It’s a dream of many writers to spend time away from home in a quiet, all-expenses-paid retreat, free from their usual burdens. Most of these residencies are highly competitive. The ones below are not. Apply today!
Several promising writers will be awarded their very own, partially furnished rooms flanked by never-ending hallways in Kafka House. The house’s layout prohibits contact with anyone else, providing the quiet necessary for nervous breakdowns. Select writers will also be given a stipend of up to five-thousand dollars that they will not be able to access, although they will be granted the pleasure of filling out many forms about how the money would be spent, should they ever receive it.
Duration: Six weeks to forever.
One female writer will be awarded a solo stay in the prestigious Legend House. Every room is haunted by the ghost of a famous male writer whose books changed the resident’s life in spite of her long-held resentment of his failure to represent her perspective in his writing.
Duration: One month.
One male writer without any real ideas of his own will be invited to this gorgeous mansion, which blends neo-Renaissance decorative flourishes with an early-twentieth-century domestic sensibility, to write a confusing, heavily footnoted novel about the house itself.
Duration: Seven years.
Six writers will be invited to this nine-room house to solve the mystery of the death of Mr. Boddy.
Duration: Forty-five minutes to an hour.
If you’re left-handed and working on a novel, this is the residency for you. Everything in this recently renovated Victorian is designed for freethinking lefties: the desks, the scissors, even the location of the toilet paper. All meals included and served by frustrated right-handed people.
Duration: Until the staff quits.
Several lucky writers who have been parked at the good tables all day will not be kicked out or forced to purchase more than their now-room-temperature coffee in exchange for the Wi-Fi password.
Duration: Twelve hours.
A mother and her newborn baby are invited to this life-changing home residency. The child will work on just existing, while the mother will work on the guilt that she feels for not using this time off from work to finish her essay collection.
Duration: Four to six weeks, depending on employer.
Senior writers are invited to apply to this well-carpeted facility with round-the-clock care. Bingo is Wednesdays and Fridays at 5 p.m. Most insurances accepted.
Duration: Until . . .
There is room in my house for Sarah, who is writing a chapbook of the most beautiful poems I’ve ever read. Please come back to me and stay for good? I promise that I won’t bother you when you have your noise-cancelling headphones on and that look of genius in your eyes.
Duration: Till death do us part?
We just need someone to come take care of our ferret. Bring gloves.
Duration: Life span of ferret.
This fully automated, self-cleaning house will write your novel for you! Awarded to a young, attractive, and inexplicably wealthy couple with no skills to speak of.
Duration: One week.
Your Parents’ House
So long as you’re willing to help out around here — there’s a plot of begonias in the back that needs weeding. The television will be on every day from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Laundry and meals included, depending on your attitude.
Duration: As long as you need, honey.
(Originally published with New Yorker Daily Shouts, June 22nd 2018)