PRESENTED BY PLYMPTON
WRITING RESIDENCIES IN DOWNTOWN LAS VEGAS
ABOUT THE RESIDENCY
Residencies are 2–4 weeks in duration. Applications are open to fiction writers, nonfiction writers, poets, screenwriters, playwrights, songwriters, and other creative professionals involved in publishing, such as translators and book designers. Preference is given to applicants working on larger projects. Residents may have the opportunity to participate in a public event at The Writer’s Block—for example, a workshop or reading; however, this is not a requirement of the residency.
Plympton is a literary studio that innovates in digital publishing. In addition to Writing Downtown, our project have included Recovering the Classics, the Twitter Fiction Festival, the literary CODEX Hackathon, the Lincoln in the Bardo VR experience for the New York Times, and the Subway library project in New York City.
The Writer’s Block is a bookstore, coffee shop, children’s creative-writing center, and artificial bird sanctuary. It is Southern Nevada’s only independent, general-interest bookstore, and specializes in fiction, current affairs, creative nonfiction, art & design, and children’s books. Its Coffee Shop serves coffee, espresso, and tea—as well as an assortment of snacks and pastries. It’s also home to a Young Writers’ Workshop, featuring free creative-writing classes for students ages 5–18; in the evening, this space hosts all-ages book clubs, writers’ meet-ups, readings, and more.
DOWNTOWN LAS VEGAS
DOWNTOWN LAS VEGAS
Downtown Las Vegas, the original nexus of the city’s famous tourism and entertainment industry, is undergoing an exciting period of change. Largely walkable, and home to a mass of municipal and private workplaces—including the headquarters of the online retailer Zappos.com—the neighborhood is home to burgeoning arts scene, multiple museums and theaters, ambitious retail and dining establishments, and an increasing number of urban housing developments.
LITERARY LAS VEGAS
Las Vegas is home to a surprising and fast-growing literary scene. Most famous for its depiction in the work of authors like Hunter S. Thompson and Joan Didion, the city has long hosted its own community of writers, and is outgrowing its national reputation for indulgence in favor of a new identity as a particularly representative American city: increasingly diverse, economically booming, and at the forefront of newly energized political activity. For nearly twenty years, the city has hosted the Las Vegas Book Festival (formerly the Vegas Valley Book Festival). The University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) offers a highly regarded and competitive MFA/PhD program in creative writing—offering advanced degrees in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction—and is also the headquarters of Black Mountain Institute, a significant literary endowment that grants semester-long fellowships to writers of international prominence and that publishes The Believer Magazine. A now-annual occurrence, The Believer Festival brings notable writers to Las Vegas each spring for a series of multimedia readings, performances, and on-stage discussions over the course of multiple days.
Housing and utilities are fully covered for the duration of each residency. Variable stipends for food, travel, incidentals, and honoraria are available on a case-by-case basis depending on the needs of the applicant and at the discretion of that residency's financial sponsor. When awarded, stipends are distributed as a flat sum from which residents can deduct their costs as required.
Transportation, including airfare, is not included as part of the residency. Ride share services such as Uber and Lyft allow easy and reasonably-priced transport throughout the Vegas Valley. In addition, downtown Las Vegas hosts a low-cost bike-sharing program. There are a large number of high-quality eateries in the downtown area within a short distance of the residency; for grocery shopping, there are multiple supermarkets within a 1–2 mile radius.
VOLUNTEERING & PERFORMANCE OPPORTUNITIES
While not a requirement of the residency program, residents are encouraged to participate in Writer’s Block programming in any number of ways. These include co-teaching writing workshops or field trips for Vegas-area students, classroom visits, participating in a readings, or staging a performance or screening. Depending on the time of year, some of these programming opportunities may be in particularly high demand—or alternately, unavailable. Residents can discuss programming at the start of their visit.
THE WRITER'S BLOCK
The Writer’s Block was founded in late 2014 by married couple Scott Seeley and Drew Cohen. A veteran of the original McSweeney’s retail store and co-founder of the literary nonprofit 826NYC, Seeley envisioned The Writer’s Block as a spiritual successor to both these projects: a novel and visually dense bookstore that offered free, creative writing classes to Las Vegas-area students and their families. Originally debuting on Vegas’s iconic Fremont Street corridor as part of Downtown Project’s start-up portfolio, The Writer’s Block reopened in 2019 at a brand-new location with the backing of local literary philanthropist Beverly Rogers.
The new Writer’s Block is over three times the size, has more than five times the number of books, features a coffee shop, and offers an expanded variety of workshops for young students. As the retail anchor of The Lucy, Beverly Rogers’s multi-use artist residency and event complex, The Writer’s Block is also the epicenter for the annual Believer Festival, and is home to a number of Believer-affiliated events throughout the year.
Residencies are arranged in collaboration with Plympton partners, so you cannot apply directly to the residency. Partners have included Submittable, The Asian American Writers' Workshop, Electric Lit, A Public Space, Catalyst, Words Without Borders and the Writer's Block.
Partners are responsible for implementing their own selection process, ranging from open competitions to privately circulated applications. Some residencies call for special criteria—for example, singling out applicants with specific cultural or professional backgrounds.
Do you run a literary organization? If you’d like to sponsor one of our residencies, please contact us by email.
WHERE INNOVATION X PUBLISHING
Plympton is a literary studio that innovates in digital publishing. Through partnerships, we are behind Recovering the Classics, helped launch the Twitter Fiction Festival, run the literary CODEX Hackathon, created a curated mobile reading service, produced immersive Lincoln in the Bardo VR experience for the New York Times, and are currently in the process of building a permanent library collection of fiction and nonfiction shorts.
You can read about us in The Boston Globe, buy our books at Warby Parker, host your own pop-up gallery of our covers, or check out the immersive Lincoln in the Bardo VR experience at NYTVR.
Our partners span the gamut from large to small, established and emerging. They include the New York Public Library, Amazon, the White House, Audible, Twitter, Harvard Book Store, HarperCollins, Warby Parker, the Digital Public Library of America, and the Creative Action Network, among many others. Always, our mission is to push the boundaries of great storytelling in the digital age — whether through business model or format.
We passionately believe publishing is a craft — from the design, to the prose, to the reading experience — and are eager to move the needle.