Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Since I've taken the train cross-country for my last five book tours, I thought I would share a few thoughts about the so-called Amtrak writer's residency…

From my piece in Bookslut:

If there’s anything that all the buzz about the Amtrak residency for writers should call our attention to, it’s the lack of funding for writers in this country. I’m still depressed that thousands of people have applied for the hallowed privilege of being stuck on a train for who-knows-how-many-hours. Some of these people are well-known writers, extolling the virtues of train travel online with the hopes of snatching a barely-discernible prize. With coverage from the New Yorker to CNN to the Chicago Tribune to NPR to PBS to the Paris Review to Huffington Post and on and on down the list from the old guard to the new guard and back, this has to be the biggest publicity bonanza Amtrak has experienced in ages. It’s almost like they’re glamorizing the worst parts of the journey: you’re stuck in a tiny room for hours on end with nothing to do -- perfect! You don’t even have to pay us for this torture.

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