SUPPORTING RHODE ISLAND WRITERS IN THE CREATION OF VIBRANT NEW WORKS
The world has changed a lot since the late 1800’s when Theodora Colt
reclaimed and rebranded her childhood home “Linden Place.” Where her
father had once hosted slave traders and corrupt politicians, Theodora
gathered abolitionist writers here in literary salons that included the
likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and John
Now, we want you to be part of our literary lineage by bringing a
creative point of view to our history. The Linden Place
Writers’ Residency is a no-cost, daytime only residency program that gives creative writers the tools to discover, engage, examine, and
interpret Linden Place’s people, events, setting, and artifacts through a contemporary lens.
LINDEN PLACE AS CREATIVE MUSE
Linden Place is a nonprofit museum with a potent place in American history. Built in 1810 by slave trader George DeWolf, the house serves as a place of education and catalyst for discussion about the transatlantic slave trade and Northern complicity in the same. Occupants and guests of the house have included Presidents, enslaved Africans, famous writers, servants, freed slaves, business magnates, Hollywood actors, abolitionists, and philanthropists. The museum’s collection includes paintings, sculptures, furniture, and rare items, such as a horse-drawn coach from the 1820’s. The house has notable architectural details and sits on 1.8 acres of land that are part of the Wampanoag/Pokanoket ancestral homelands.
The stories of those who lived and worked here speak to issues of enslavement, colonialism, early industry, class divides, philanthropy, and the agency of women. In all, it is fertile ground for creative writers to re-interpret, re-examine, and expound on history through contemporary viewpoints.
Could you imagine Linden Place as the backdrop of a LGBTQ+ historic romance? Could you envision a superhero narrative with a freed African as the central figure? Could you see a Young Adult novel where the teen protagonist discovers a portal to the past through one of the museum’s paintings? Could you pen a classic mystery where Ethel Barrymore, one of our former occupants and most popular actresses of her day, goes missing while visiting here? Could you write a narrative essay about your life that draws parallels to the lives of the widowed women who’ve resided here? Could you create an anti-racist rock opera that sheds light on the DeWolf slave traders? Could you conceive of a screenplay with a pivotal scene taking place in our gardens?
These ideas represent the kind of varied, thought-provoking, contemporary works that we aim to foster through the writers’ residency. We believe the work that comes out of the program will be a gateway for an expanded understanding and re-examination of our complex history.
The Linden Place Writers’ Residency (LPWR) is a free, month-long, daytime-only residency for creative writers wishing to interpret the museum's complicated history through a creative lens.
Three esteemed judges will select 6 residents to join us for the residency month of April. Each writer receives:
- A free audio tour
- On-site workspace through the month of April
- Research support from museum professionals
- A $100 travel stipend
- ½ hour one-on-one consults with sensitivity reader Renee Harleston of Writing Diversely
- Press and publicity
- An audience to hear works in progress
- 50% off accommodations at the Bradford-Dimond-Norris House B&B next door for the month of April
our 2024 judges
CHAYA BHUVANESWAR is a practicing physician, writer and PEN /American Robert W. Bingham Debut Fiction award finalist for her story collection WHITE DANCING ELEPHANTS: STORIES, which was also selected as a Kirkus Reviews Best Debut Fiction and Best Short Story Collection and appeared on "best of" lists for Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Vogue India, and Entertainment Weekly. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, The Sun, Narrative Magazine, Tin House, Electric Literature, Kenyon Review, Masters Review, The Millions, Joyland, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Awl, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from MacDowell, Community of Writers and Sewanee Writers Workshop.
OCTAVIA MCBRIDE-AHEBEE's poems present human relationships within the context of global inequality. Her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies including For Harriet, Badilisha Poetry Exchange, Fingernails Across The Chalkboard: Poetry And Prose on HIV/AIDS From the Black Diaspora, and elsewhere. McBride-Ahebee's poetry collections include Assuming Voices (Lit Pot Press) and Where My Birthmark Dances (Finishing Line Press). Her work is informed by the convergence of cultures and the many ways people move throughout the world. Her poetry consists of narrative vignettes that are dense, emotionally difficult, yet honest.
SETH ROCKMAN is a History professor at Brown University focusing on the period between the American Revolution and the Civil War. His research unfolds at the intersection of slavery studies, labor history, material culture studies, and the history of capitalism. He serves on the faculty advisory board of the Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. He is the author of Plantation Goods: A Material History of American Slavery (forthcoming, 2024) and the co-editor of Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development (2016).
WHO CAN APPLY TO THE RESIDENCY?
LPWR is open to all levels of creative writer including beginner, mid-career, hobbyist, or seasoned writers. They must be at least 18 years old and meet one of the following criteria: Have Rhode Island as a primary residence at least 9 months of the year or live along the Massachusetts border within 25 miles of Linden Place.
Former writers’ in residence must wait 3 years to apply to the program again.
WHAT MEDIUMS DO YOU ACCEPT?
For application writing samples and proposed works while in residence we accept fiction (all genres), narrative non-fiction, poetry, screenplays, and plays.
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF THE WRITERS WHEN IN RESIDENCE?
Writers will be expected to start a new writing project while in residence and work on site at Linden Place for a minimum of 9 hours during the month of April, with no more than 5 visits. Writers are also required to attend the reading of their works in progress and community discussion in early/mid-June.
WHO ARE THE JUDGES, AND HOW ARE THEY EVALUATING THE SUBMISSIONS?
Every judging panel includes a mix of professional creative writers and experts in early Black history. Our 2024 judges are Octavia McBride-Ahebee, historian Seth Rockman, and author Chaya Bhuvaneswar. Past judges were Padma Venkatraman, Jennifer Lighty, Adam McNeil, Daisy Abreu, Robert Isenberg, Eirene Tran Donahue, and Marco McWilliams. There are two rounds of judging. Individual submissions are first judged on social impact of the statement of intent, creativity, and merit of the writing sample. For the second and final round of judging, evaluators are looking at all previously stated criteria as well as curating a collective group of writers who represent diversity in as many areas as possible. We do not employ a blind judging process. You can read why in this article.
Our 2023 residents started projects that included a Sci-Fi social commentary where Linden Place is up for auction as an NFT, poems about Linden Place’s history from the perspective of the linden trees on the property, a set of short stories that put a paranormal spin on the house’s history, poems based on documented enslaved people connected with the DeWolf family, speculative nonfiction about Samuel P. Colt’s connection to the firearms industry, creative nonfiction exploring feelings about wedding celebrations being held at sites of enslavement, sestina poems that give voice to Black, queer, enslaved, and other people erased from the museum’s history, and a queer, gothic fantasy novel set at the turn of the 20th century.
Pictured L to R: Galen Auer, Erin Vachon, Susan Resnick, Candace Breen, Teresa DeFlitch, Gail Burton; Not pictured: Loren Walker, Cassandra Bousquet
Our 2022 residents started projects that included a wrenching poetry collection about the DeWolf’s Cuban sugar plantations, a moving and vibrant poetry collection about African American barber Daniel Tanner, a gripping murder mystery movie script about the lives and lies of the house’s servants, a biting and dynamic play about Samuel Colt’s privileged life, a heart pounding horror novel that found Charlotte DeWolf battling forces in the home stemming from her husband’s work in the slave trade, a transportive LGBTQ+ romance novel that brought the home’s interior and occupants to life with remarkable detail, a spare and precious set of haikus about the spiral staircase and other unique objects in the collection, and a gorgeously crafted novella about a civil war heroine who was based on a real person.
Pictured L to R: Ben Jolivet, Mia Manzotti, Rebecca Siemering, Curtis Perdue, Rochelle Leach, Kate Lane, Genesis Barrera, Elizabeth Maligranda
Applications are due on March 7, 2024 by 8:00 p.m. ET. We highly recommend you download and read this Linden Place factsheet before applying.
GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSION
The residency is open to writers of all genres of fiction and narrative non-fiction, poets, screenwriters, and playwrights 18 and older who primarily reside in Rhode Island or live within 25 miles of Linden Place. Beginner, mid-career, hobbyist, and established writers are welcome to apply.
Writers will primarily be judged on the merit of their writing and Statement of Intent. However, we will also look at individuals within the context of the larger whole in order to ensure our 8 residents represent a diversity of viewpoints, life experiences, and genres.
In addition to the residency application, writers must submit one of the following for consideration: 5 consecutive pages of fiction or narrative nonfiction, or 7-10 pages of poetry, or 10-15 consecutive pages of a screenplay or play.
PROGRAM TIMELINE & Deadlines
February 1st – Applications open
February 15th – Early bird deadline
March 7th – Applications due by 8:00 p.m. ET
March 25th – Residents announced
March 26th – April 1st – Residents schedule tour & visits
Month of April – Residency at Linden Place
April 25th – Progress report due
May – Writers continue to work from home
May 26th – Residents submit works-in-progress for excerpt selection
Early to mid June (weeknight) – Community reading and discussion of works in progress
FEES AND STIPENDS
This is a no-cost residency. All writers will receive a $100 stipend to cover travel and related expenses.
The residency application requires a fee to help cover the project administrator’s stipend and judges’ honorariums. Applications received by early bird deadline of February 15th will receive discounted fee of $12. After that date the application fee will be $17. There is an additional $3 processing fee if using a credit card. If you’d like to avoid a processing fee, you may pay by check or cash. To do so please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants with financial hardship for whom the fee is a barrier are asked to email us at email@example.com for fee reduction or waiver.
In line with our mission to serve the community, the reading and discussion event will be free of charge.
Writers-in-Residence will be able to take the self-guided tour and work in our spaces at
times that are convenient to them and allow the ability to control the
amount of people they interface with. They will be provided with masks,
if necessary, and hand sanitizer, as well as with access to clean
restroom facilities. The mansion where they will be working has many
spaces, allowing for ample distancing from others. If working during our
visitor hours or interfacing with staff, they may opt to wear a
mask. The community reading and discussion event is held outdoors and in our
spacious ballroom with social distancing and windows open for airflow.
If a resident or attendee has additional concerns, we will find suitable
adaptations. Judging of the entrants’ applications will take place online and over Zoom and, thus, pose no risk to jurors.
Linden Place Writers’ Residency is committed to fostering
accessibility in all aspects of the program in order to ensure that all
writers in our community have the accommodations and support necessary
for a successful writing experience. At present, Linden Place’s self-guided tour is available in both
audio and text formats for anyone with visual or hearing impairment. We
have wheelchair-accessible bathrooms and our museum’s first floor is
accessible via wheelchair ramp. Tours and research related to the 2nd
floor will be done via video livestream with the program administrator.
Quiet spaces are available for people with anxiety or overstimulation
issues. For the community reading event, accommodations can be made for
anyone with disabilities that may impede or prevent public speaking,
such as anxiety disorders or speech language impairment. Our goal is to remove all barriers to entry and participation in the program.
RESIDENCY PROGRAM DIRECTOR
The residency program is administered by Leigh Medeiros, an award-winning screenwriter, two-time RISCA Screenwriting Merit Fellow, and author of The 1-Minute Writer: 396 Microprompts to Spark Creativity and Recharge Your Writing. She has worked in the arts for nearly 30 years. For the past 16 years she has been a writing mentor, coach, and developmental editor for screenwriters and non-fiction authors. Her creative work has been featured in SPIN, The Boston Globe, Outside, Food Network magazine, Uppercase, and Rhode Island Monthly.
This activity is made possible in part by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
RESIDENCY Partners and sponsors
LitArtsRI supports Rhode Island's creators of the written, spoken and illustrated word through community events, free and low-cost business services and coworking space.
The School One Literary Center serves adult writers and young authors, from beginners to professionals. Known for Write Rhode Island, a creative writing program for teens, our Center offers an annual creative writing contest, after-school classes, an intensive summer program and other opportunities for students to find their voice and explore their creativity.
Bristol Historical & Preservation Society stimulates interest in the history of Bristol, Rhode Island, through education, research, and the collection and preservation of historic objects.
Writing Diversely is dedicated to helping writers create diverse and inclusive stories. Their team of editors and readers offers a full range of editing, writing, and consulting services.
Roger Williams University Department of English and Creative Writing is committed to providing students with a dynamic, hands-on education that focuses on project-based learning experiences that prepare students for a wide variety of professional careers in areas including publishing, journalism, public relations, advocacy, and marketing.
Bradford-Dimond-Norris House Bed and Breakfast in Bristol, Rhode Island provides our writers with discounted accommodations for the month of April.
The Greenery in Warren, Rhode Island spruces up our writing desks with fresh floral bouquets throughout the month of April.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2024 LINDEN PLACE WRITERS’ RESIDENCY APPLICATION - OPENING ON FEB. 1st
To apply for the Linden Place Writers’ Residency please complete the following three steps.
All three steps must be complete in order for your application to be considered.
If you have any questions, please contact Leigh at email@example.com.
STEP 1: Pay application fee HERE.
STEP 2: Fill out personal information below. All fields are required.