The Kerouac Project: Scoring Orlando Literary Cool Points!

Hello Beautiful Thinkers,

6a00d8341c630a53ef01538e64e7d6970b-800wiHere in Orlando there is a thing called The Kerouac Project, a residency program for writers to come and stay in the once home of Jack Kerouac himself.  I thought it was pretty cool to have that type of program run out of what should be a city landmark, so I looked into the history of the project and it proved to be pretty interesting.  For a long while after Kerouac lived there the house remained unnoticed by the city or biographers; it simply became part of the lore of the northwest neighborhood of College Park that the famous author had lived in the area.  Apparently not many people know the exact details and it became one of those “a friend of a friend told me” type situations.

OTR Penguin 90 coverIn 1996 a reporter by the name of Bob Kealing took an interest in the house.  He called John Sampas, Kerouac’s brother-in-law and estate executor, to get confirmation on the rumors of the house.  Sampas knew the exact address of the house where Kerouac actually lived with his mother in 1957.  According to Kealing this house was where Kerouac lived when his classic On the Road was published and where he typed the original manuscript of his sequel Dharma Bums.

After reading Kealing’s article about his discovery of the house in 1997, local bookshop owners Marty and Jan Cummins approached him with the idea of the Kerouac Project.  They proposed buying the house, fixing it up, and turning it into a haven where up-and-coming writers could stay while working on their own poetry or writings.  Fortunately they found benefactors who helped them put a down payment on the house.  After an article about the project was printed in USA Today they gained the last of the money needed to purchase the property from Jeffery Cole, a long time fan of Kerouac.

The project had a very successful kick-off event attended by Kerouac’s friend and musical collaborator David Amram.  Kealing and Cole both did readings of Kerouac’s work. Since it’s founding, the project has been noticed by many media sources including The LA Times, The Boston Globe, CNN, and National Public Radio.


Applications for the Kerouac house are accepted year-round but are only reviewed after the deadline.  The current deadline for the 2013-2014 residencies is fast approaching on March 31, 2013.  The results of which applicants earned their place at the Kerouac house will be announced in May.  The Kerouac Project holds four residencies a year divided into seasons:

Fall: September, October, and November

Winter: December, January, and February

Spring: March, April, and May

Summer: June, July, and August

If you’re an emerging author interested in a residency or just looking to attend an event at this historical house check out the Kerouac Project online.  It’s an interesting piece of Orlando’s literary culture and history.

photo-1Keep Learning Beautiful Thinkers,

The Boy In The Heart Shades

PS Kerouac must have been a cat whisperer because I couldn’t get the cat in my picture to pose like the one in his.

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