Call for Applications for the Associates of the Boston Public Library’s Writer-in-Residence Program

The residency has enabled several talented children’s authors to launch their literary careers.

The Associates of the Boston Public Library is currently accepting applicants from emerging authors for the 2019—2020 Writer-in-Residence fellowship program. Projects eligible for this program include fiction, non-fiction, scripts, or poetry works, intended for children or young adult audiences. The program guidelines and application are available online at Submissions are due by June 10, 2019.

The Associates’ Writer-in-Residence fellowship, created in 2004, provides an emerging author with the financial support, dedicated space and quality time needed to complete one literary work within a nine-month period. One of the most financially generous programs of its kind in the United States, the winning writer will receive a $20,000 stipend and the use of a private office in the Boston Public Library’s Central Library. In addition, they will have a forum to promote their finished work and opportunities to establish connections with writers, publishers, and the community through participation in Library events. The winner is selected by members of the local literary community — including authors, editors, literary agents, booksellers, and librarians — via a blind judging process. The program is funded through the generosity of an anonymous donor.

Last year’s winning Writer-in-Residence, Jorge Vega, said the program gave him the “opportunity, space and financial backing to tell a story that's very close to my heart… These are voices and characters that are rarely seen outside of books about oppression or racial strife and I’m so very thankful to the Associates of the Boston Public Library for giving me the chance to share them with readers.”

The residency has enabled several talented children’s authors to launch their literary careers. Going into the program’s sixteenth year, program alumni have published, or have forthcoming, forty books. Recent titles include:

  • Let’s Go Swimming on Doomsday by Natalie C. Anderson (WIR 2014–2015)
  • Sincerely Harriet by Sarah Winifred Seale (WIR 2011–2012)
  • Secondhand Wishes by Anna Staniszewski (WIR 2006–2007)

The Associates of the Boston Public Library is an independent nonprofit dedicated to preserving the Boston Public Library’s Special Collections of rare books, manuscripts, prints, photographs, musical scores and other items of literary, historic, and cultural importance. The Associates makes grants to ensure continued public access to these irreplaceable treasures by underwriting their conservation, cataloging, digitization, and exhibition. Through these efforts, the Associates aims to help the Boston Public Library fulfill its most essential mission of providing top quality, free educational resources to the public, as well as preserving knowledge, culture, and history for the benefit of all.

Since its founding in 1972, the Associates has been the creator and underwriter of a wide array of programs, including: Literary Lights (an annual black tie dinner honoring outstanding New England authors); the Pierce Performance Series (public programming highlighting the BPL’s Special Collections); the Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Award competition; art and architecture tours; readings; lectures; curatorial evenings designed to enhance public awareness of the Library’s holdings; exhibitions; musical performances; and discussions of current events featuring key decision makers.