Writer in Residence

The 2020 Writer in Residence Selection Process is Postponed Until Further Notice. 

Please contact foundation@highplains.us for more information about Writer in Residence.

About Writer in Residence

The High Plains Library District Foundation is proud to support the Writer in Residence program as part of the District’s vision to serve as an incubator for the arts and to further our mission of building a community of library lovers.

The goal of the HPLD Foundation’s Writer in Residence program is to support the creative process of one (1) writer during a nine-month time-period so they may complete a manuscript with the intent to publish.

The resident’s work can be of any style or genre but must be related in some fashion to the High Plains Library District service area in subject matter. Applicants must reside within the High Plains Library District boundaries (see map), must be an HPLD cardholder (or become a cardholder), must be at least 18 years of age, and must be willing to commit to all associated duties of the residency. The High Plains Library District boundary as specified in establishment documents is coterminous with the Weld County boundary plus the Town of Erie (including the portion in Boulder County) and excluding the Windsor RE-4 school district (Clearview Library District), and the City of Dacono.

Click to see larger map.


Writer In Residence duties include:

  • Appear at HPLD events
  • Work with HPLD staff to develop relevant programming
  • Work with HPLD staff to create content (social media posts, blog posts, email blasts etc. )
  • Agree to MOU
  • Commit to nine continuous months of residency

Applications are reviewed in a blind judging process by a committee of local writing professionals. High Plains Library District resident will be announced no later than April of each residency year.

2019 Writer in Residence 

Laura Brashear has been reading and writing stories for as long as she can remember. One of her first stories, bound and made official by her first grade principal, was titled, My Dog Bo.

She loves the freedom reading and writing allows, from creating characters to conveying life truths. This passion led her to complete a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. Laura is excited about her nonfiction project which affords her the opportunity to share her husband’s unexpected journey with leukemia and the profound impact their family’s love of horses had on his recovery.

Laura is a lifelong resident of Colorado and has lived in the Fort Lupton area for over thirty years, where she and her husband raise their three children and train horses. They live on a farm with cattle, chickens, ducks, three dogs, a cat, and a guinea fowl hen named Kevin. She is currently sharing her knowledge with students at Aims Community College, where she is a Writing Tutor and Adjunct Instructor teaching composition.

View press release here

Past Writers in Residence

2018 Writer in Residence 

Julia McSherry was selected by a volunteer panel to serve as the District’s third Writer In Residence. McSherry is a freelance writer based in Greeley, originally from Louisiana. She makes her home on a small acreage with her two dogs, two horses, two barn cats and a flock of free range hens.  She loves to cook and is passionate about slow food and fast (fresh) ingredients. An avid gardener, she was a Colorado Master Gardener, Weld County, for five years.

The book she will be working on during her residency is a combination memoir/cookbook, titled Catch and Devour, about her relocation from New Orleans to Greeley after Hurricane Katrina. She loves the West and hopes to capture some of the charm afforded by the unique agriculture, high plains and mountain landscape of northern Colorado. The narrative before and after recipes will tell stories related to cooking, farm life, sustainability, healthy growing and eating and slow rather than fast food. Excerpts of the book will be published online through a blog and eventually in print.

“Where I grew up in central Louisiana and then lived for decades in the New Orleans swampland, hunting and fishing was a way of life. With that, so was cooking game and fish,” says McSherry. “Colorado has a similar history of living off the land, whether it’s through raising cattle, growing crops as a farmer or vegetables as a backyard gardener. Cooking and recipes are part of the stories of our lives. Who doesn’t remember their mother’s gumbo (in my case), their grandmother’s biscuits, or a favorite aunt’s chocolate chip cookies? Food and cooking conjure stories,” McSherry stresses.

“The High Plains Library District Writer in Residence Program is a wonderful symbiosis,” McSherry emphasizes. The residency provides an opportunity for writers to have time to write while also contributing to the community through library programs and events.

View press release here

2017 Writer in Residence

On behalf of HPLD, a volunteer committee selected Chris Muscato as its second Writer in Residence. Muscato is an adjunct professor at the University of Northern Colorado. He first came to Greeley as an undergraduate student, left to earn a master’s degree in Mexican history from the University of Wyoming, and is thrilled to be back in this community. Chris is also a contract writer for Study.com, creating online lessons about history, architecture, art, music, and literature.  When not writing, teaching, or grading, Chris spends time with his wife Kristin and his dog Buddy enjoying all that colorful Colorado has to offer.

Read an excerpt from Chris’s writing here.

2016 Writer in Residence

During her residency, Jaydine Rendall completed two books in her High Plains Heroes series. The young adult fiction novels are set in the plains of Northern Colorado during the late 1800s. The three-book series was given a publishing contract with the first novel set for release in early 2017. More information about Jaydine’s work and her residency experience can be found here.

Subsequent questions about the residency can be sent to Abby Yeagle, Foundation Director, please submit the form below: