After offering two writers a test-run for a residency that was initiated on twitter, Amtrak has opened up its residency for writers program to the public, which includes round-trip train fare on an Amtrak long-distance route and a private sleeper car with a desk, bed, and window. The application can be found on their blog an is accepted on a rolling basis for residencies from March 17, 2014 to March 31, 2015. The comments section in the application form have sparked concern over the Grant of Rights for Amtrak’s official terms, which state:
In submitting an Application, Applicant hereby grants Sponsor the absolute, worldwide, and irrevocable right to use, modify, publish, publicly display, distribute, and copy Applicant’s Application, in whole or in part, for any purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and marketing, and to sublicense such rights to any third parties.
This section of the terms is regarding application materials, which include writing samples. No clarification has been made regarding these terms despite much confusion and attempts to contact Amtrak by current and prospective applicants. If you have a writing sample to spare, this could be an opportunity to work in a “fruitful work environment,” as writer and Amtrak residency test-runner Jessica Gross puts it. Just make sure you also have a Twitter account – it’s required.