The Mastheads Writers' Residency
Pittsfield, Massachusetts, United States
A new, urban experiment in literary creation and influence, each July The Mastheads awards five writers' residencies that include a private, thoughtfully-designed studio; stipend; travel reimbursement; housing; public lectures and community conversations.
The studios are rustic and open-air, located throughout the city of Pittsfield, in the heart of the Berkshire and Taconic Mountains. Designed by architects Tessa Kelly and Chris Parkinson, each studio is the architectural interpretation of the work of a 19th-century writer who lived or wrote in Pittsfield, including Melville, Hawthorne, Thoreau, Longfellow, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Each studio is equipped with an electrical outlet, a desk, a chair, and a bench on which to recline. Host institutions providing 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 and making their way around the city. Our goal is to both inspire residents with a new experience 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 different writers who have lived or created work 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 welcome them to bring copies of their books or chapbooks for us to sell. 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 Berkshire Eagle and to preserve in an ongoing Pittsfield Anthology.
Poetry, Fiction, Creative nonfiction, Playwriting
Massachusetts, United States
The Mastheads is a new writers’ residency and literary arts organization in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, founded on the history of American Renaissance authors who produced work there in the mid-19th century. The mission of The Mastheads is to use this history as a platform to support the imagination and production of new creative work in Pittsfield. In July, five writers are paired with a private, architecturally-innovative studio for a month-long residency, complemented by city-wide public programming and events. During the school year, The Mastheads operates its poetry-in-schools program, Fireside.