Earlier this year Amtrak, our nation’s beloved but not really well-used (and fairly expensive) rail transportation system announced the Amtrak Residency for Writers, where 24 lucky riders will get to take free, long-distance train trips to work on their writing. It’s just like your favorite residency program, but on the move. Amtrak throws in a private sleeping “roomette”, a bed, desk, and outlets for all your plugins, and meals to help you digest all the beautiful scenery as you write.
Amtrak received over 16,100 applications, selected 115 semi-finalists, and their final 24 winners are to-be-announced. In the selection process, Amtrak really wants writers to submit a complete application package, and then to have a lot of social media followers. Lofty criteria. But I’ve got an in with Amtrak, who let me know that they were also accepting non-US trips. I managed to get a sneak peek at some of the semi-finalists’ proposed train trips, their writing sample titles and proposed publication for said writing. (Insider’s note: all submissions referencing The Orient Express were automatically disqualified.) Wishing these (fictional) writers good luck!
Writer’s Twitter Handle: @MalGoodblood
Writing Sample Title: The Torturous Train: Outmoded Muggle Nostalgia, Or the Ride of the Future?
Intended Publication: The Daily Prophet
Writer’s Twitter Handle: @Tolstoyhateswomen
Proposed Train Trip: Petersburg to Moscow
Writing Sample Title: How the Mundane Train Beat Facebook’s Claim to Fame: Women Cheating on Their Husbands Ain’t Nothing New.
Intended Publication: GQ, Playboy, W
Writer’s Twitter Handle: @myAntonia4eva
Proposed Train Trip: Virginia to Nebraska
Writing Sample Title: The Heartland Before it Became a Flyover: My America, One State at a Time.
Intended Publication: Time, People
Writer’s Twitter Handle: @OrphanExpress
Writing Sample Title: The Million Orphan March: Do You Know Where Your Child Came From?
Intended Publication: The Future of Children
Writer’s Twitter Handle: @gotGreenGables
Proposed Train Trip: Nova Scotia to P.E.I.
Writing Sample Title: Gender Preference in Canadian Adoption Practices: You Sure You Want That Boy?
Intended Publication: The Globe and Mail
Writer’s Twitter Handle: @givethebearahome
Proposed Train Trip: Lima, Peru to Paddington Station, England
Writing Sample Title: Bears in the City: Overrated or Undervalued?
Intended Publication: The Onion
Writer’s Twitter Handle: @ithinkican
Proposed Train Trip: Up a hill, down a hill
Writing Sample Title: With a Little Help from My Friends: The Breakdown of the American Rail System.
Intended Publication: NY Times
Writer’s Twitter Handle: @rattyintoadhall
Proposed Train Trip: Oxfordshire to the Wild Wood
Writing Sample Title: I Fought the Law and Disney Won: The Disney-fication of Classic Lit.
Intended Publication: Vanity Fair
Anonymous Writer’s Twitter Handle: @boxcarsrule
Proposed Train Trip: nowhere
Writing Sample Title: Hipsters Ruin Everything: We Invented the Re-purposed-boxcar-as-home.
Intended Publication: Dwell
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