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.

Dream of spending time at a writing residency? Here are 26 quiet colonies that want writers.

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 was updated in May 2018 so it’s more useful and relevant for our readers! 

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158 comments

  • Shawn Means says:

    The New River Gorge Winter Writer’s Residency is now accepting applications for 2017. This three month residency is in its third year and we are looking for the perfect candidate to help us carry on the tradition of excellence that has been created by past residents Eric Shonkwiler and Mary Ann Henry! Learn more at

  • Theresa Corigliano says:

    When I googled the list, it said in the description it would include residencies that allow dogs, but I don’t see any listed. I’m open to suggestions for any place that is funded, allows pets, private rooms. (I know about Spartanburg and Bend)

  • Hi, I am stumbling upon this article just now (2016) and find it very helpful.

    I have a practical question regarding application: most of the applications request letters of recommendation and/or references. Let’s say you are applying for 2-3 residencies per year (trying to increase your changes), how do you approach your professional references without overburdening them? That’s a lot to ask each one for a full letter or even to speak on your behalf? I have a rotating list of people (maybe 4-6 different people) but again, how do others handle this aspect of application or do you have suggestions?

    Lastly, if anyone here has served as a judge would you be willing to provide some words of wisdom on how to strengthen an application or increase our odds? Does it help to have a few lesser known residencies under your belt before applying for Hedgebrook or other more competitive. OK thank you!
    Jennifer Karchmer
    Journalist
    Book Editor
    Creative Writer
    Bellingham, WA

  • Great list — just discovered. Thanks to all!

  • Kirby Wright says:

    This is not such a great list because you have to pay $$$ to apply. I have toured the world on Writer Residencies and actually get paid to fly to Europe and Asia to write, being responsible for only a few lectures/workshops.

  • Kirby Wright says:

    I was ed directly by Universities and Writer’s Conferences, so there was no application involved. Somehow they found me on the internet and paid my round trips a fee to lecture. They didn’t pay my wife’s fare however but the $$$ was good so that didn’t matter. Check this out: $2000 to judge an overseas poetry contest. Oh! I am associated with a FREE overseas travel writing contest and I am the Final Judge, one where you can win EUROS. Want the link?

  • Cary Preston says:

    People please. Unless they are promising to connect you with an agent,producer, etc to publish your work, what is the benefit other than maybe meeting other writers? If you want some alone time check out one of the many house sitting sites- they are free. All of these just sound like vacations for rich people.

  • Kirby Wright says:

    I’ve found that if you go overseas with a purpose, with a flexible agenda but a backbone of structure, you will have the space you need to shake off the worries you packed from the US and settle into a creative mindset. In 2 freewheeling weeks in Finland and Stockholm I cranked out a chapbook, an outline for a play, and took photographs that are now being published online. Do get away. I always avoid group houses filled with artists because I need peace and quiet for my creative spirit.

  • Kirby Wright says:

    PS. Ask me about my FREE TO ENTER Contest!

  • Judith Haran says:

    Martha’s Vineyard one is no longer functioning. Plus the fee went up to $800/week, before they announced that they were closing. Please update the listing. Thanks.

    • Kirby Wright says:

      Good to know, thanks. Please Everyone, try and avoid paying fees at all. If it’s something like $100/month to help pay for electricity/gas that’s one thing, but don’t be forking over all your hard earned money for a small room in a group home, one where the fridge is divided into sections and you battle for stove time while fellow residents swipe your groceries when you’re busy creating art.

  • Ken Johnson says:

    Would anyone be interested in joining a short residency, 1 or 2 weeks, in rural Scotland? I could organise it and probably arrange visits by local writers.

    • Deborah Burghardt says:

      I find your idea curious. Please say more. I am an emerging writer, however – 68 years young, five years at this encore career.

      Thanks,
      Deborah McLeod Burghardt

      • Ken Johnson says:

        I was thinking of something in the nature of a summer school, perhaps at a small hotel in the Highlands, for 12 or so people. I can probably get a couple of local writers to talk, and the writers’ group in Edinburgh that I belong to has an excellent writing coach whom I might persuade to come along. So there would be time spent writing or going out into the wilds, and maybe one lecture a day on a topic of interest and another from a person of interest.

        I’m afraid all this has to be paid for unless you know a source of funds. My first guess is around £600 for seven days.

        • Judith Haran says:

          You might wish to consider having this discussion with a few Scottish foundations. Many foundations might consider funding this kind of thing, or assisting with the funding. I know in the US there are a few I can think of offhand, but I don’t know about the UK or Scotland.

  • Oh man, this is such a great list! I am Going to apply now.
    Did they charge anything for applying?

    • Judith Haran says:

      Most of these fall into one of two groups: either they offer a chance of admission significantly less than 1%, or else the application deadline has passed. And a number of them are more for-profit entities than true residencies. So, keep your shirt on! I tend to agree with the person who wrote that most of us would be just as well served by renting a small cottage somewhere for a week.

      • Or you could come to Stiwdio Maelor in north Wales which offers writers and artists their own studio and attached bedroom, shared bathroom, kitchen, dining in a building that has been set up for residencies. There is a small fee to cover costs, but the fee is cheaper then a bed in a dorm in a hostel, so way cheaper then hiring a cottage. Stiwdio Maelor aim is to provide an inspirational place to work. It hasn’t been set up as a money making thing. Visit stiwdiomaelor.wordpress.com or email [email protected] for details.

        • Earl Livings says:

          I’ve had three residencies at Stiwdio Maelor and each one has been fantastic. I’ve been inspired and productive and have made many friends in the welcoming and helpful village of Corris. I highly recommend Stiwdio Maelor for anyone looking for a quiet and supportive atmosphere.

      • Ken Johnson says:

        Would anyone be interested in a small retreat (12 people) in autumn in rural Scotland somewhere? Contact me if you want me to organise something. The event will charge fees sufficient to cover its own cost.

  • Michelle says:

    Wow, the good ones seem to already be closed.

  • Vijay says:

    Hi, Are there any basic paid writing opportunities like articles, reviews etc. that are international? I am from India.

  • M. E. Picray says:

    What is it about crossing large bodies of water that causes people to talk funny?

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  • Michael Picray says:

    Why does it seem that everyone wants to go where they are distracted by unfamiliar surroundings? I’d think that the most productive setting would be where you are familiar with your surroundings – but you are also insulated by them? ie the “usual distractions” of daily living are not there. “Did you feed the dog?” “Are the kids home from school yet?” Is it time to fix dinner? Whose turn is it to do the dishes? etc.

    I’ve met writers who are perfectly happy doing their writing after everyone else is in bed. It’s still, it’s quiet, the phone isn’t ringing, the TV is off. Oops… if you live in the city, maybe you need the “white noise”?

    If you’re a writer, you can write whatever, where ever, under almost any circumstances. I don’t know about y’all, but once I get the story rolling, the world goes away and I’m trans-located from my chair to the story. I hear my characters plotting and planning, fixing that bloody Mary with the Mickey in it, the spoon and ice tinkling on the side of the glass, the intended victim of the knockout drops quietly walking in and saying, “Is that for me? Or you?”

    If you’re writer, you don’t need to hare off to some exotic location… you can do it in your head. I’ve circumnavigated the globe twice , but I’ve created more exotic locations in my head than I saw in foreign lands.

    But then… relatively free vacations are nice… ;-D

    • Judith Haran says:

      I’ve never been to one of these residencies. I have no idea how productive I might be at one. But you are right, there is an element in this of escape. The biggest attraction for me is the idea of being in a place where I can talk over dinner with other writers. Other serious writers, that is. I’ve not been able to find any such people near where I live (yet). If I get into the one I’ve applied for, I’ll write up a post about it .

      • I have always found residencies very productive and it always helps to get away from all of lives distractions. I set up Stiwdio Maelor so others could get the same experience I have had. And to help I run an annual competition where writers (and artists) can win a residency. Visit for an entry form.

      • Judith,
        We know exactly what you mean – some of the best parts of the Writers Retreats are the connections with other like-minded people that turn into inspiring life-long relationships.

        We just finished our April Greek Island Writers Retreat with 10 wonderful writers, with 2 hour Workshops each day and group social Happy Hours and lively, literary-discussion dinners. All the writers connected and bonded with lively conversation and deep discussions that forged close friendships.

        We’re looking forward to once again repeating this with a wonderful group in June. Here’s hoping you find your perfect Creative Writing Retreat in a Captivating Locale and that it’s filled with terrific peers. Genius germinates well in groups!

  • Judith Haran says:

    Regarding #9 in the list, Norton Island residency, I would greatly appreciate knowing WHEN the people who run this one make their decisions. Applications closed 2 mos ago, no word from anyone, no response (so far) to emails asking for only the decision date. Does anyone have a clue?

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