Writers in residence

Coordinator: Susan M. Gaines

The Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg, An Institute for Advanced Study
Writing a work of fiction or creative non-fiction in which science and its practitioners play a major role entails a considerable amount of background research. It may require observation and intimate knowledge of scientific work environments, contact with working scientists, help understanding complex scientific literature and concepts, or plausibility checks by scientists working in the field of interest. Like writing any book, it also requires concentrated blocks of time free from the teaching, freelance, or other work that authors of literary fiction must often engage in to make ends meet. In this project, we award selected authors fellowships to work on science novels at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg (HWK), an Institute for Advanced Study. As we expand our purview to other forms of story-telling about science, we are considering authors of narrative non-fiction about science in various genres (memoir, biography, documentary, journalism, history, popular science), as well as novelists.

The HWK offers an ideal situation for the writer in need of time, quiet, and entrée into a scientific community. The FMS writer-in-residence lives and works among an international community of guest scientists and scholars, who are collaborating with colleagues at the region's research facilities, including, among others, the science faculties and research institutes at the Universities of Bremen and Oldenburg, the Center for Marine Tropical Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. The Invention Group leaders and our local Scientists Network facilitate the author’s access to regional laboratories and research facilities, interviews with scientists, and observation of field research, as needed.

If you would like to apply or recommend someone, please email Susan Gaines an expression of  interest, detailing how you expect to use the residency, as well as a CV and list of publications. Selections are based on an author’s past work; interest in  FMS themes and willingness to participate in the occasional workshop or meeting (see, for example, the Experimental Encounters workshops); compatibility of interests with regional scientific expertise; and willingness to participate in the interdisciplinary life and seminar series at the HWK. If we think you might be a good fit for FMS, we will ask for work samples and invite you to a Zoom or telephone interview.