Writers' experiences

Librettist-in-residence: For three years on a row writer Mascha Kurtz and composer Nadir Vassena worked together in German residential arts centers: Akademie Schloss Solitude and Höfgen Denkmalschmiede.

People like to say Marseille in Marseille: Dutch poet and writer Erik Lindner stayed 3 months at the Centre International de Poésie Marseille, France.

Hawthornden Castle Writers Retreat: Writer Steve Mwase stayed at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland: a non-computer but superb environment!

Creating Safe Havens for writers at risk: FreeDimensional is an arts and human rights service group, which creates safe havens at residential art centers for exiled artists, activists, writers, poets and citizen journalists in need of assistance. The group is located in New York City and established as a non-profit organization since 2006.


RECIT is the network of European literary translation centres offering residencies for translators and organising events bringing together writers & translators. www.re-cit.eu

HALMA connects literary centres of Europe to the benefit of authors, translators, and literature promoters. Currently HALMA represents 26 literary institutions throughout Europe. www.halma-network.eu


Residencies for writers and translators

Residencies for writers and translators

Q&A Writer-in-Residence

Writers and translators have specific questions concerning choosing, matching, applying and funding their residency opportunity. TransArtists collected characteristic features of writer-in-residence programs.


Most authors and poets write in their native language or in the language of their country of residence. When searching for a writers-in-residence program abroad, obvious questions concerning the language pop up:

  • How to apply for a writers' retreat in another language?
  • How do application procedures handle different languages?
  • How to publish the results of your residence, in which language?

There are many different ways in which residential art centers handle differences in language:

  • Some centers keep an open policy and decide for each individual applicant how to handle the difference in language.
  • Some centers stay to one language only. In specific cases because the guest writer is asked to relate to the local community, such as the City Writer Residency of Ottendorf at Gartenhaus am Süderwall
  • or the writers' residence at the Caversham Centre for Artists and Writers in Kwazulu Natal.
  • Some centers don't mind the language as long as the quality is high, which must be proven by references of renowned specialists and publications by quality publishers. This is the policy of for instance Bellagio Study & Conference Centre
  • Some centers don't mind at all, as long as you have 'a burning desire to write', as they say at the collective of writers' retreats in several US States, such as Casa Grande Writers Retreat in Colorado.

Types of writer-in-residence programs:
'Writers only' & 'Also for writers'

In general there are two types of residential centers for writers:

  • centers for writers and translators only.
  • multidisciplinary centers that also offer facilities and programs for writers.

This is an important distinction that you should be aware of when choosing your residence. The Trans Artists database lists both residency types.

'Writers only'

Residential centers 'for writers only' offer facilities and programs, which are specifically meant to sustain the creative process of writing only. Such as Hawthornden Castle, Residences in Flanders, or Hedgebrook Writers Retreat.

'Writers only' residencies are retreats for concentration, study and production of literature and poetry. Many also cater for translators, some do exclusively such as the Europäisches Übersetzer Kolloquium. Often 'writers only' residencies have good connections with publishing houses; sometimes they ask the guest to give lectures and workshops or to participate in educational programs or in literature or poetry festivals.

Each 'writers only' residential center has its own goals and atmosphere. Eligibility criteria mostly are quite strict and specific. In many cases the candidate already must have a professional carreer and a substantial amount of publications. Application procedures might be time consuming.

'Also for writers'

Many multidisciplinary residential art centers offer facilities and programs for writers too.

Multidisciplinary centers that offer a convenient extra service to writers, without a specific focus or obligation. Examples are Tyrone Guthrie Centre or Capacete. A residence here is most beneficial for writers who like to encounter the unexpected and want to exchange with artists from other disciplines and cultures.

Multidisciplinary centers focusing on a specific region, project or author. An example is Klaustrid in Iceland, which hosts artists from different disciplines as long as they work on projects concerning the Icelandic writer Gunnar Gunnarsson, his life and his works. And Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, which receives visual artists as well as writers and scholars, who focus on natural science.

Multidisciplinary centers that offer special programs and facilities for writers, such as Banff Centre for the Arts, MacDowell Colony and DAAD. These centers have big resources and cater for excellent facilities within a wide spectrum of residency programs.