Detroit nonprofit giving away homes to writers

A nonprofit group in Detroit has come up with a pretty unique writer-in-residence program, one it hopes will help revitalize the struggling city's literary arts scene.

Write a House has hatched a plan to buy up and renovate some of the thousands of abandoned homes in Detroit to offer them to emerging writers getting their careers off the ground.

The group has purchased three homes so far, according to the Huffington Post, and has launched an Indiegogo online fundraising campaign this month to renovate the first house, called Peach House. The organization has also gotten involved with Young Detroit Builders, another local group that teaches construction skills to the city's youth, to work on the homes.

"This is a city with unique, historic and fascinating stuff happening," said Write a House co-founder Sarah Cox. "We think there are writers who will want to come and be a part of it."

The Write a House homes are located in a community recognized for its growing arts scene, and are within walking distance of each other. This spring, Write a House will accept applications from "low-income" writers, who will be required to send along writing samples and a letter of intent. Writers from all around the world are encouraged to apply. A judging panel, which will include former American poet laureate Billy Collins, will determine which writers will be awarded the houses. The winning writers will stay for at least two years, leasing the homes from the nonprofit for a small amount to cover taxes and insurance. If they stay for longer than 24 months, they will be granted the deed.

Highlights from CBC Books: