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.

Check back here in early 2019!

Next year we’ll post the application and guidelines for the 2019–2020 Writer-in-Residence program

What do fellowship recipients get?

  • $20,000 stipend
  • a private office space at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square
  • completed manuscript is added to the BPL’s collection

What are the requirements?

  • The recipient must work for a minimum of 19 hours per week during the nine-month residency, which runs from September through May.
  • Eligible projects may be fiction, non-fiction, a graphic novel, script, or poetry intended for children or young adults.
  • Applicants must be US citizens
  • Applicants should not have already published any books.

2017–2018 Writer-in-Residence

“No words can capture how excited I am to be chosen as the 2017–2018 Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence”Laura Rees

Laura Rees

Fourteenth Writer-in-Residence

We are pleased to announce that Laura Rees, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, will be the fourteenth Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence. She was selected as the 2017–18 winner by a panel of judges—including authors, young-adult editors, booksellers and librarians—in a blind judging process, based on the strength of her submission Sunset Sultan.

Sunset Sultan tells the story of Sultan Ferry, the last baby born after a global fertility crisis stops human reproduction in its tracks. From the moment Sutlan pops out of the womb, an entire population lives vicariously through the hit reality TV show Sunset Sultan, projecting their ideas of a perfect “last life” onto him. Introverted, self-reflective, bald-since-birth Sultan, at age sixteen, wants nothing more than to crawl out from under the media’s thumb. Pursuing wild conspiracy theories with his best friend, the two boys stow away to South America in search of children rumored to be living in the Amazon, hoping that such a discovery will divert the media’s attention once and for all. Sunset Sultan addresses the undeserved, often self-inflicted pressure to “perform” that permeates today’s teen culture, highlighting the importance of introspection, true friendship, and authenticity in the face of overwhelming media messaging.

“No words can capture how excited I am to be chosen as the 2017–2018 Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence,” said Rees, upon learning she had been chosen. “I can’t imagine a more fulfilling way to spend nine months than writing the book of my dreams, putting down roots in Copley Square, and collaborating with likeminded people who inspire and push me. My deepest thanks to the Associates of the Boston Public Library for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dedicate focused time, attention, and finances to my book. Being trusted with the task of not just writing a novel but writing one that speaks to teenagers—the generation that will carry us into the future—is an honor, and a humbling one at that.”

After receiving her B.A. in English from Malone University, Rees lived in Hawaii for two years before moving to Boston in the harsh winter of 2013. She now lives in Cambridge, MA and is pursuing an ALM in Literature and Creative Writing from Harvard University. She has worked as a scribe, freelance editor, creative writing teacher, and ghostwriter.

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) thirty one titles!

  • In 2012, the Associates’ very first Writer-in-Residence, Hannah Barnaby, published the book that she wrote during her 2004–2005 residency, Wonder Show.
  • Elaine Dimopoulos published the book she wrote during her 2010–2011 residency, Material Girls, in May 2015.
  • Anna Staniszewski has published multiple books, including most recently, Dogosaurus Rex, a picture book.
  • Two debut novels written at the BPL were recently published: Annie Hartnett’s Rabbit Cake (March 2017), and Natalie Anderson's City of Saints and Thieves (January 2017). This last title has also been optioned for a movie.
  • 2015–16 alum Jennifer De Leon recently sold her debut novel, written during her residency, Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From to Atheneum, for publication in January 2020.


Previous Writers-In-Residence

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

To read about the previous thirteen talented authors click below.