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Writers in residence in the Berkshires

Writers in residence with the Mastheads program come to the Berkshires for a month of writing, weekly roundtables and events with WordxWord poets in July. In 2019 they will work on the shores of Onota Lake and gather in Pittsfield each week for readings and conversations on their own work, Edith Wharton and W.E.B. DuBois.

Storytellers have found inspiration in these hills for as long as people have lived here, and now contemporary writers from coast to coast come to the mountains every summer.
They work outdoors in 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.

After the residency, the cabins migrate to new creative places at Berkshire museums and wildlife sanctuaries, to encourage local and visiting writers.

Mastheads writers in residence work in contemporary and mobile cabins or outdoor studios.
Courtesy of Mastheads

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.

Mastheads writers in residence work in contemporary and mobile cabins or outdoor studios.
Courtesy of Mastheads

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.