Writers in Residence

Hedgebrook is on Whidbey Island, about thirty-five miles northwest of Seattle. Situated on 48-acres of forest and meadow facing Puget Sound, with a view of Mount Rainier, the retreat hosts writers from all over the world for residencies of two to six weeks, at no cost to the writer.

Six writers are in residence at a time, each housed in a handcrafted cottage. They spend their days in solitude – writing, reading, taking walks in the woods on the property or on nearby Double Bluff beach. In the evenings, they gather in the farmhouse kitchen to share a home-cooked gourmet meal, their work, their process and their stories. The Writers in Residence Program is Hedgebrook’s core program, supporting the fully-funded residencies of approximately 40 writers at the retreat each year.

Our selection process occurs once a year in the fall, with a late July deadline for submissions. Notifications are made by the beginning of December. Through a completely anonymous, three-round process, approximately forty writers are invited for residencies of two weeks to six weeks. Our residency season runs from February through October.

For more information about the Writers in Residence Program, contact Program Director, Vito Zingarelli at vitoz@hedgebrook.org.

Applications are now closed for the 2018 residency season.  Look for the 2019 application here in Mid-June 2018. To learn more about the application process for the Writers in Residence Program, go to the Application Guidelines section.

Apply for the Writers in Residence Program

Application Guidelines

Please read all application instructions and guidelines, and apply below. There are updates to the guidelines for the 2018 application.

THIS APPLICATION IS NOT FOR HEDGEBROOK ALUMNAE. If you are an alumna, visit the Alumnae Programs page for new information on how to apply for an alumnae return stay.


Application Instructions

The application is an online process in SLIDEROOM. We advise you not to wait until the last minute to begin or submit your application, especially if you are new to SLIDEROOM. Your personal SLIDEROOM Account must be set up and verified before you can even begin the application process itself. We strongly advise you get started early so nothing is in your way of completing your application by the deadline.

You should plan to submit a writing sample that you believe best represents you as a writer, and be sure to include work in the genre you expect to work in while at Hedgebrook. You may submit a mixed genre sample, but your writing sample must be formatted as a single PDF file that is no less than 7 and no more than 10 pages total and up to 10MB.


Application Deadline

The final submission deadline is 11:59 PM (Pacific Daylight Time), Tuesday, July 25, 2017. Late applications will not be accepted. Please do not wait until the last minute to begin your application.


Selection Process

Our selection process occurs once a year, in the fall. Through a completely anonymous, three-round process, approximately 40 writers are awarded residencies of two to six weeks. Our residency season runs from February through October.

In the first round, applications are carefully reviewed by Hedgebrook alumnae. Working in pairs, they read each application and consider how the applicant would benefit from a Hedgebrook residency. Out of this round, approximately 10-15% of applications move to round two.

In the second round, applications are reviewed by teams of three readers, each team is from a different city. Approximately 100 applications move to round three.

In the third round, a Selection Committee is made up of writers, educators, agents, literary managers and editors read the applications and rank each writer according to the following criteria: quality of writing, originality of voice and strength of proposal, with an eye toward diversity in all areas.

Hedgebrook’s staff does not participate in the selection process, except to facilitate the process.


Notification of Results

Decision results will be emailed to you by the beginning of December 2017.

The Selection Committee’s decisions are final. We regret we are unable to provide critiques of and/or comments on applicants’ work.



Hedgebrook supports visionary writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. The Writers in Residence program is Hedgebrook’s core program that for more than 29 years has supported fully-funded residencies for writers representing diversity in citizenship status, nationality, current place of residence, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, trans* identity, age, disability, professional experience, and economic resources. We welcome applicants, published or not, of all genres, who embrace the mission and opportunity to be a member of Hedgebrook’s community.

All residents are selected solely on the artist statement, artist information and writing sample supplied in their application.

You must be 18 years of age or older by February 1, 2018 to apply. Applicants are welcome to reapply if they have not yet been awarded a residency. Writers who work in languages other than English are welcome to apply if they can supply a writing sample in both English translation as well as in the original language.



There is no fee for residency. A non-refundable processing fee of $30.00 (U.S. currency) is requested with each application. Hedgebrook is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Application fees collected help fund the Writers in Residence Program.



If you are awarded a residency but are unable to accept your invitation, you will need to reapply. Residencies may not be deferred beyond the residency season for which you applied.


Residency Season

Hedgebrook is open throughout the year, except for mid-December through January, when there are no writers in residence. The residency season for the Writers in Residence Program runs from February through October.



An important part of the Hedgebrook experience is the solitude and freedom from distraction found in the privacy of your own cottage. If you would like a guest to visit you during your stay, you will first need to get permission from your fellow residents, and then inform the office 24 hours in advance. Visitors must be escorted by a resident or staff member at all times, and only a writer may stay in her cottage or partake of meals at Hedgebrook. Pets may not accompany writers.

To be notified when the application for the 2018 residency season is available, please subscribe to the Hedgebrook Newsletter.

Writers in Residence Selection Process

For more information about what happens after you submit your application, check out the info-graphic below!

Frequently Asked Questions

“What’s a “professional” reference versus a “personal” reference?

Your professional reference should be someone who can speak to your work as a writer: your employer, your writing mentor, an editor, a teacher, etc. Your personal reference should be someone who knows you well and can speak to how you might interact in a small community of writers.

What if I want to explore a new writing form but don’t have a writing sample in that genre?

Discuss why you want to explore the new form in your project proposal and submit examples of your best work (in whatever form you have) for the writing sample.

Do scheduling preferences impact selection? IE: If I ask for less time or a less desirable time, am I more likely to receive a residency?

No. Reviewers don’t even look at your scheduling preferences. Our Program Director uses these to schedule residencies only AFTER writers have been selected for the upcoming season.

What if I’ve never been published?

The application is open to all writers, at all stages of their writing careers. We welcome unpublished writers and often accept them into the program.

How many writers apply? How many residencies are awarded?

The number of applications we receive varies from year to year, but it’s recently been around 1,800. We award approximately 40 residencies through the selection process, and we do notify writers that are “waitlisted” and can often add a few more, depending on scheduling details.

Do you read each application you receive?

Hedgebrook staff does not participate in the selection process, but all applications are read by at least two alumnae. The final round of ~100 applications have been read and reviewed by 10 readers by the end of the process. See more on our selection process.

What can I do to make my application stand out?

Readers are looking for the strength in your writing sample and authenticity of voice. Pay particular attention to the questions in the “Artist Statement” section of the application and make a strong case for “Why Hedgebrook? Why now?” Tell us about the vision you have for yourself as a writer and artist and what you want your work to accomplish. How do you see your work living in the world?

What are the most common mistakes on applications?

Including your name in the application. We value the anonymous process and including your name will disqualify your application. Other than when you set up your SLIDEROOM account, your name should not appear anywhere in the application. Be especially aware of those headers and footers in your writing sample. We encourage you to list your publication titles in the appropriate section, even if you believe this might identify you to some reviewers; but do not include your name in any section. If a reviewer recognizes and knows you personally, she will recuse herself from reviewing your application and it will be given to another reviewer.

Not answering the questions proposed or only partially answering them.

Not including or updating us with your current email address.

Waiting until the last minute to begin your application and then encountering difficulties that prevent you from meeting the application deadline.

How will I be notified about acceptance? Will I be notified if I’m not accepted? 

All Writers in Residence notifications will be made via email. You will hear from us either way, whether accepted or not, by early December.

How do I get a copy of my completed application?

To access your completed application, login to https://hedgebrook.slideroom.com/ using your email address. If you do not know your password, please use the “forgot password?” link. Once logged in, choose “completed” to review your completed submissions.

If you experience problems accessing your completed application, please contact Slideroom Support by going to: https://support.slideroom.com/


Our six hand-crafted cottages – Oak, Fir, Owl, Cedar, Willow and Waterfall – were designed by architect Chuck Dougherty, who worked with the Amish in Pennsylvania. While all the cottages have a similar design, they are built of a variety of woods and have unique color schemes and furnishings. Stained glass windows, pottery sinks, and other features were designed and crafted by local artisans.

Cottage_interior_smEach cottage has an upstairs sleeping loft with a hand built double bed, lamps, rocking chair, chest of drawers, and a small closet. With advance notice, it is possible to accommodate a bed downstairs for those who don’t feel they can climb the ship ladder to the loft. The main floor has a work area with ample desk space, a sitting area with window seat looking out into the woods, and a comfortable, overstuffed armchair. Bookshelves have space for the writer’s personal library, as well as a cottage journal in which each resident is invited to make entries during her stay. With entries dating from Hedgebrook’s genesis in 1988, the journals are the cottage’s living legacy – and a way for writers to connect with those who have come before, and those will come after her stay.

WIR-Denise_feastA small half-bathroom and a fully equipped efficiency kitchen including toaster oven, hot plate, and refrigerator finish out the main floor. All cottages have electricity and are heated primarily by wood stoves. Writers share a centrally located bathhouse equipped with two showers, old-fashioned bathtub, two sinks, drawers for each cottage, heated floors and a washer/dryer.

The historic Farmhouse is the center of the Hedgebrook community, where residents gather for dinner at a table overlooking Deer Lagoon and Puget Sound. All meals are prepared by Hedgebrook’s chefs, using organic food from our garden and local farmers. The Farmhouse living room, with a library full of Hedgebrook writer’s books, serves as a gathering place for residents to converse and share their work.

Application Resources

If you’re looking for advice or inspiration on filling our your application, here are a few resources that may be useful to you:

Read alumna Susan Rich’s posts on her blog, Alchemist’s Kitchen (2013): Application Advice for Hedgebrook. Just Do It! and Just Do It! More Application Advice for Hedgebrook

Read last year’s TweetChat Q&A and see what other people asked about the application. We’ll be doing another TweetChat this year, so keep an eye out! Follow us on Twitter.

Check out our blog for inspiration and advice! Posts from other applicants include: Knocking at Hedgebrook’s Door, by Ellen Sussman and Why Receiving a No from Hedgebrook Was a Yes, by Katarina (Kat) Thorsen. For advice on the application, read Dear Jennie, by Jennie Shortridge.

Women Authoring Change Fellowships

The Elizabeth George Fellowships are given each year to 2 writers in residence who receive high scores in our selection process. These awards include residencies underwritten by the Elizabeth George Foundation, as well as a cash prize. In 2010, Elizabeth George Awards were given to Karen Llagas, Caren Gussoff and Michelle Dicinoski. In 2011, the recipients were Victoria Garza and Marcia Freedman. In 2012, recipients were Rommi Smith & Andrea Gunraj. In 2013, the recipients were Laila Lalami and Hannah Tinti. In 2014, the recipients were Shobha Rao and Kekla Magoon. In 2015, the recipients were Mariya Karimjee and Vimi Bajaj.

How to Apply:

The 2018 Writers in Residence application is now available with a July 25, 2017 deadline for submission. To learn more about the Writers in Residence Program, explore the sections below.

Applications are now closed for the 2018 residency season.

Application Closed