Author John Green has described Amsterdam as the city he loves most in the world. It was an important setting for his bestseller The Fault in Our Stars and it was at the Amsterdam Writers’ Residency in 2011 that Green worked on many of the Dutch sections of his manuscript.
The Amsterdam Writers’ Residency was founded in 2006 and offers writers from around the world the opportunity to live and work in the literary heart of the city for up to three months.
About the Amsterdam Writers’ Residency
The Amsterdam Writers’ Residency was established by the Dutch Foundation for Literature (Nederlands Letterenfonds). Since it began over eight years ago it has provided a space for international writers to live and work in the city. Residents are provided with an apartment located above the Athenaeum Bookshop. The apartment has two bedrooms, a kitchen and living/working spaces. Residents are also provided with full access to University of Amsterdam Library. Writers usually stay for between two and three months, with the minimum stay being six weeks.
Residents are required to cover their own travel costs, though the program will actively work with writers to help locate other funding schemes to assist with such costs. A monthly service fee of 250 Euros is payable during the residency, though this may be covered by a monthly residence grant of up to 1500 Euros.
Writers in residence are expected to become involved in city’s literary and cultural life. This may include giving guest lectures and readings, or participating in media events. Many of the guest writers visit Amsterdam not only to write or to do research, but also to promote the translation of one of their books or to attend a literary festival.
Who Can Apply
The residency is open to writers from around the world. While the Dutch Foundation for Literature has previously indicated that the program is mainly intended for European authors, recent residents have included writers from Syria, Haiti, South Africa, Malaysia, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia and the United States.
The Amsterdam Writers’ Residency is open to novelists, poets, critics and essayists. Preference is given to authors whose work has been translated into Dutch or will be in the near future. The program also highly regards writers who work in a wide range of literary genres.
How to Apply
In order to officially apply for the Amsterdam Writers’ Residency, applicants must be invited by the Board of the Dutch Foundation for Literature. Writers who would like to participate in the program and believe they would be strong candidates are asked to email the Foundation with a short biography and description of the project they would like to work on while in Amsterdam. The email should also detail any specific reasons why the writer would like to visit the Netherlands. If the Foundation believes the writer would be a strong candidate, they will then be invited to officially apply.
Organisations such as publishers and cultural institutions are also able to recommend writers for the program.
Expressions of interest emails can be directed to Orli Austen, coordinator of the Residency Program, via o.austen [at] letterenfonds.nl. Interested applicants should also review the Dutch Foundation for Literature website for further details. This YouTube clip also provides further background on the program.
Image by Maurizio Mori via Creative Commons