Written by A Guest Author September 15th, 2016

3 Free Writing Residencies

Written By Tilly Horton

“Every kind of creative work demands solitude, and being alone, constructively alone, is a prerequisite for every phase of the creative process.” ~ Barbara Powell

Stepping out of our daily grind from time to time can help to refresh perspective and reinvigorate creativity, and residencies can be a great way to do that.

However, the costs of many retreats are prohibitively expensive, so here is a list of places you can write for a few weeks or months without having to sell all your furniture to get there. All of the below you can apply to for free, and attend for free.

Omi International Arts Center – Writers Omi


Duration: 2 weeks to 2 months

When to apply: Applications due by October 20th for residencies beginning in March 2017 and decisions will be made by January 15th 2017

What to provide: Check the website for details, but you will need a cover letter, a brief outline of your literary work history, a writing sample and a description of the work you plan to do at the residence.

The application must include a reference letter from someone in the literary field who is familiar with your work.

Where:  Upstate New York, on 300 acres of land. Omi provides room and board and the site often welcomes dinner guests from the NYC publishing world.

The Edward F. Albee Foundation – “The Barn”


Where: Long Island, near Montauk

When to apply: January 1st through March 1st of each calendar year

Residency times: Mid-May through mid-October

Duration: Two options, four weeks or six weeks

Plan to provide: Fiction: 1 short story or 2 chapters from a novel and Non-fiction, Memoir and Journalism authors should provide 2 essays or articles or 2 chapters from a book. Your application should include a resume, email addresses of two professionals familiar with your work, and details of the project you intend to work on at the residence.

“The Barn” is a big old white barn that houses up to five people at a time in a secluded yet still easily reachable destination.

Food is not provided, but groceries are about 1.6 miles away in the form of shops and farmer’s markets. Bikes are available for fellows to borrow. The beach is within a couple miles as well, but as they state on their site, this is a place to work on your passion, not a vacation!

National Parks Service AIR (artists in residence) Program


Where: Scattered all over the U.S. and Canada

When to apply: Dates vary according to location

Duration: Most are two week residencies, but times vary

The US National Parks Service has an artist-in-residency program in more than fifty locations around the United States. Some of these are for visual artists specifically, but most are interdisciplinary. Have a look at the location nearest you in the interactive map in the link provided. Some offer monthly stipends, some do not. A few have application fees (Golden Gate Recreation Area for example), most do not, and it varies quite a bit from park to park. The majority ask that you leave a piece of writing (to which you maintain copyright) at the park.


Good luck should you decide to apply to any of these residencies! If they are out of your reach – either too far away, or you cannot take the time away from work or kids, you may want to think about doing it the way artists have been for centuries – find a friend or a relative with a spare bit of private space and convince them to let you spend some time there. Even if you have to keep slogging away at your writing project in a stolen hour or two before or after work, the important thing really is the work, not the place you do it in. Keep creating


Tilly Horton is a fiction writer with her first book of short stories soon to appear in digital format. More information can be found at tillyhorton.com


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