A Moment in the Smokies: The Steve Kemp Writer’s Residency is a new offering from Great Smoky Mountains Association designed to help writers connect with Great Smoky Mountains National Park in meaningful ways that will inspire some of their best work. The program is named for 30-year GSMA veteran Steve Kemp, who retired in September 2017 after directing the publication of hundreds of books, magazines, brochures, newsletters and other interpretive materials that continue to support the preservation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Kemp residency provides an annual opportunity for one writer working in any medium to spend six weeks in the Smokies and to focus on their craft in a retreat-like setting. The writer will follow in the footsteps of—and actually spend real time with—Steve Kemp in an effort to create written works that move visitors to a greater appreciation of and stewardship for Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
A panel of readers representing Great Smoky Mountains Association and Great Smoky Mountains National Park will review the applications, interview top candidates, and select the writer-in-residence. Anyone 18 years of age or older may apply. Selections are made without regard to race, religion, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age or national origin. Knowledge of the Smokies is not a prerequisite.
Applications should take the form of one email correspondence to Frances Figart, director of interpretive products and services, at firstname.lastname@example.org on or before the January 15, 2019, deadline with “Kemp Residency” as the subject and should:
1. Demonstrate the applicant’s ability to interpret the natural and cultural history of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and the Smokies in a way that engages visitors in interpretation and helps them derive meaning from their experience here.
2. Provide easy access to three recent writing samples, in the form of links to online publications or attached documents.
3. Contain a letter of introduction explaining why the applicant would like to be considered for this residency in the form of a response/reaction to these words from Steve Kemp:
“From my days as an NPS seasonal ranger, I have always considered myself an interpreter, a person who tries to make complex themes of natural and cultural history accessible to a lay audience. My target audience has always been the average Janes and Joes who visit national parks, not scholars or full-time nature-crazed wilderness fanatics like myself. I accept the fact that my audience may be more interested in the pool at their motel or sitting in a rocking chair at their chalet than hearing about biological zones in the mountains. I just want one moment to attempt to engage them. One try. I want to find that one thing—a bear cub, a church, a wildflower, a big tree, a story—that they can connect with. I hope that connection leads them to some positive emotional feeling about a protected place that will linger after their visit. Humble, but reasonable.”
For more information prior to submitting a formal application, email email@example.com.