Writer-in-Residence Program
The Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence program is intended to:


Provide an emerging children’s writer with the financial support and office space needed to complete one literary work for children or young adults.


Encourage the imagination of young readers, and in so doing draw attention to the importance of authors and the essential role they perform in nurturing developing minds and furthering our culture.


Promote the awareness of the Boston Public Library and its resources, by establishing a living link between Library and the community.

Apply to be the next Writer-in-Residence

In celebration of the Associates' 50th anniversary, we are offering TWO residencies this year—a Writer-in-Residence and a Writer/Illustrator-in-Residence!
The application deadline has been extended to July 6, 2021.


What do fellowship recipients get?

  • $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.

What are the requirements?

  • 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.


2020-2021 Writer-in-Residence

"I am grateful to the Associates for investing in me and my story. It is a uniquely American story that I hope will add to the ongoing conversations and legacies from which it has grown."Autumn Allen

Autumn Allen

Seventeenth Writer-in-Residence

We are delighted to extend a warm welcome to Autumn Allen,  our seventeenth Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence.

Her proposed work, All You Have to Do, is a historical novel set in April 1968 and the fall of 1995. It tells the story of two generations of a Black, middle-class family in alternating narrative threads. The story follows a college student searching for his place in the Black Power movement by joining a student takeover on campus and a high school senior who tries to change the culture of his prep school amidst controversy over the Million Man March.

"I have been working on versions of this story for two years, trying to get to the heart of what these characters and their journeys have to tell us," said Allen of her selection. "I am thrilled and challenged by the opportunity this residency represents to focus on the intense work required to shape my final draft. I am grateful to the Associates for investing in me and my story. It is a uniquely American story that I hope will add to the ongoing conversations and legacies from which it has grown."

Among a pool of very talented candidates, Autumn was selected in a blind judging process by a panel of judges—including authors, editors, a literary agent, librarian, and a professor of children's literature—based on her standout submission.

Autumn received her B.A. in Literature from Yale University, her master's degree in Education from Harvard University, and her MA-MFA in Children's Literature and Writing for Children from Simmons University. She spent fifteen years as an educator before returning to her first love, writing, when she saw the need for more books that affirm the identities of her children and the communities she serves.

She lives in Norwood, Massachusetts, and continues to teach in community settings while working in the children's literature world and writing books.

On October 8, 2020 we held a virtual reception to officially welcome Ms. Allen to the Boston Public Library. The event featured readings by both Ms. Allen and our outgoing author, Shawnna Thomas. If you missed the reception, you can still see it online:


Program News

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) 40 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 July 2020, she published her latest children's book, There's Something about Sam.
  • Elaine Dimopoulos published the book she wrote during her 2010–2011 residency, Material Girls, in May 2015.
  • 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 2021.
  • 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, The Wonder of Wildflowers (Spring 2020).
  • 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. 


Previous Writers-In-Residence

The Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence program is now in its seventeenth year.

To read about the previous sixteen talented authors click below.