Writers in residence in the Berkshires
Writers in residence with the Mastheads program come to the Berkshires in the summer to write in moveable outdoor studios, conversations on their own work and Berkshire writers ast and present, Edith Wharton and W.E.B. DuBois and many more. Contemporary writers from coast to coast come to the mountains to work quietly outdoors and get to know each other, and they share their work with the community.
Year-round, the Mastheads offers writing programs through Berkshire schools and in the community, and they partner with schools, colleges and towns for community writing projects from film, workshops and magazines to billboards and new work in city parks.
The Mastheads co-founders designed the five moveable studios inspired by the studies and cabins where Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Henry David Thoreau once wrote. (The Mastheads often have at least one cabin and events at Arrowhead, shown on the map here.) After the residency, the cabins migrate to new creative places at Berkshire museums and wildlife sanctuaries, to encourage local and visiting writers.
Rooms with a view
While they are here, Mastheads writers will work in five outdoor studios designed by Mastheads founders Tessa Kelly and Chris Parkinson, in honor of five writers who knew these hills in the 19th century.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s in-laws once had a house where Pittsfield High School now stands, and he wrote The Old Clock on the Stairs about a timepiece there. And Henry David Thoreau climbed Mount Greylock before he began his experiment on Walden Pond.
Walden in the 21st-century
Nathaniel Hawthorne lived and wrote in Lenox, bringing the place into his Tanglewood tales, and a friend who dedicated a novel to him lived one town north — Herman Melville wrote Moby-Dick at Arrowhead, in the study of his Pittsfield farm. And up the road named for him, Oliver Wendell Holmes used to walk the land that is now Canoe Meadows, a Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuary along the Housatonic River.