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 Twentieth Writer-in-Residence
The Associates of the Boston Public Library is pleased to announce that Rhonda DeChambeau, of East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, has been awarded the 2022-2023 Writer-in-Residence fellowship. Her standout submission was selected from a pool of very talented candidates through a blind judging process. The judges included experts from across the Young Adult books sphere including authors, Writer-in-Residence program alumni, a publisher, a BPL children's librarian, an English professor, journalists, and a bookstore book buyer.
Rhonda's proposed young adult novel, Top Heavy, features fifteen-year-old Esme, a powerful dancer who feels like she’s going to capsize under the weight of her own chest. Told in verse, this book will examine heart-wrenching teenage struggles with body image, money, a fractured friendship, and threats to hard-fought dreams.
Upon learning of her selection, Rhonda said, "I am over the moon at this amazing opportunity and can hardly believe that it’s actually happening! I am truly grateful for the Associates’ generous support and the judges’ endorsement of my work. It’s always affirming as a writer to have that vote of confidence from an outside entity, especially one like this that carries with it such a rich legacy of talented writers! I am committed to making my time as the BPL Writer-in Residence count and look forward to developing my young adult novel-in-verse so that someday it will land in the hands and hearts of readers."
Rhonda writes for children and young adults. Her projects span from picture books, novels for middle grade readers, and poetry, to young adult novels. Family connections are at the heart of almost all of the stories she tells. When she isn't writing, Rhonda works as a human resources professional for the Department of Veterans Affairs. She has a degree in English from Harvard University, and she graduated in 2019 with her Masters in Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Rhonda is a lifelong Massachusetts resident, where she lives with her husband and two kids.
Boston Public Library's Central Library in Copley Square
Wednesday, October 12, 2022 at 6:00 PM
Please join us on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 for a reception to officially welcome Rhonda to the Library and to celebrate the completed works by outgoing 2021-22 Writer-in-Residence Ying-Ju Lai and 2021-22 Writer/Illustrator-in-Residence Katy Doughty. The authors will read from their respective manuscripts and reflect on their writing journeys. A reception with the authors will follow.
This free event will take place at the Central Library in Copley Square. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis on the night of the event. So that we can plan accordingly, please register in advance for this free event. The reading will also be recorded and available for playback afterwards on our YouTube channel.
"Rhonda DeChambeau’s novel-in-verse is a lyrical, smart, and thoughtful look at family, money, and – most importantly – the complicated relationship we can have with our bodies. I read her draft and kept thinking, “More, please!” TOP HEAVY will give young readers – and the adults in their lives – plenty to talk about. A story teeming with empathy." Meredith Goldstein, author of “Things That Grow” and “Chemistry Lessons,” and writer at The Boston Globe
Apply to be our next Writer-in-Residence!
Check back here in early 2023 for the application and program guidelines
- $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.
- 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) over 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...
- 2006–2007 alum Anna Staniszewski is a prolific author of over a dozen books for young readers, including the Unfairy Tale Life series, and most recently, Double Clique (December 2021).
- Elaine Dimopoulos published the book she wrote during her 2010–2011 residency, Material Girls, in May 2015. In March 2022 Clarion Books published her next book, Turn the Tide.
- 2011–2012 alum Sarah Winifred Searle's first graphic novel for middle-grade readers, Sincerely, Harriet, was published in May 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, was published in April 2022.
- 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.
- 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 (March 2021) and will be publishing Borderless (February 2023).
The Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence program is now in its nineteenth year