Late last year, writer Jessica Gross shared over Twitter her agreement with fellow scribe Alexander Cree's wish that Amtrak would sponsor writer residencies, since trains served a fertile environment for the craft. Amtrak later responded, granting her the first "test run" of such a residency, which she then wrote about in a piece for the Paris Review.
Recently, Amtrak made the program official, and the train company is now opening up applications to make writing and creating on a train a reality for other budding authors. The Amtrak Residency will allow 24 writers to take long-distance train rides, living on board in a sleeper car with a bed and a desk. The company hopes the experience will "inspire creativity."
Applications are available on a rolling basis, and the program goes until March 31, 2015. The sole criteria: "a passion for writing and an aspiration to travel with Amtrak for inspiration." A writing sample is part of the application.