Katie Heaney Selected for Amtrak Residency Program

By Sama Imran Ilyas

Katie Heaney, a writer and Phi Beta Kappa member, has been chosen to participate in the Amtrak Residency program. Amtrak has selected twenty-four writers out of 16,000 applicants to participate in their program. The writers, chosen by four judges, were from across the country and from different backgrounds. As part of the program, the writers will work on their projects in a special workspace of a long-distance Amtrak train.

Amtrak hopes the selected writers will find inspiration while traveling on their trains during the residency program. Each rider will be able to embark on round trip travels, fully equipped with accommodations that include beds, desks, and outlets. Not only will the writers have a unique and designated space to work on their projects, but they will also be embarking on an adventure. 

Heaney is a graduate from Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of Minnesota. She is the author of the novel Never Have I Ever.This was her first book, published by Grand Central Publishing. An excerpt is available on Huffington Post. Many readers have praised Heaney for being honest, relatable, and funny. Her novel is a memoir and includes her retrospective on finding love. The book showcases many characters, including Heaney’s friends and crushes. It is also written in a journalistic style. The book is a compilation of essays of Heaney’s dating stories from her childhood to the age of twenty-five.

Katie Heaney was also featured in an interview with Urban Outfitters, in which she discussed her first book. In the interview, Heaney says that she hopes her take-home message reaches young women everywhere: “Young women shouldn’t feel bad about being single or wanting to be single and actively not wanting a relationship. It’s perfectly fine to prioritize other things in your life.”

Heaney is currently working on a new novel entitled Dear Emma, to be released in 2016. She is also an editor at BuzzFeed, where she is responsible for the “Reading between texts” series. In the series, she analyzes different short text messages and discusses the hidden meanings behind them (in a humorous manner). At BuzzFeed, Heaney has edited over 500 posts. She has also written for New York Magazine and Pacific Standard. In case you can’t get enough of her, she also runs her own blog. Phi Beta Kappa congratulates Katie Heaney on her selection for the Amtrak Residency program!


Amtrak’s Coast Starlight (above) offers daily roundtrips between Vancouver to Emeryville with Thruway service to San Francisco.

Sama Imran Ilyas is a senior at the University of Florida. She was elected into Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year. The University of Florida is home to the Beta chapter of Florida of Phi Beta Kappa.