Amtrak Offering Free Residency Program For Writers

Amtrak is hoping to bring the glory of the written word back on board their trains by offering a writer's residency program.

Up to 24 writers will be chosen to ride for free for two to five days, with a sleeper car and desk to call their own, as the train rolls across the country and the words spill out onto the page.

It’s a novel approach to bringing train travel back into vogue, but laptops, tablets and smartphones lack the romantic qualities generally associated with writing on a train, and the writers who attend this program will probably spend more time worrying about WiFi and phone signals and less time taking in the surroundings and simply letting the ride inspire them.

-Via Gothamist

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Watch the fine print on this one. The RoadRemedies blog reported that Amtrak retains all rights to anything you submit: "The catch: the train company owns application materials – forever and anywhere. I'm referring, of course, to item six under Official Terms. '6. Grant of Rights: In submitting an Application, Applicant hereby grants Sponsor the absolute, worldwide, and irrevocable right to use, modify, publish, publicly display, distribute, and copy Applicant’s Application, in whole or in part, for any purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and marketing, and to sublicense such rights to any third parties.'"
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While some writers-in-residence may try to live-blog their trip, most will probably treat the experience like the fabled 'friend's beach house' writers retreat. I imagine that the background sounds of rail travel will offer the same threshold of non-distracting stimulation that coffeehouse sounds do.
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