Inspiring long-distance train trips to spark creativity
WASHINGTON – Amtrak has selected 24 members of the literary community as the first group of writers to participate in the #AmtrakResidency program. Over the next year, they will work on the writing projects of their choice in the unique workspace of a long-distance train.
The 24 residents offer a diverse representation of the writing community and hail from across the country. They were selected based on their desire to work on their craft in an inspiring environment, and the originality, creativity and quality of their writing samples.
Starting in October, approximately two writers per month will travel round trip on preselected long-distance trains, with writers covering all 15 long-distance routes. A complete list of selected residents and bios can be found on the Amtrak blog.
“Inspired by our passengers, the Amtrak Residency program promotes the unique benefits of our long-distance service,” said Julia Quinn, Amtrak director of social media. “Whether you are working or relaxing, train travel provides an incredible, memorable and creativity-inspiring journey.”
The program received more than 16,000 applications, of which a group of semi-finalists were reviewed by a panel representing the literary community including published author Alexander Chee, Amtrak Vice President of Government Affairs & Corporate Communications Joe McHugh, Random House Editor Samuel Nicholson and Director of Literature for the National Endowment for the Arts Amy Stolls.
“I was impressed with Amtrak’s outreach to writers the first time I heard about the residency program and how it came about. As a judge, I was won over completely. The folks I worked with were open-minded, fair, passionate about the written word, and committed to rewarding artistic excellence and providing a unique space for writers of all kinds to create and be inspired,” said Stolls.
The #AmtrakResidency program was launched in March after overwhelming social media interest in Amtrak’s long-distance service as a creative inspiration following the residency testrun by Manhattan-based writer Jessica Gross, whose piece, Writing The Lake Shore Limited was published by the Paris Review.
Amtrak is America’s Railroad®, the nation’s intercity passenger rail service and its high-speed rail operator. Amtrak and its state and commuter partners move people, the economy and the nation forward. Formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak is governed by a nine member board of directors appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Anthony R. Coscia is board chairman and Jeffrey R. Moreland is vice chairman. In FY 2014, nearly 31 million passengers traveled on Amtrak on more than 300 daily trains – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Enjoy the journey® at Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information. Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter (@Amtrak) and check out our blog at blog.amtrak.com.