CHICAGO — Writers who have felt a connection to or drawn inspiration from Ernest Hemingway’s work might have a chance to practice their craft in the Oak Park, Ill., home where he spent his early years.
The foundation that owns the Victorian at 339 N. Oak Park Ave. is searching for a writer-in-residence who will work in the home’s attic, where a young Hemingway played with his siblings, telling them stories, according to the foundation’s website.
The writer will get to spend a year using the attic for writing and working, but it will not be a full-time residence, said Allison Sansone, director of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park. It’s meant only as a space where a novel, epic poem, short story or groundbreaking journalism project will be created.
“Being in a historic home and in a space where one of America’s greatest 20th century writers lived … appeals to some people,” said John Berry, chairman of the foundation’s board of directors.
Though Hemingway’s family moved from the home when he was 5, Berry said the foundation has some drawings Hemingway created while he lived there.
The attic, which has been used for storage, will be transformed into a “safari writing retreat,” Sansone said. Oak Brook-based Thomasville Home Furnishings will outfit the space with its Hemingway Collection of furniture and decor, she said.
Berry said foundation members have fielded numerous emails from writers, including one from Canada.
Any writer can apply. There are no age limits and no set parameters for qualified writers, though the foundation’s advertising has targeted Midwestern colleges with fine arts and creative writing programs, Berry said.
“We’d just like to get a really interesting, creative person who likes to write and who values reading and writing,” Berry said.
In addition to creating great work, the writer will be asked to provide cultural programming in the form of a lecture or workshop to the public.
Foundation board members will choose the winner, and the writer is expected to be announced at the Hemingway Birthday Celebration on July 21 in Oak Park.
Applications will be accepted through June 1 and are available online at ehfop.org.
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