The Mastheads Writers' Residency

Pittsfield, Massachusetts, United States

Jul 1 - Jul 31, 2019


All 5 residencies come with $900 stipend and travel reimbursement

CONTACT: Sarah Trudgeon

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.

In 2019, our five focus authors from the Pittsfield area will include Herman Melville, Edith Wharton, Edna St. Vincent Millay, James Weldon Johnson, and James Van Der Zee. In 2017 and 2018, focus authors W.E.B. Du Bois, Fanny Kemble, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, William Cullen Bryant, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Oliver Wendell Holmes were discussed by guest lecturers Dolores Hayden, Jaswinder Bolina, Meredith McGill, Neil Roberts, David L. Smith, Tess Chakkalakal, and Lawrence Buell.

Events are held weekly at locations such as Melville's Arrowhead, Hotel on North, and The Berkshire Athenaeum. 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 Berkshire Eagle and to preserve in an ongoing Pittsfield Anthology.


Poetry, Fiction, Creative nonfiction, Playwriting


Massachusetts, United States

The Mastheads

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.