Writers Omi

About Writers Omi at Ledig House

Since its founding in 1992, Writers Omi at Ledig House has hosted hundreds of authors and translators, representing more than fifty countries. We welcome published writers and translators of every type of literature. International, cultural and creative exchange is a foundation of our mission, and a wide distribution of national background is an important part of our selection process. 

Guests may select a residency of one week to two months; about ten at a time gather to live and work in a rural setting overlooking the Catskill Mountains. Ledig House provides all meals, and each night a local chef prepares dinner. Daytime is reserved for writing and quiet activities, while evenings are more communal. A program of weekly visits bring guests from the New York publishing community. Noted editors, agents and book scouts are invited to share dinner and conversation on both creative and practical subjects, offering insight into the workings of the publishing industry, and introductions to some of its key professionals. Click here for a list of former guest speakers.

German publisher, Heinrich Maria Ledig-Rowohlt, for whom the program is named, was noted for his passionate commitment to quality in literature. His list of authors included Thomas Wolfe, William Faulkner, Yukio Mishima, Jean-Paul Sartre, Vladimir Nabokov, John Updike, Toni Morrison and Thomas Pynchon.

Writers Omi has hosted hundreds of writers and translators from roughly 50 countries around the world. The colony's strong international emphasis reflects the spirit of cultural exchange that is part of Ledig's enduring legacy.

Notable alumni include:

  • Joseph O'Neill author of Netherland, which won the Pen/Faulkner Award
  • Aleksander Hemon, author of The Question of Bruno, recipient of a "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation
  • Gary Shteyngart, bestselling author of The Russian Debutante's Handbook, Absurdistan, and Super Sad True Love Story
  • Susan Choi, bestselling author of American Woman and inaugural recipient of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award.
  • Goce Smilevski, author of Freud's Sister, which one the European Union Prize for Literature
  • Jan Brandt, bestselling author of Gegen Die Welt (Against the World) 
  • Buket Uzuner, international bestselling author of Istanbulians
  • Ned Beauman, author of Boxer, Beetle, and one of Granta's "40 Writers under 40" 
  • Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin which won the National Book Award
  • Kiran Desai, bestselling author of Inheritance of Loss, which won the Man Booker Prize
  • Mikhail Shishkin, bestselling author of The Taking of Izmail, which won the Russian Booker Prize
  • Shehan Karunatilaka, author of Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Matthew, which one the Commonwealth Prize 

Listen to Australian writer Lee Tulloch's radio interview, conducted live from Ledig House on May 5, 2009.

In early November, Writers Omi hosts an annual Translation Lab, in which 4 English language translators are invited to a fully funded residency to work alongside the writers whose work they translate.

The focused residency provides an integral stage of refinement, allowing translators to dialogue with the writers about text-specific questions. Following in the tradition of the Writers Omi residency as started by Heinrich Maria Ledig-Rowohlt, the Translation Lab emphasizes translation as a means towards cultural exchange. It serves as an essential community builder for English language translators who are working to increase the amount of international literature available to American readers, as it is currently estimated that less than three percent of all books published in the United States are translated works.

The residency is a rare and unique opportunity for writers and their translators to work together, considering that most writers never meet their translators in person. All text-based projects -- fiction, nonfiction, theater, film, poetry, etc. -- are eligible. The residencies are fully funded, including travel, room and board, meals, and workspaces and are made possible in part by Amazon.com.



How to Apply

Writers Omi at Ledig House, Spring & Fall 2015

Applications for the 2015 session of Writers Omi are closed. The residency takes place in the spring 
from March 20 - June 5 and in the fall from September 11 - November 13.

Questions may be directed to




Omi International Arts Center is located two and a half hours north of New York City in the historic Hudson River Valley. Named for a neighboring village, Omi is close to the small town of Ghent, New York, as well as Albany and Hudson, which offer train connections only thirty minutes away.

The facilities, situated on three hundred acres of open land, include a large two-story barn with indoor studios; contemporary residence buildings designed with a vernacular reference to local barns, surrounded by abundant perennial beds, expansive lawns dotted with fruit trees, adjacent to The Fields Sculpture Park.

A Federal Period farm house serves as a gathering center, providing a full kitchen, television room and library; while the front porch overlooks rolling hills and the majestic outline of the Catskill Range. A swimming pool, bicycles, WiFi access and several state of the art computers are available on the premises.

Columbia County, and the nearby Berkshire Mountains, are popular destinations because of their historical, natural and cultural riches. From bird sanctuaries to modern dance, presidential mansions to farmer’s markets, the environs offer a singular blend of rural quiet and cultural stimulation. Staff and friends in the neighborhood are often available for excursions of interest to residents. The local library has a modest collection, but is a member of the Mid-Hudson group, calling on the resources of libraries within much of eastern New York.

Links to useful websites in the area:

Columbia County Tourism
Discover the Berkshires
Greene County Tourism
Dutchess County Tourism
Rural Intelligence

2014 Fall Writers-in-Residence

Writers Omi at Ledig House
Fall Residents – 2014

Mfoniso Udofia (US, Playwriting), September 12-25
Mfoniso is a 1st Generation Nigerian-American storyteller and educator. Some of her plays include, The Grove, Sojourners and runboyrun. Her work has been developed/presented by Sundance Theatre Lab, Playwrights Realm, Makehouse, Soul Productions, terraNOVA Collective, Page 73 Development Programs, The New Black Fest, Rising Circle's INKTank, At Hand Theatre Company, The Standard Collective, Liberation Theatre Company and JJCEO Youth Programs in Birmingham, Alabama.

Gioia Guerzoni (Italy, Translation), September 12-October 2
Gioia lives in Milan and has been happily translating fiction - lately Teju Cole, Siri Hustvedt, Iris Murdoch, Saki - from English into Italian, for the past twenty years. Every winter she travels around Asia for a few months, translating, scouting for new writers, organizing workshops on translation or publishing, and occasionally writing articles for magazines.

Anna Ballbona (Catalonia, Poetry/Nonfiction),
September 12-October 3
Anna is a Catalan poet, journalist and literary critic. She published two books of poems, Conill de gàbia (Cage rabbit) and La mare que et renyava era un robot (The mother who scolded me was a robot). She works as a journalist for El Punt Avui, a national newspaper in Barcelona, and collaborates with other magazines. She takes part in many recitations and poetry festivals.

Nuno Camarneiro (Portugal, Fiction),
September 12-October 3
Nuno graduated in 2003 in with a degree in Physics Engineering from the University of Coimbra, and he worked for a year at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2011 he published his first novel No Meu Peito Não Cabem Pássaros (No Room for Birds in My Chest) and in 2013 his second novel Debaixo de Algum Céu (Under a Certain Sky) won the Leya Prize. He was the first Portuguese author to be chosen to participate in the Festival du Prémier Romain de Chambéry, in France; his work has been published in many domestic and foreign magazines, including the Nouvelle Revue Française.

V Sanjay Kumar (India, Fiction), September 12-October 9
Sanjay is an art dealer and former entrepreneur. His first work of fiction Artist, Undone was published in 2012 and had an outsider stumbling into the art world in Mumbai. In his second book, Virgin Gingelly, a bunch of misfits deal with what life throws up in a street in Chennai, where he stays. Both books were published by Hachette.

Verónica Gerber Bicecci, (Mexico, Fiction),
September 12-October 9
Verónica is a visual artist who writes. She makes pieces that are texts and texts that are pieces. Her projects explore the infinitesimal trails of things that can't be heard nor seen. Her book Mudanza (Moving Out) narrates the transformation of five writers into visual artists. veronicagerberbicecci.net

Daniel Saldaña París (Mexico, Fiction/Nonfiction/Poetry), September 12-October 9
Daniel is a poet, essayist and novelist. He is the author of the poetry collection La máquina autobiográfica (The Autobiographical Machine) and the novel En medio de extrañas víctimas (Amidst Strange Victims), published by Sexto Piso in Latin America and Spain. He has received grants from the National Fund for the Arts and Culture (FONCA) and the Foundation for Mexican Letters (FLM). During the summer of 2012, he was writer in residence at the Union des Écrivaines et des Écrivans Quévécois, in Montreal. He lives and works in Mexico City.

Luisa Geisler (Brazil, Fiction), September 13-October 5
In 2012 Luisa was selected by Granta magazine as one of the Best Young Brazilian Novelists. She wrote Contos de Mentira, a collection of short stories, and Quiçá, a novel. Luisa was a Jabuti Award finalist and won the SESC Literature Award twice. Quiçá was shortlisted for the São Paulo Literature Award and the Machado de Assis Award. The novel will be published in Spain. Luisa was part of Serpentine Gallery’s Bridge Commission in 2014, and is an active participant of the 89plus project, under the curatorship of Simon Castets and Hans Ulrich Obrist. She has stories published in the US, UK, Germany, Austria, France, Spain and Japan.

Christine Buckley (US/France, Nonfiction/Translation), September 19-October 9
Christine is a New Yorker based in Paris after several years living in Vietnam. She holds a BA from Boston College and an MFA in creative nonfiction from Antioch University. Her work has appeared in Best Women’s Travel Writing, The New York Times, LA Weekly and on National Public Radio. She is currently completing a memoir with the working title People from an Outside Country. Excerpts from her book-length translation of Valentine Goby’s Petit éloge des grandes villes (Small Praise for Big Cities) recently appeared in Asymptote.

Nataša Dragnić (Croatia/Germany, Fiction), September 26-October 23
Nataša was born in Split, Croatia. In 1995, she finished her language and literature studies (German, English, and French) and then attended the Croatian School of Diplomacy. Since 1994 she has lived in Erlangen, Germany, where she gives language lessons at the university. Translation rights of her first novel, Every Day, Every Hour, have been sold to 28 countries.

Joan Michelson (UK, Poetry/Fiction), October 3-23
Joan's publications include Toward the Heliopause, as well as poems, fiction and essays in British Council anthologies, New Writing, vols 3, 4, and 14. Her work "Daxon Fraser" won first prize in 2014 Torriano International Poetry Competition, and "Muslim Girl" won the 2012 Hamish Canham Prize awarded by the Poetry Society of England. Originally from New England, Joan lives in London.

Norbert Gstrein (Austria, Fiction), October 3-November 4
Norbert was born in a small village in Austria, studied mathematics in Innsbruck and eventually moved to Hamburg, Germany. He spent 10 months at Stanford writing his first novel instead of going on with his studies, and has continued writing since then -- following no other profession, as V.S. Naipaul puts it. His novels included The Register, The English Years, and Winters in the South. Photo credit: Andreas Hassiepen

Caroline Brothers (UK/Australia/France, Fiction/Nonfiction),
October 4-November 4
Caroline lives in France where she is working on her second novel, set in Argentina and Greece, which continues her exploration of family, identity and displacement. She grew up in Australia and, after completing a history Ph.D. in London, trained as a journalist, working in the U.K., Europe and Latin America. She is the author of the novel Hinterland, which won a Society of Authors award in the UK, and of a non-fiction work, War and Photography. Photo © Ranjann Joawn.

Rachel Cantor (US, Fiction),
October 10-November 4
Rachel is the author of the novel A Highly Unlikely Scenario and a forthcoming novel, tentatively titled Door Number Two. Her stories have appeared in the Paris Review, One Story, Kenyon Review, New England Review, and numerous other publications. She grew up in Italy and has lived and worked in India, Pakistan, France, and Australia. She freelances for international development agencies and has completed writing assignments everywhere from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe. She lives in Brooklyn. Photo credit Marianne Barcellona.

Claire Corbett (Australia, Fiction),
October 10-November 4
Claire is an Australian writer born in Canada. Her novel When We Have Wings was shortlisted for the 2012 Barbara Jefferis Award and the 2012 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction. Recently her stories have been published by Griffith Review and Spineless Wonders. She writes for The Monthly magazine and teaches literature and writing at the University of Technology, Sydney. Her essay "The Last Space Waltz?" was shortlisted for the 2012 CAL essay prize and published in Overland.

Daniele Bernardi (Switzerland, Poetry/Nonfiction),
October 10-November 4
Daniele was born in Lugano, Switzerland, and lives between Italy and his mother country. He studied theater-craft in Rome and has worked for many acting companies and for the Italian Swiss Radio (Rete Due). He writes literary criticism for some local newspapers. He published two books of poems: Versi come sassi and Ballata/e degli alberi solitari. Some of his texts are included in several anthologies composed by the young Swiss poets.

Neva Micheva (Bulgaria, Translation),
October 10-November 4
Neva is a literary translator from Italian, Spanish and Catalan into Bulgarian. She studied Italian Philology in her hometown, Sofia, and Journalism at El Mundo school in Madrid. Among the books she has translated are Italo Calvino’s Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore, Il visconte dimezzato and Lezioni americane; Antonio Tabucchi’s Sostiene Pereira and La testa perduta di Damasceno Monteiro; Dino Buzzati’s Sessanta racconti and Il Colombre; Roberto Bolaño’s Llamadas telefónicas and Putas asesinas; Javier Marías’ Mañana en la batalla piensa en mí; Manuel Puig’s El beso de la mujer araña, etc. For her work on the Bulgarian editions of Juan Gelman’s Poemas de Sidney West and Giorgio Manganelli’s Centuria she received the 2014 National Literary Award Hristo G. Danov in the category Translation.

Susanne Hoebel (UK, Translation),
October 11-November 4
Born Germany, Susanne went to live in the UK in 1972, where she studied English at the University of Birmingham, finishing with an M.A. Returning to Germany, she lived in Berlin and worked as a freelance Teacher of English as a foreign language. Her career as a literary translator took off in 1989 and after 25 years she has translated some 80 books, among them works by Nadine Gordimer, John Updike, William Faulkner, Nicholson Baker and, only recently, Ted Thompson. She now lives in Hamburg, Germany, but mostly in Sussex, England.

Catherine Lacey (US, Fiction),
October 14-November 4
Catherine is the author of the novel Nobody Is Ever Missing. Her fiction and essays have been published by The New York Times, Granta, Guernica, McSweeney's Quarterly, The Believer and elsewhere. She was a 2012 NYFA fellow and teaches for Sackett Street Writing Workshop.

Naomi Schenck (Germany, Nonfiction/Fiction), October 24-November 4
Naomi was born in Santa Monica, and raised in Mülheim/Ruhr, Germany.
 After studying fine arts, she became a set designer for film and TV. While pursuing film and photography work, she has written broadcast radio plays and has a regular page in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which combines the short story and photography. Naomi has published two books, one with short stories and one with photography. She lives in Berlin. 

Andrew Lewis Conn (US, Fiction), October 24-30
A past resident of Ledig House, Andrew is the author of the novels O, Africa! (Hogarth/Random House, 2014) and P (Soft Skull Press, 2003). Conn's first novel, P, received widespread critical and reader acclaim, including being selected as one of the summer's best books by Nerve, The Oregonian, Salon, and Time Out New York; one of the best books of the year by The Austin Chronicle and The Village Voice; and long-listed as "one of the best books of the millennium (so far!)" by The Millions. This year Conn's second novel, O, Africa!, was chosen a best summer read by the Los Angeles Times, Kirkus, New York Family, Orlando Sentinel, San Diego Magazine, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and the Detroit Jewish News, among others. 


2014 Translation Lab Residents

In early November, Writers Omi hosts an annual Translation Lab, in which 4 English language translators are invited to a fully funded residency to work alongside the writers whose work they translate.

Italian to English (fiction)


Nicola Gardini is the author of numerous books (novels, memoirs, poetry collections, literary essays, and translations from English, Latin and other languages). His novel Le Parole Perdute di Amelia Lynd received the prestigious Viareggio Prize in 2012, and will appear in America next year. His essay Lacuna, a very original discussion of omissions and silences in literature, is going to be published at the end of September. He is Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of Keble College. His official website is www.nicolagardini.com. He lives in Oxford.


Michael F. Moore is the Chair of the PEN/Heim Translation Fund and a translator and interpreter from the Italian. His recent translations include The Drowned and the Saved, by Primo Levi (Norton, 2015), Agostino, by Alberto Moravia (NYRB Classics, 2014), and Live Bait, by Fabio Genovesi (Other Press, 2014). He is currently working on a new translation of the nineteenth-century classic, The Betrothed, by Alessandro Manzoni (Modern Library, 2016). He received his Ph.D. in Italian from New York University.



Spanish to English (fiction)

Born in the former Czechoslovakia, and raised in England, Scotland and Canada, Lilit Žekulín Thwaites taught Spanish and French in Newport, Rhode Island, before completing her Ph.D. in contemporary Spanish literature at the University of Toronto, and starting her career as an academic at the University of Calgary. Membership in a small Renaissance choir led to marriage to a budding Australian scientist and journalist, and a move to Australia to gain more permanent employment. After a fruitful academic career at La Trobe University in Melbourne and raising three children, Lilit has finally turned her attention to literary translation, with Tears in Rain (Rosa Montero), The Immortal Collection (Eva Garcia Saenz) and several short stories already published, and the promise of much more to come.



Luisa Etxenike was born in San Sebastian and has published the following novels: El detective de sonidos (2011), El angulo ciego (Euskadi Literary Award 2009), Los peces negros (2005), Vino (2000), El mal mas grave (1997), Efectos secundarios (1996), and the short story collection, Ejercicios de duelo (2001) as well as La historia de amor de Margarita Maura (1990). She is the coordinator of the International Encounter of Women Writers that takes place annually in San Sebastian.



Swiss-German to English (fiction)

A regular contributor to the Best European Fiction anthologies, Donal McLaughlin (Scotland) is both a writer and a translator. His debut collection of stories - an allergic reaction to national anthems - was longlisted for the Frank O'Connor Short Story Award. Dalkey Archive published his second, beheading the virgin mary, this spring. As a translator (from German), Donal specializes in contemporary Swiss fiction. Next April, in Zurich, he will receive the Max Geilinger Prize in recognition of his achievements as a mediator of Swiss writing in the English-speaking world.



Christoph Simon was born in 1972 in Emmental, Switzerland. Following travels through the Middle East and in Poland, South America, London & New York, he settled in Berne. Christoph has published five books with bilgerverlag, Zurich: Viel Gutes zum kleinen Preis (2011). Franz oder Warum Antilopen nebeneinander laufen (2001); Luna Llena (2003); Planet Obrist (2005); and Spaziergänger Zbinden (2010) which soon appeared in English in Donal McLaughlin's translation as Zbinden's Progress (And Other Stories 2012). An American edition became available in January 2014.



Chinese to English (poetry) 

Dong Li was born and raised in the People's Republic of China. His honors include fellowships from Henry Luce Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, Millay Colony for the Arts, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Brown University and Colgate University's Olive B. Connor Poet-in-Residence 2013-2014. Li holds degrees from Deep Springs College and Brown University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Conjunctions, Black Warrior Review, comma, poetry, Hotel Amerika and Denver Quarterly. His work has been translated into German and appeared in the Austrian journal manuskripte. Li is also the international editor and chief translator of the poetry translation journal Jet Lag, which will be launched in Hong Kong in late 2014.


Song Lin holds a degree in Chinese Language and Literature from East China Normal University. He moved to France in 1991 and studied at the University of Paris VII Denis Diderot. After lengthy stays in Singapore and Argentina, he now splits his time between Dali and Beijing. A pre-eminent poet of his generation and a most influential mentor for many of the leading poets of the younger generations, Song has published five collections of poetry (two of which were published in France and translated into the French), two books of prose, and has co-edited a contemporary poetry anthology. Song is the poetry editor of the esteemed poetry journal Jintian [Today] 《今天》, co-editor of the prominent Chinese poetry journal Reading Poetry 《读诗》and a contributing editor to the translation journal Contemporary Poetry International 《当代国际诗坛》. Among his honors are the Rotterdam International Poetry Fellowship, the Romanian International Poetry Fellowship and the esteemed Shanghai Literature Prize.

Sponsors & Endowments


Danish Arts Council

Dutch Foundation for Literature
Greenburger Fellowship

Hoffmann und Campe
Indiana University
Institute for Portuguese Books and Libraries
Ramon Llull Institut
National Foundation for Jewish Culture
Piper Verlag
Portuguese Institute for Books & Libraries

H.M. Ledig Rowohlt Foundation
Rowohlt Verlag
Royal Literary Fund


The Robert Buchbinder Fellowship
The Diane Cleaver Fellowship
Ledig Rowohlt Fellowship
The Jack Weprin Fellowship


Amazon Translator Fellowships
Siegfried Lenz Fellowship
Translation and Interpreting Institute at Doha Fellowship

fd logo

Writers Omi at Ledig House is a proud member of the freeDimensional Network. For more information on freeDimensional, click here.

Writers Omi at Ledig House is proud to form a exchange partnership with Het Beschrijf in Belgium.

In this exchange, Het Beschrijf will work to bring a Belgian writer to Ledig House and Ledig House will work to bring an American writer to Het Beschrijf's residency program, Passa Porta.

The literary organisation, Het beschrijf, in Brussels, has been a builder of bridges since its inception in 1998– between different languages and literatures, literature and society, and literature and the other arts.In 2004 Het beschrijf launched two new initiatives: the Passa Porta International House of Literature in the heart of Brussels, and a prestigious residency program for writers. Guest writers are able to choose to stay in the centre of the city or in the rural countryside of Brussels. The length of the stay varies between four and eight weeks. Since 2004, Het beschrijf has welcomed some eighty writers from all over the world. More information on the residences program is available here.

Omi's residency programs are made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information on the NEA, click here.

Program Board of Directors

Program Board:

Esther Allen
Dorthe Binkert
Dominique Bourgois
Bill Clegg
Chandler Crawford
Nayana Currimbhoy
Kate Darling
Nicholas Ellison
Barbara Epler
Inge Feltrinelli
Alexander Fest
Gary Fisketjon
Carol Frederick
Karin Graf
Francis Greenberger, Chair & Founder

Nikolaus Hansen, Co-Chair
Beena Kamlani
David Knowles
Agnes Krup
Antje Landshoff-Ellermann
Jeffrey Lependorf
Carol Mann
Viktor Niemann
Marleen Reimer
Daniel Slager
Thomas Überhoff
Barbara Tolley, Co-Chair
Luciana Villas-Boas
Sally Wofford-Girand

Advisory Board:

Edward J. Acton

T.D. Allman
Sara Bershtel
Anna Bourgeois
Oliver Bourgeois
George Cockcroft
Ariane Fink
Chris Loken
Jack Macrae
Emily Mann
Michael Naumann
Nenad Popovich
Ulla Rowohlt
Betsy von Furstenberg Reynolds
Sir George Weidenfeld

DW Gibson, Director

DW Gibson is the author of Not Working: People Talk About Losing a Job and Finding Their Way in Today's Changing Economy (Penguin, 2012). His work has appeared in several publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, and The Village Voice. He has been a contributor to NPR's All Things Considered and worked on documentaries for the A&E Television Network and MSNBC. His credits include "The Hate Network" and "Inside Alcoholics Anonymous." His directorial debut, Pants Down, premiered at Anthology Film Archives in New York. His documentary, Not Working, a companion to the book, is currently available through Films Media Group. He is currently working on an oral history of gentrification which will be published in 2015. For more information please visit: www.dwgibson.net