Train Company Amtrak Offers Free Rides to Writers


Nothing is quite as inspirational as coming up with ideas and writing while on a long-haul journey. It’s the perfect time and place to get ideas flowing and put pen to paper. That’s why American train company Amtrak is offering a “writers’ residency” initiative on their train. Budding writers can apply online to join the scheme where the company will shuttle them across the country with a place to eat, write and sleep – all free of charge.

The idea spawned on Twitter from the senior editor of Quartz, Zach Seward, and New York-based writer Jessica Gross, who both piped up in response to seeing Alexander Chee’s article that mentioned how writing on trains is great and how he wished such an initiative existed. Amtrak was wise to jump in and offer an off-the-cuff trial of such a journey.

One thing led to another and now there’s the opportunity to hop aboard a free Amtrak cross-country train in the name of creative nourishment. 24 lucky writers will be picked from a panel of judges. Naturally, it won’t be open to riff-raff wanting to bum a free ride and I imagine the process is very selective, but wow, pretty cool idea.

Good marketing for Amtrak and good experience and exposure for up and coming writers. Win win!

A similar initiative taking place is the opportunity to stay on a private island of writer and speaker Fredrik Härén for free to get the creative juices flowing…