Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer Residency / Residencies

January 1, 1970

Type: Residencies

Fee: Free


Program Objectives

The Associates of the Boston Public Library‘s Writer-in-Residence program is intended to:

  • Provide an emerging children’s writer with the financial support and office space needed to complete one literary work for children or young adults.
  • Encourage the imagination of young readers, and in so doing, draw attention to the importance of authors and the essential role they perform in nurturing developing minds and furthering our culture.
  • Promote the awareness of the Boston Public Library and its resources, by establishing a living link between the Library and the community.

Residency Benefits

  • A total stipend of $20,000, paid in monthly installments over a nine-month period.
  • Use of a private office, Internet access, and a photocopier.
  • Access to and use of the Boston Public Library’s collections.
  • A forum for the presentation/promotion of your finished literary work.
  • Opportunities to establish connections with writers, publishers, artists, and the community at large through participation in/attendance at Library readings, lectures, and other events.
  • At the end of the residency, your completed manuscript will be added to the BPL’s collections. (However, you retain all rights to your completed work.)


  • The proposed literary project should be intended for children or young adult readers. All genres are welcome, including fiction, non-fiction, scripts, or poetry. (The format is flexible and can include illustrated children’s books or graphic novels, but the majority of our submissions are generally Young Adult novels.)
  • The applicant should demonstrate active engagement as a writer, whether full or part-time, as an avocation or profession.
  • Since this program is intended for emerging authors, the applicant should not have any prior professional book publications. (Self-published books, works for hire, articles, and short stories published in an anthology do not count against this eligibility criteria.)
  • Only one proposal may be submitted per person; joint applications or proposed collaborations by more than one author are not permitted.
  • Works that are already under contract with a publisher are not eligible for submission.
  • There is NO residency restriction to apply, but you must be able to spend at least nineteen (19) hours per week at the Boston Public Library’s Central Library in Copley Square, if selected.
  • Must be eligible to work in the US, as a U.S. citizen or green card holder. English fluency required.
  • There are NO age, gender, race, or educational requirements.

Terms of Residency

  • Must work in-residence at the Boston Public Library’s Central Library in Copley Square, for a minimum of nineteen (19) hours per week from October 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.
  • Participation in a public reception toward the beginning of the residency, on a mutually agreed upon date.
  • Completion and public presentation of a submission-ready manuscript at the end of residency, on a mutually agreed upon date.
  • Include an acknowledgment of the Associates of the Boston Public Library in all work created during the residency and during any media opportunities stemming from the program, using mutually agreed upon language.
  • Optional participation in Boston Public Library programs such as writing workshops and/or presentations to Boston-area students, as mutually agreed upon. (Participation would be only a small portion of your time.)

Application Process

To apply, please complete the application form (below) and upload a proposal (5 pages max.) and writing sample (15 pages max.) by Friday, May 29, 2020. The documents should be double spaced with one inch margins. The attachments should not include any biographical information, since there is a blind judging process.

Basic questions about the application will be answered via email (via; no calls please. Questions regarding how to present your work will not be considered. Inquiries concerning applications under review will not be answered.

Since the physical Boston Public Library is currently closed due to the pandemic, we cannot accept hard copy submissions this year. If using Submittable creates an undue burden for you, please let us know so we can work out an alternative.

Late applications will not be considered. Once submitted, applications may not be altered by either candidates or Associates’ staff.

Selection Process

Finalists are evaluated by a panel of judges, which includes a rotating group of authors, librarians, booksellers, publishers, editors, book designers, teachers, and/or citizens representing different areas of the world of children’s literature. Associates’ staff do not vote in this process. The judges do not know the candidates’ names, gender, educational qualifications, or any background information. This blind judging process is focused solely on the quality of the applicant’s writing. The candidate selected to be the 2020-2021 Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence will be notified by July 30, 2020.

Key Dates

  • Application Deadline:  Friday, May 29, 2020
  • Notification: July 30, 2020
  • Residency Period: October 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021