Provide an emerging children’s writer with the financial support, editorial assistance, and office space needed to complete one literary work for children or young adults.
Meet our Eighteen and Nineteenth Writers-in-Residence
The Associates of the Boston Public Library is pleased to announce that Ying-Ju Lai and Katy Doughty have been awarded 2021-22 Writer-in-Residence fellowships. In celebration of the Associates’ upcoming 50th anniversary, TWO residencies are being offered this year—for a writer and a writer-illustrator. The winners' standout submissions were selected from a pool of very talented candidates through a blind judging process. The judging panels included young-adult authors, editors, librarians, writing instructors, journalists, a bookstore owner, and program alumni.
Please join us on October 25 at 6 PM to welcome Ying-Ju and Katy to the Library and to celebrate the completed work of our outgoing writer, Autumn Allen. The writers will read from their respective manuscripts and reflect on their writing journey. Please RSVP using the link below. A Zoom link will be emailed to all registrants.
Ying-Ju Lai's proposed young adult novel Going to Disneyland is a coming-of-age story centered on sixteen-year-old Jiajia “Jacqueline” Liu, a “parachute kid” whose parents are wanted by the Chinese government for fraud and bribery. Jiajia’s father suddenly appears in the United States, resulting in an adventurous and eye-opening cross-country journey during which Jiajia must come to grips with her parent’s behavior and her own privilege.
Upon learning of her selection, Ying-Ju said "It is an immense joy to have a room to call my own at the Boston Public Library and be in the midst of its venerable traditions, especially after more than a year of social distance and working from home. In our changed world marked by physical isolation, I feel an even greater sense of urgency to tell my story about a young person's journey and the discovery of the unfamiliar. I am grateful to the Associates for this remarkable opportunity to focus on my work."
Ying-Ju grew up in Taipei, Taiwan, before moving to New England for college. She earned a BA in Psychology from Wesleyan University and a MFA in creative writing from Boston University in 2014. She now lives in Brookline, MA, and works as a graduate program administrator at Boston University. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Literary Hub, and WBUR. She is the recipient of grants from the Sustainable Arts Foundation and Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts.
"The ripped-from-the-headlines quality of Going to Disneyland mixed with the captivating writing and realistic character development make for an utterly entertaining YA novel. It feels like a wholly original story that should appeal to a vast number of teens with varying tastes. Perhaps most importantly, though, it’s downright fun. I cannot wait to read the whole book." Sian Gaetano, Children's and YA Editor, Shelf Awareness
Katy Doughty’s proposed nonfiction young adult graphic novel A Handful of Stories From the End of the World deals with the potential of an extinction level event for humanity by weaving together perspectives from the fields of biology, engineering, geology, religion, and astronomy. A series of small vignettes takes the reader on a humorous, yet reflective, journey that examines various “end of the world” scenarios.
"I'm half shocked and fully thrilled to have received this fellowship!" Katy said upon hearing the news. "I'm humbled to join the list of talented Writers and Illustrators-in-Residence that the Associates have named throughout the years. This truly is a life-changing program. It's an honor to have such an opportunity to have my work so nurtured and invested in, and I can't wait to develop my graphic novel with the Associates' support."
Katy is an illustrator living in Somerville, MA. After receiving her BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design, she moved to the Boston area, where she works as a designer and Media Coordinator at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her work has been published in The Nib, The Lily, and Womenly Magazine. She has a particular interest in the intersection of research, storytelling, and art. Katy is also a Master of Public Health candidate at Boston University, as well as an ESOL teacher.
“Katy Doughty has a fantastic way of combining information and images – her work is clear and thoughtful, while simultaneously being fun and creative. Her very topical nonfiction project about the end of the human species is a fascinating combination of science and wonder – I can’t wait to see the graphic novel that results!” Gina Gagliano, Publishing Director, Random House Graphic
Apply to be the 2022-23 Writer-in-Residence
The 2022-23 application will be posted here in early 2022. Stay tuned!
- $23,000 stipend.
- Up to $2,000 of additional funding for coaching / editorial assistance.
- Private office space at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square (for half the residency year).
- Completed manuscript will be added to the BPL’s collection.
- Opportunity to publicly present your manuscript at a fall reading.
- All genres welcome! Eligible projects include fiction, non-fiction, a graphic novel, script, or poetry intended for children or young adults.
- Since this program is intended for emerging authors, applicants should not have already published any books.
- The recipient must work for a minimum of 19 hours per week during the year-long residency, which runs from October through September.
- Applicants must be able to legally work in the US.
The residency has enabled several talented children’s authors to launch their literary careers. Program alumni have published (or are in the process of publishing) 60 titles! Highlights include:
- In 2012, the Associates’ very first Writer-in-Residence, Hannah Barnaby, published the book that she wrote during her 2004–2005 residency, Wonder Show. In August 2021, she published her latest children's book, Home Is...
- Elaine Dimopoulos published the book she wrote during her 2010–2011 residency, Material Girls, in May 2015. In 2022 Clarion Books plans to publish her next book, Turn the Tide.
- 2014-2015 alum Natalie C. Anderson's debut novel, written at the BPL, City of Saints and Thieves, was published in January 2017 and been optioned for film adaptation. This was followed by Let's Go Swimming on Doomsday in January 2019.
- In March 2017, Annie Hartnett’s debut novel written at the BPL in 2013-14, Rabbit Cake, was published, and has also been optioned for a film adaptation. Her next title, Unlikely Animals, is forthcoming in 2022.
- 2011–2012 alum Sarah Winifred Searle's first graphic novel for middle-grade readers, Sincerely, Harriet, was published in May 2019.
- 2006–2007 alum Anna Staniszewski has published multiple books, including the Unfairy Tale Life series, and most recently, Clique Here (June 2021).
- Atheneum published 2015–2016 alum Jennifer De Leon's debut novel, written during her residency, Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From in August 2020. Since then she published White Space: Essays on Culture, Race, & Writing in March 2021.
The Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence program is now in its eighteenth year.