a permission slip to dream on a gray, muggy DC day.

  • Jessica Jacob says:

    I had honestly never considered a residency before and now I’m wondering if it’s something I should be taking a look into.

  • What a great list! And so timely. I’m attending the Martha’s Vineyard Residency in October and am so excited about the fabulous opportunity.

  • Marcia Gaye says:

    I’ve stayed at The Writers Colony in Dairy Hollow for the past few Octobers. It is lovely. Private room and bath in two communal buildings. Wooded setting across from a park. Meals provided M-F with fabulous dinners served family style. There’s even a piano in the main room, where poets gather on some nights for a potluck. Occasional speakers too, but residents are not required to hobnob unless they want to.You can be as isolated or as involved as you wish.

    That also goes for sightseeing. Eureka Springs is fascinating and beautiful and very quirky. A trolley stops at the colony and runs through the town for your pleasure. An artsy community of around 2000 people, it swells with visitors at some times, so plan accordingly. And as a bonus, there is a new Village Writing School nearby if you wish to take advantage of that.

    WCDH is relaxed, and seemingly remote, yet offers much more if you’re up for it.

  • Hila Ratzabi says:

    There’s a typo in the section on Willapa Bay AiR — it’s southwestern Washington not southeastern. And I’m here now, and it’s SPECTACULAR! Highly recommend!

  • June says:

    Actually, some of these are extremely selective. Did you look at actual acceptance percentages? I think researching the numbers would’ve improved the article. I appreciate the spirit of sharing, but presenting it this way is a disservice both to people with these residences already on their CVs and to people who think they will have an easy time getting into hedgebrook, hambidge, Millay, or any of the arts omi programs.

    • Alexis Grant says:

      Hi June — You make a good point. My idea here was to show residencies that are less competitive than Yaddo and MacDowell, because those are the ones we tend to hear about the most. But you’re right, many of these are selective, too. I didn’t mean to imply they’re *easy* to get into, just easier than the top two.

      If you have any you’d add to the list, I’d love to hear them! Some of the comments here are really insightful.

      Alexis Grant
      TWL Managing Editor

      • trudy hale says:

        Hi Alexis,
        How are you?
        I love reading everything ya’ll stir up on the Write Life for writers.

        Would you add Porches to resources for writers and recommended retreats?

        Thanks!

        Trudy

  • savia viegas says:

    Great residencies. Looking forward to being in one.

  • Hello! I was just sent this information from a close friend– an acclaimed prize-winning novelist in Alberta (on faculty at the world-renowned Banff Centre – where I recently did an assessment of the program for the Dept of Heritage of The Government of Canada). This list is excellent- and I thought your community would be interested in a modest but very successful retreat I founded and direct set in Spain. Lorca’s Granada: writers’ retreat, colloquia, workshop. This is a paid venue – but there is no application fee- and it is first-come first-served as long as writers qualify. Currently, it is for established writers. Next year we will have sessions for early and emerging writers, too. You will find info on my website. You will see that – it’s been totally inspired by the legacy of Federico Garcia Lorca and Granada – and this residency/retreat has been honoured with the friendship of the Lorca Familt and the Fundacion Federico Garcia Lorca (Madrid-Granada). My website has a link to a long article written by esteemed Canadian writer, published in WRITE – the magazine of The Writers’ Union of Canada. One thing- unlike the quiet tranquil retreat — this is unique in that it is in the heart of the city – where Lorca lived, wrote and ultimatelt was taken to be executed outside the city; the music of Spanish, the sounds of flamenco are part of the package to inspire artists. As Canada’s only and one of the English language’s leading journalists on Spain (I’ve been awarded by The Government of Spain) I hope to offer a full, rich immersion into the culture of the place Lorca called home.
    Your community is welcome to me about next May’s session.

  • Samantha says:

    I would love to do a residency but I feel like they are more for established authors. I’m still working on my manuscript, and I don’t have anything published. Could I really do something like this?

    • Alexis Grant says:

      Hi Samantha — It’s true many residencies are for established authors, and the admissions committee wants to see published work. But some residencies *do* have programs or slots for emerging writers (for example, see the comment above yours!). Those would be smart ones to target!

      • Hi Alexis– As my program is really quite new I have to develop it slowly – and I did want to offer this first for writers who are well on in development and who could be inspired– re-inspired by what this place and discussions on Lorca could give. Also, having presented workshops for three decades- often in university creative writing programs – I know much of the value comes from peers conversing with peers, not so much the director or facilitator. So, there could not be an equal give and take without a unanimity of peers. However, not that we will not present sessions for early writers etc. That will come – perhaps even next year – You can check my website during the winter – or simply me at [email protected] for any update about that.

      • M. E. Picray says:

        Ms Grant, Although I have publications both paid and unpaid, fiction and fact including an elementary science bk and including my novella “Hamster Dan” on Amazon, I would feel guilty taking one of these opportunities. Por Qua? Because I own and live on a “farm” (112 acres – 90 dense woodlands, wildlife, etc) that sounds like some of what you describe. IN fact, one of your sites is within a stone’s throw of my place! ;-D

        BUT… the gathering with other writers would maybe fill the huge gaps in my knowledge of the craft. So far I’ve just been schmucking along, doing my best and trying to learn as I go. So… can you suggest a book or five that will help me put it together? I’d be grateful! I might even send you some of my poetry!

      • M. E. Picray says:

        Ms Grant, Although I have publications both paid and unpaid, fiction and fact including an elementary science bk and including my novella “Hamster Dan” on Amazon, I would feel guilty taking one of these opportunities. Por Qua? Because I own and live on a “farm” (112 acres – 90 dense woodlands, wildlife, etc) that sounds like some of what you describe. IN fact, one of your sites is within a stone’s throw of my place! ;-D

        BUT… the gathering with other writers would maybe fill the huge gaps in my knowledge of the craft. So far I’ve just been schmucking along, doing my best and trying to learn as I go. So… can you suggest a book or five that will help me put it together? I’d be grateful! I might even send you some of my poetry!

        ps… sorry. I keep forgetting that SFF.NET is no more and that was my main email address…

    • Veronica says:

      Hi Samantha
      have a look at stiwdiomaelor.wordpress.com for a new residency program that is open to writers at all stages. There are plenty of vacancies at the moment as its only a new program.
      Veronica

  • June says:

    My point when I asked if you checked the numbers was that a post like this shouldn’t be written just based on assumptions or conventional wisdom. For example, Hedgebrook, at 3% (50 accepted of “more than 1500” in 2014), is MORE selective than both Yaddo and MacDowell. Perhaps it is assumed to be less selective because it’s only for women, it’s small and isolated, etc.

    • Sally P. says:

      Actually the Hedgebrook number for 2014 was 40 selected out of I think they said it was 1,600-something… and Hedgebrook has shortened the application window this year. But my point: It is STILL worth trying. I applied for 2014, not realizing the odds. I never in a million trillion years thought I would be accepted, but somehow, I was. Hedgebrook changed my life. I finished my novel there.

      So perhaps it’s a good thing this wonderful and informative article DOESN’T scare us away by reporting the odds! We should be reasonably realistic with ourselves, of course… but why not try? You just never know unless you try.

  • Tom says:

    Alexis,
    Thank you for posting this incredibly helpful and informative article. I’ve been researching writing retreats and your list is top notch. I’m currently writing my first book and am excited about applying to more than a few of these residencies.
    Tom

  • Rhein says:

    This is great list! I really want to join writer residency since last year to make my new fiction project. Thanks for your information 🙂

  • Lovely article, but I have to agree with June. I’ve been to MacDowell several times and applied to Hedgebrook several times, but have never gotten in. Regardless, this is great list to get people researching and interested in colonies. And Millay is wonderful! So glad it’s here!

    • Thanks for the feedback, Kara!

      Heather
      TWL Assistant Editor

      • Melissa says:

        Many of these residencies are extremely competitive including Ucross (which is mislabeled as “Cross”), Jentel and Millay. And as far as many of these being “lesser known”, they certainly aren’t to anyone I know – I just find so much of this article to be very misleading. Many very well established artists apply repeatedly for these residencies and never get accepted. This is the art world – rejection is a way of life. This, however, can never be a reason or excuse not to try – but it’s a little unfair to present these as sort of “outside the box” options.

        • Thanks for the feedback, Melissa. We’ll do our best to focus on smaller, lesser-known options in a future post.

          • I wanted to update my previous mention here about the retreat I direct: Lorca’s Granada: writers’ retreat, colloquia & workshops. At present there is only the retreat for published authors (one published book from a reputable press – large or small) a workshop is in the plans. As something unique and original, we have received the encouragement and friendship from the Lorca Family and the Fundacion Federico Garcia Lorca.
            There is no Competition: Registration is on a first-come, first-accepted basis (with CV, project description, letter of serious interest). There are two sessions this spring.

            I caution that this is not a quiet countryside retreat. It is in the heart of the city of Granada – where hearing the sounds of the city, the Spanish Andaluz language that writers will hear/try to speak – is part of the attraction.

            Fees are published in Canadian Funds – that might seem economically attractive to American writers.

            (where you will see a photo or two of our writers with Laura Garcia-Lorca, president of the Fundacion Federico Garcia Lorca, including one at Back Tomorrow the Lorca exhibition in NYC 2013

            Gerry Shikatani

  • Jonathan Warren says:

    Wonderful list!
    The Noepe on the Vineyard is a wonderful place!
    There’s another lovely retreat on Martha’s Vineyard called the “Renaissance House”. The Vineyard is a great place where to find that island feeling as well, and disconnect from “reality” for a while.

    Thank you for a great collection of retreats!

  • For those who have read this far, I highly recommend that you nominate http://ilblogdellorco.info. as one of the 10 Best Blogs for Writers in the http:// @writetodone.com’s 9th annual contest. The deadline is December 24. A direct link to the contest is at .

  • Veronica says:

    I am the manager of Stiwdio Maeloer – an artist in residence project in North Wales, UK. Stiwdio Maelor offers residencies of one – eight weeks for both visual artists and for writers. So far we have had one writer – David Lloyd of New York and this year we have three writers – Earl Livings (Australia), Paul Riede (New York) and Elizabeth Jane Corbett (Australia). We are happy to take writers at any stage in their career and at the moment we have plenty of vacancies as I believe not many writers are aware of this residency. So I encourage you all to go to the website have a look and email me. Look forward to hearing from you.

ry-diplomer.com/diplom-kandidata-nauk

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