Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Tue July 19 2016

Amtrak Inspires With Writer Residency Program

Car Rental & Rail | Amtrak | Gabe Zaldivar | July 19, 2016

Amtrak Inspires With Writer Residency Program

Photo courtesy of Amtrak 

There is something so amazingly romantic about traveling aboard a train and writing the next great American novel.

While crafting a book that will stand the test of time is a tall order, Amtrak is certainly helping to nurture literary minds with its second round of writers coming on board the Amtrak Residency program.

For the uninitiated, the program selects a group of writers who then travel the country aboard one of the line’s long-distance routes.

The goal is for these writers to enjoy and utilize a setting that is unlike anything else in the industry.

Could you write an amazing column or short story on a 14-hour flight? Of course you could. However, you wouldn’t have the spark of creativity that comes with the rolling rails or the pastoral setting that comes with a trip on any of this country’s inviting routes.

Julia Quinn, Amtrak director of public relations, offered some thoughts on the continued initiative: “We are excited to build on the success of the residency program and offer a second group of writers a creative environment to focus on the work of their choice. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, passenger rail helps travelers avoid the frustrations and hurdles associated with other modes of transportation – continuously making Amtrak the smarter way to travel, which we are confident the writers will find inspiring.”

The writers are selected by a tribunal of Hunger Games survivors. OK, it’s actually a collective of fellow scribes such as Lindsay Moran and Jeffrey Stanley who are also noted as former Amtrak Residents.

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And if you were wondering what kind of writer gets on these long-distance inspiration trips, Amtrak has a list at its website.  

As you will see, the list represents a diverse collections of poets, journalists and novelists, such as bard Brian Sonia-Wallace who hails from Los Angeles and hopes to breathe new life into the poetry scene. Playwright Jeffrey Sweet is also part of the project. His musicals have already been enjoyed in some of America’s major markets.

You never know. Perhaps one day you will sit down and read a hilarious critique or fall in love with a captivating narrative completely unaware that its inspiration came on the very rail line on which you are reading them.

It’s a lovely thought, anyway.

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