The Sarabande Writing Residency at Bernheim

Apply august 1 - September 30

The Sarabande Writing Residency offers an annual retreat, two to six weeks in length, to a poet, fiction writer, or essayist at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, an idyllic 14,000-acre nature preserve near Louisville, Kentucky. Residents receive a $500 travel stipend and lodging in a private, fully equipped cottage on the Bernheim grounds. Residents offer two to three public readings or discussions during their tenure and may devote the rest of their time to writing in Bernheim's extensive forest, gardens, and arboretum. 

This contest is open to writers of English. Employees and board members of Sarabande Books are not eligible. 

Unfortunately, animal companions are not permitted to stay overnight or in the cabin. Only the writer who submits and is accepted as a resident may stay on Bernheim grounds.


  • Cover letter describing how a residency at Bernheim Forest will contribute to your work 
  • Resume or CV
  • Writing sample of 20 poems, a single short story, or a single essay
  • Include $15 reading fee
  • A winner will be selected in January, and all entrants will be notified of the winners and finalists shortly afterward. 

You will be prompted by our online submission manager for all information and payment necessary for consideration: 

2015 Writer in Residence: 

We're pleased to announce D. A. Powell as our 2015 Writer in Residence. 

D. A. Powell is the author of five collections, including Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys which received the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry. His honors include the Kingsley Tufts Prize in Poetry and an Arts & Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Our thanks to all our residency applicants. 


Past Writers in Residence: 

2014 Margaret Kimball and Christian Moody shared the 2014 summer residency.

Margaret Kimball is writing a graphic memoir about childhood and place, parts of which have appeared or are forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Copper Nickel, Memoir(And), and South Loop Review. She has been in residence at Yaddo and is an assistant professor of illustration at Lesley University in Boston. 

Christian Moody's fiction has appeared in Best New American VoicesBest American FantasyEsquireThe Cincinnati Review, The Collagist, and other publications. He has been in residence at Yaddo, and his work has been awarded a 2015 Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council and fellowships from The Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, Taft Center for the Humanities, and elsewhere. He is a visiting assistant professor of English at Centre College in Kentucky.

2013 Ann Townsend inaugurated the program in the summer of 2013 as Sarabande's first Writer-in-Residence. Ms. Townsend is the author of two collections of poetry: Dime Store Erotics (Silverfish Review Press, 1998), and The Coronary Garden (Sarabande, 2005), and edited the collection, Radiant Lyre: Essays on Lyric Poetry (Graywolf, 2007) with David Baker. Her poetry, fiction, and criticism appear in such publications as AgniPoetryThe Paris ReviewThe NationThe Georgia ReviewThe Kenyon ReviewThe Southern ReviewWitness, and many others.