Applications for the July 2018 writers' residency are open from December 1, 2017 to March 1, 2018.
The residency runs for the month of July in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Applicants must submit a 10-page Writing Sample (single-spaced for poetry; double-spaced for prose), a Letter of Intent, and a CV.
Five writers across disciplines (poetry, fiction, non-fiction, translation) are awarded residencies. Residents receive a $900 stipend, travel reimbursement, housing, and exclusive use of one of 5 studios, which are located throughout the city of Pittsfield, in the heart of the Berkshire and Taconic Mountains. On weekdays, we provide on-call transportation to the studios. Residents are expected to use the bikes provided, their own cars, taxis, or Lyft for other transportation needs.
The studios are rustic and open-air. They come with an electrical outlet, a desk, a chair, and a bench on which to recline. Host institutions equipped with restrooms are located within 100 feet. The studios are installed in both urban and rural locations, and applicants should be comfortable working in either environment. Our goal is to both inspire residents and give them the time and space they need to create.
Public programming during the residency includes weekly lectures and community conversations with scholars and experts across disciplines. Each summer, The Mastheads focuses on five writers who have lived or written in Pittsfield. For 2018, our focus will be social justice through literature, and our five focus authors will include Herman Melville, Fanny Kemble, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Mark Twain. Past lecturers have included David L. Smith on Fanny Kemble and local abolitionist circles; Tess Chakkalakal on the value in preserving authors' homes; and Lawrence Buell on the relationship between Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. Events are held weekly at locations such as Melville's Arrowhead, Hotel on North, and the W.E.B. Du Bois birthplace. Dinner for the guest speaker and residents is provided after each event, as these gatherings are an integral part of The Mastheads' commitment to building literary community and sharing ideas. In addition, at least once during their stay, residents are asked to give a reading of their work, when we will offer their books or chapbooks for sale to the community.
At the end of The Mastheads residency, we ask each resident to submit a minimum of 1,000 words or 2 to 5 poems to publish in the The Berkshire Eagle and to preserve in an ongoing Pittsfield Anthology.