Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence Program

The Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence program is now in its fourteenth year. To read about your current author, Laura Rees, please visit the Writer-in-Residence Program page. She is preceded by thirteen talented authors.

Writer-in-Residence 2016-2017

Lisa Rosinsky, of Boston, Massachusetts, was the thirteenth Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence in 2016-17. Rosinsky spent her residency writing Robin & Mariana. Her novel tells the story of Robin Chen, a butch poet from Baltimore, and Mariana Gomes, a high-school dropout from Berkeley. They meet online, fall in love, and run away from home to meet exactly halfway across the country—mdash;in rural Nebraska. Rosinsky describes the novel as a "queer, modern-day Robin Hood retelling about privilege, social justice and survival."

Upon learning that she had won the residency, Rosinsky remarked, "I am deeply honored that the Associates of the Boston Public Library have given me not only their vote of confidence but these incredibly valuable resources—time, space, and funding—to research and write my next novel. To write for children is to help shape the minds of the next generation: to encourage kids to learn, ask questions, and change the world. I can't imagine a more exciting calling in life. And I can't thank the Associates of the BPL enough for this amazing opportunity to make a difference. The Boston Public Library is my favorite place in the entire city and I am thrilled to be able to call the BPL my home-away-from-home for the next year."

Rosinsky earned a B.A. in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University and a M.F.A. in creative writing from Boston University. Her debut YA novel, Inevitable & Only, is due out from Boyds Mills Press in October 2017. Rosinsky's stories have been published in Highlights and Cricket, and her poetry appears in Prairie Schooner, Measure, Hunger Mountain, 32 Poems, and other journals. She has worked as a freelance writer and editor, a yoga teacher, and as one half of a traveling two-person production of The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe.

Writer-in-Residence 2015-2016

Jennifer De Leon of Milton, Massachusetts was the twelfth Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence. De Leon is the editor of Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education and her short story "Home Movie" was selected as the Boston Book Festival's city-wide One City One Story in 2015.

De Leon spent her residency writing Volar—the story of Liliana, a 14-year-old girl whose family moves from a working-class Latino neighborhood in Boston to an affluent, predominantly white suburb after her father gets a promotion. Liliana, who soon changes her name to Lili, tries to fit in to her new school and neighborhood. Adjusting to her surroundings, Lili learns to value her home culture while discovering her own path.

After learning she had won the residency, De Leon remarked, "Walter Dean Meyers once wrote that he suspected his many readers found in the pages of his books a recognition of themselves, a validation of their existence, and an acknowledgment of their value by someone who understood who they were. With the generous space, time, and funds provided by the Associates of the Boston Public Library, I am eager to tell my story so that perhaps someday soon others can find something of themselves in my pages, too. This award gives me energy, encouragement, and hope. And I am so grateful."

She graduated from the MFA in Fiction program at UMASS Boston and currently teaches at Grub Street. De Leon was recently profiled in the Boston Globe.

Writer-in-Residence 2014-2015

Natalie Coward Anderson of Charlestown, Massachusetts was the Associates of the Boston Public Library's eleventh Writer-in-Residence. Anderson explained that to her "the fellowship is more than just a place to work and a stipend, it's a call to arms. The sense of momentum makes you realize you can actually do this. And the knowledge that you're being trusted to be a "real" writer - you just can't put a price on it."

Anderson has a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in International Studies, African Studies and Political Science, and received her MSc. from the University of Oxford in Forced Migration. Although she lives in Boston, you can also sometimes find her in the mountains of North Carolina or Nairobi, Kenya. She has spent the last decade working with refugees around the world, mainly Africa.

During her residency, Anderson wrote young-adult novel titled Rules for Thieves. In the novel, Tina's mother is killed by a ruthless criminal businessman, leaving Tina to take care of herself the only way she can that doesn't involve getting pregnant-by becoming a thief. A good one. And as a thief she can finally infiltrate her mother's killer's world and get what she wants most. Revenge.

The Boston Globe recently profiled Natalie Coward Anderson in an article titled BPL Writing Fellow Launches a New Career.

Rules for Thieves was published in 2017 by GP Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, under the title City of Saints and Thieves. You can read the first chapter in this USA Today article.

Writer-in-Residence 2013-2014

Annie Hartnett of Newton, Massachusetts was the Associates of the Boston Public Library’s tenth Writer-in-Residence, for the year 2013-2014. Upon her selection, Hartnett said, “I can't tell you how much it means to have the Associates of the BPL's support behind my novel. What a magnificent opportunity! And what a wonderful world we live in that there is still strong support for working writers. I just feel so unbelievably lucky that my character's voice resonated with you all, and I can't wait to share more of her story with you.”

During her residency, Hartnett wrote write Rabbit Cake. In her novel the main characters are learning to cope with their mother’s strange and tragic death: drowning while sleepwalking. The narrator, Elvis, struggles to stay awake at night to protect her slumbering older sister—another sleepwalker— from harming herself or others. During the day, Elvis attempts to navigate fifth grade before escaping to her volunteer job at the zoo.

A 2008 graduate of Hamilton College, Hartnett holds an M.A. degree from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English, and received an MFA in Fiction from the University of Alabama in 2013. While she was at the University of Alabama, Hartnett also taught undergraduate creative writing and composition courses. Her short stories have been published in various literary magazines, including Unstuck magazine and Indiana Review.

Rabbit Cake was published by Tin House Books in March 2017.

Writer-in-Residence 2012-2013

Hollis Shore, of Lancaster, Massachusetts, was the Associates of the Boston Public Library’s ninth Writer-in-Residence, for the year 2012-2013. During her residency she wrote Saved – a story about a young artist on a search for the music within. Upon her selection, Ms. Shore said, “I keep thinking of Claudia and Jamie in From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, running away to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But this is better; this is a museum with books. I am filled with joy at the prospect of having the inestimable treasures of the Boston Public Library at my fingertips as I write and research my new novel, Saved. The Writer-in-Residence Program is unique in the support it offers emerging writers, and it is a great honor to be selected. My undying thanks go out to the Associates of the Boston Public Library for this once in a lifetime opportunity. And I promise not to hide under my desk after closing…”

Ms. Shore earned a B.A. in English at the University of Vermont and a MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults at Vermont College. Her first novel, The Curve of the World, a historical story set in a small Vermont town at the end of World War II, won a PEN/New England Discovery award.

Writer-in-Residence 2011-2012

Sarah Winifred Searle, of Danvers, Massachusetts, was the Associates' eighth Writer-in-Residence, for the year 2011-2012. Upon her selection, she, said "It would be impossible to express my gratitude and joy in receiving the fellowship. Thank you to the Associates from the bottom of my heart. I can't wait to become a part of the community at BPL this upcoming fall, and to finally have the resources to share [my] story with the world." Ms. Searle's graphic novel, Under the Apple Tree, is a ghost story. Set during World War II, a girl must solve the dark mystery that shrouds her home, while handling the trials and tribulations of adolescence during times of great change in American history. Ms. Searle built her foundation in fine arts at Maine College of Art, graduated from Southern Maine Community College with a degree in New Media, and is currently studying Humanities at Harvard Extension School. She found her professional niche as a game artist a skill that she uses to create a unique storytelling experience.

Writer-in-Residence 2010-2011

Elaine DimopoulosElaine Dimopoulos, of Arlington, Massachusetts, was the seventh Writer-in-Residence Fellowship winner, for the year 2010-2011. I am absolutely thrilled to serve as the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence, said Ms. Dimopoulos. The inaugural writer-in-residence, Hannah Rodgers Barnaby, was my first writing mentor at Simmons, so I have known for years how prestigious the fellowship is. It is an honor to have been selected; I haven't stopped celebrating since I heard the news. My work-in-progress, ECO-CHIC, monopolizes my thoughts these days, and I'm so grateful to have the time, space, resources, and funds to complete it.

Ms. Dimopoulos is a graduate of Yale, Columbia, and, most recently, Simmons College, where she earned an M.F.A. in Writing for Children. She has taught English at a New England boarding school, an all-boys school in New York City, and an all-girls school in Pennsylvania. She is currently an instructor of children's literature at Boston University. In 2008, she received an Emerging Artist Grant from the Saint Botolph Club Foundation. As a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, she writes with a Needham-based SCBWI critique group.

UPDATE: The book that Ms. Dimopoulos wrote during her residency was published in May 2015 with an updated title, Material Girls.

Writer-in-Residence 2009-2010

Kelly HourihanKelly Hourihan, of West Roxbury, Massachusetts was the Associates sixth Writer-in-Residence Fellowship winner, for the year 2009-2010. She said, I want to offer all the thanks in the world to the Associates for selecting me for the Writer-in-Residence program for this coming year. I honestly cant express how much this means to me as I work towards shaping my career as a writer. Thank you, and thanks to everyone who was part of making the decision; I hope Ill have the opportunity to thank some of the others personally as well.

Ms. Hourihan was born and raised in Roslindale, attended Boston Latin School, followed by Harvard College, where she obtained a BA in English in 2004. Shes been trying to strike a balance between writing and jobs that pay the rent since then, and is thrilled to have this opportunity to spend the bulk of her time on her writing. Ms. Hourihan has also spent a good deal of time volunteering, both as a mentor to young adults and as a certified rape crisis counselor. These experiences have informed the writing of Springbound, a contemporary young adult novel focusing on the struggles of a troubled teen in an alternative high school.

Writer-in-Residence 2008-2009

Sarah Hamburg, of Somerville, Massachusetts was the fifth Writer-in-Residence Fellowship winner for the year 2008-2009. Upon hearing the news she said, Thank you so much! I must admit that I am overwhelmed-- and honored-- to have been selected. I am deeply grateful to the Associates for this tremendous opportunity. Ms. Hamburg was born in a farmhouse in rural Vermont, and her family moved to Boston when she was ten years old. She has been trying to balance her dual love of the city and the wilderness ever since. Sarah graduated from Hampshire College with a BA in Literature and Creative Writing, and received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. After completing her undergraduate degree, she spent six months hiking the Appalachian Trail, and later did volunteer work with a crew on the Long Trail in Vermont. Sarah lived for a time in Boulder, Colorado, and returned to the Boston area in 2004. She has spent the last ten years working with children.

Ms. Hamburgs book, A River Outside, is a middle-grade novel set in the Alaskan wilderness. The story follows Jonah, a quiet and thoughtful twelve year old whose life is closely attached to the rhythms and routines of his natural environment. When his grandparents invite him to stay in the city, Jonah must evaluate the life he has always taken for granted.

Writer-in-Residence 2007-2008

Sheryl DePaolo, of Newton, Massachusetts was the Associates fourth Writer-in-Residence Fellowship winner for the year 2007-2008. After graduating from The Hartford Art School with a BFA in Ceramics, Ms. DePaolo moved to Los Angeles where she worked for nearly a decade in film and television as a costumer. She returned to the East Coast and earned an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons College. In her own words, Ms. DePaolo is very grateful for the opportunity that the BPL has given me. Ms. DePaolos book Child Star, is a young adult novel about Sofia, a 14-year-old, who returns to her small Connecticut town after a brief career in a TV sitcom. Sofia must now readjust to small town life, her friends and her school after a brush with the fast-paced lifestyle of Hollywood. Through Child Star, Ms. DePaolo is excited about sharing some of her Hollywood experiences with a young adult audience. She presently works at The Children's Bookshop in Brookline Village.

Writer-in-Residence 2006-2007

Anna Staniszewski, of Brighton, Massachusetts was the third recipient of the Associates Writer-in-Residence fellowship. Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Ms. Staniszewski grew up enjoying stories in both languages. After receiving a B.F.A. in Theater from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, she was a Polish tutor in a first grade classroom and worked at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. She earned an M.A. in Childrens Literature, as well as an M.F.A. in Writing for Children from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. Her novel, The Last Story, is about a girl who resides in a closed island community separated from the rest of civilization. The novel explores the way history can change over time and how a society that relies on an oral tradition and maintains strong taboos shapes its own story.

UPDATE: Ms. Staniszewski’s debut novel, My Very UnFairy Tale Life, was published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky in November 2011. This launched a trilogy and was followed by My Epic Fairy Tale Fail (published in March 2013) and My Sort of Fairy Tale Ending (Nov 5, 2013). Ms. Staniszewski has also published four books under The Dirt Diary series, three books under the Switched at First Kiss series, and has written two illustrated children's books.


Writer-in-Residence 2005-2006

Jane LeGrow of Sandwich, Massachusetts was the second winner of the Writer in Residence fellowship for 2005-2006. Upon Hearing the news, LeGrow said, “I was very excited and pleased to have been selected by the Associates for this honor. The novel I’m working on is a work of historical fiction set in a women's craft cooperative in Dublin at the turn of the twentieth century.”


Writer-in-Residence 2004-2005

Hannah (Rodgers) Barnaby of Brighton, Massachusetts was the Associates of the Boston Public Librarys first Writer-in-Residence fellowship. Ms. Barnaby spent October 1, 2004 through June 1, 2005 writing a novel that was originally titled Gideon and Portia, about a young girl who leaves a work camp for teenagers to follow a traveling carnival. While traveling across the United States with the carnival, the girl, Portia, and her mysterious friend Gideon meet and befriend other performers. Acquaintance with such marginalized and talented people prompts Portia to question the manner in which one society rejects those that don't conform, only to cause them to be accepted by others in similar circumstances.

UPDATE: the manuscript that Ms. Barnaby wrote during her residency was published in March 2012, by Mifflin Books for Children, with an updated title:Wonder Show.

For further information about the Writer-in-Residence Program, program recipients, or about the Associates of the Boston Public Library, please contact the Associates’ Office at 617.536.3886 or

Associates of the Boston Public Library
700 Boylston Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116