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Fellowships opportunities for writers.

The Writer’s Center has developed a list of writing fellowships for your reference.

Please note that this page is a reference for writers. We do not partner with the following organizations. Also, these opportunities are subject to change, so be sure to visit the websites for more information.

The Writer’s Center Compass Fellowship

What it is: Our renewed fellowship program will introduce a new writer each year to our writing family, to help guide them along the next steps on their path, with $1000 in credits toward any TWC workshops within a two-year period, a $300 cash stipend, and more.

Who’s it for: Applicants must be local in the DMV area and be able to travel to Bethesda.

The Writer’s Center says: If you’re a writer or an aspiring writer looking for where to go next, The Writer’s Center Compass Fellowship is a great place to start!

National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships

What it is: The National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships offer $25,000 grants in fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry to enable creative writers to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement.

Who’s it for: To be eligible, you have to be a citizen of the United States, you can’t have received two or more fellowships from the National Endowment from the Arts, you can’t have received the creative writing fellowship on or after January 1, 2014, and you must have published a book within the last seven years.

The Writer’s Center says : This is the nationally recognized fellowship that writers are vying for every year. Note that the genres alternate each year, with prose fellowships offered in odd years, and poetry fellowships in even years.

Mother Jones’s Ben Bagdikian Fellowship

What it is: Mother Jones offers an annual fellowship program that is “a crash course in investigative journalism.” The Ben Bagdikian Fellowship is a full-time position lasting approximately one year, beginning on the first Monday in December and running through late November. Fellows receive a $3,250 monthly stipend.

Who’s it for: Those who are still in school or are only available part-time are not eligible, nor can fellowships be used for course credit. Because the first two weeks of the fellowship consist of intensive group trainings, all applicants, without exception, must be prepared to start on the first Monday in December. Mother Jones is not able to furnish work visas for applicants from outside the United States.

The Writer’s Center says : This is a demanding position that will enable participants to get significant experience in investigative journalism.

Provincetown Fine Arts Center Fellowship

What it is: The Provincetown Fine Arts Center offers 20 seven-month residencies each year to emerging visual artists, fiction writers, and poets, each of whom receive an apartment, a studio (for visual artists), and a monthly stipend of $1,000 plus an exist stipend. Residencies run from October 1 through April 30.

Who’s it for: Visual artists, fiction writers, and poets.

The Writer’s Center says : This is one of the only non-MFA programs that support writers and artists for more than a month at a time.

The Kenyon Review Fellowship

What it is: The Kenyon Review offers a two-year fellowship that comes with a $35,000+ stipend and health benefits that will enable the fellow to undertake a significant writing project; teach one class per semester in the English department of Kenyon College; assist with creative and editorial projects for the Kenyon Review ; and participate in the cultural life of Kenyon College.

Who’s it for: Applicants must possess an MFA or PhD in creative writing, English literature, or comparative literature. They must have experience teaching creative writing and/or literature at the undergraduate level.

The Writer’s Center says : This is a fantastic opportunity for early-career writers to receive time and space to write, as well as teaching experience.

The Loft’s McKnight Artist Fellowship

What it is: The Loft presents five $25,000 awards annually to accomplished Minnesota writers and spoken word artists. Four awards alternate annually between creative prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) and poetry/spoken word. The fifth award is presented in children’s literature and alternates annually for writing for ages eight and under and writing for children older than eight.

Who’s it for: Applicants must have been legal residents of Minnesota for the 12 months prior to the application deadline and must currently reside in Minnesota.

The Writer’s Center says : This is a generous grant that will enable Minnesota writers to produce more creative work.

Bucknell Stadler Fellowship

What it is: Bucknell University offers a 10-month fellowship that provides a stipend of at least $33,000 and health insurance. The program offers two distinct tracks: one a fellowship in literary editing and a fellowship in literary arts administration . Applicants can apply to one or the other. Both fellowships are designed to balance the development of professional skills with time to complete a first book of poems. Fellows serve for 20 hours each week during the academic year. The balance of the fellows’ time is reserved for writing.

Who’s it for: Poets who have recently received an MFA or MA in poetry.

The Writer’s Center says : If you are an early career poet and you aren’t interested in teaching, this is a noteworthy opportunity to get significant experience with literary arts administration or literary editing while receiving time and space to work on a poetry collection.

Nieman Fellowships

What it is: Each year, the Nieman Foundation awards paid fellowships of $75,000 to up to 24 journalists working in print, broadcast, digital, and audiovisual media. Those selected for the program spend two full semesters at Harvard auditing classes; they are also able to audit classes at other local universities including MIT and Tufts. The Nieman Foundation also provides some financial support for health insurance and childcare. Fellows are not eligible for health care insurance through Harvard University.

Who’s it for: All applicants for Nieman Fellowships must be working journalists with at least five years of full-time media experience. During the two years prior to applying, an applicant should not have participated in a fellowship lasting four months or longer.

The Writer’s Center says : This is a generous fellowship that enables journalists to deepen their knowledge in an area of interest or several areas of interest.

James Jones Fellowship

What it is: The James Jones First Novel Fellowship, in the amount of $10,000, is awarded annually to an American writer of a novel-in-progress who has not previously published a novel. The Fellowship is co-sponsored by the James Jones Literary Society and the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing of Wilkes University.

Who’s it for: An American writer who has never published a novel. This includes self-published novels.

The Writer’s Center says : This award provides invaluable monetary support for novelists with a work in progress.

The Hodder Fellowship

What it is: The Hodder Fellowship will be given to artists and writers of exceptional promise to pursue independent projects at Princeton University during the academic year. An $86,000 stipend is provided for this 10-month appointment as a Visiting Fellow; no formal teaching is involved.

Who’s it for: Composers, choreographers, performance artists, visual artists, writers, translators, or other kinds of artists. Most successful Fellows have published a book or have similar achievements in their own fields.

The Writer’s Center says : Unlike fellowships that involve teaching or literary administration, this is a generous award for artists solely pursuing independent projects.

PEN America Emerging Voices Fellowship

What it is: The Emerging Voices Fellowship provides a virtual five-month immersive mentorship program for early-career writers from communities that are traditionally underrepresented in the publishing world. The program is committed to cultivating the careers of Black writers, and serves writers who identify as Indigenous, persons of color, LGBTQ+, immigrants, writers with disabilities, and those living outside of urban centers.

Who’s it for: Underrepresented early-career writers.

The Writer’s Center says : This program lifts up writers who deserve recognition, demystifying the publishing process and introducing them to editors, agents, and publishers.

Persephone Miel Fellowship

What it is: The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting will provide a grant of $5,000 for a reporting project on topics and regions of global importance, with an emphasis on issues that have gone unreported or underreported in the mainstream media.

Who’s it for: The Persephone Miel Fellowships are open to all journalists, writers, photographers, radio producers or filmmakers, staff journalists, as well as freelancers and media professionals outside the U.S. and Western Europe who are seeking to report from their home country but would like to broaden the reach of their reporting by publishing it in international outlets. Applicants must be proficient in English.

The Writer’s Center says : This grant gives a journalist an invaluable opportunity to explore an issue that goes unreported or underreported in mainstream media.

Wallace Stegner Fellowship

What it is: Stanford offers ten two-year fellowships each year, five in fiction and five in poetry. All the fellows in each genre convene weekly in a 3-hour workshop with faculty. Fellowships include a living stipend. Fellows’ tuition and health insurance are paid for by the Creative Writing Program.

Who’s it for: Candidates must live close enough to Stanford to be able to attend workshops, readings, and events.

The Writer’s Center says : This is a non-degree granting opportunity for a writer to get regular feedback from established poets and fiction writers.

Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship

What it is: The Center’s Patrick Henry History Fellowship includes a $45,000 stipend, health benefits, faculty privileges, a book allowance, and a nine-month residency (during the academic year) in a historic 18th-century house in Chestertown, Md.

Who’s it for: Applicants should have a significant project currently in progress — a book, film, oral history archive, podcast series, museum exhibition, or similar work. The project should address the history and/or legacy – broadly defined – of the U.S. founding era and/or the nation’s founding ideas. It might focus directly on early America, or on the myriad ways the questions that preoccupied the nation’s founding generation have shaped America’s later history. Work that contributes to ongoing national conversations about America’s past and present, with the potential to reach a wide public, is particularly sought.

The Writer’s Center says : This fellowship enables applicants to deeply explore a particular historical topic of Washington College’s choosing.

Scripps Fellowship

What it is: This is a non-degree, two-semester program that allows fellows to take environmental journalism classes at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Who’s it for: The fellowship is open to full-time journalists working in any medium who are interested in deepening and broadening their knowledge of environmental issues. It is aimed at outstanding journalists committed to a career in professional journalism. Applicants must have a minimum of five years of full-time professional journalism experience and have completed an undergraduate degree.

The Writer’s Center says : This is a fantastic opportunity for journalists who are interested in environmental issues.

Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellowship

What it is: The Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing offers up to five internationally competitive nine-month fellowships each year. Typically, we award two fiction fellowships (the James C. McCreight Fiction Fellowship and the Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellowship), and two poetry fellowships (the Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellowship and the Ronald Wallace Poetry Fellowship). Additionally, the Institute offers one third-year MFA fellowship — the Hoffman-Halls Emerging Artist Fellowship — to a current student of UW-Madison, through a closed competition. Each of these fellowships carries with it a stipend of at least $39,000 paid in 9 equal installments beginning October 1, generous health benefits, and a one-course-per-semester teaching assignment in undergraduate creative writing.

Who’s it for: Applicants who have published only one full-length collection of creative writing; unpublished applicants are also eligible.

The Writer’s Center says : This fellowship gives a poet and fiction writer time and space to write, as well as teaching experience.

Grub Street’s Emerging Writer Fellowship

What it is: The Emerging Writer Fellowship aims to develop new, exciting voices by providing three writers per year tuition-free access to GrubStreet’s classes and Muse & the Marketplace conferences.

Who’s it for: Anyone over the age of 18 who demonstrates ability and passion for writing is eligible.

The Writer’s Center says : Much like The Writer’s Center Compass Fellowship, GrubStreet’s program enables writers to advance their craft while eliminating the financial barriers to entry.

Emory University Creative Writing Fellowship

What it is: Emory University offers two-year fellowships in fiction, poetry, and playwriting. The teaching load is 2-1, and the fellowship comes with a $45,000 salary and health benefits.

Who’s it for: Anyone who has received an MFA or Ph.D. in the last five years, and who has creative writing teaching experience, a record of publication, and a first book published or underway.

The Writer’s Center says : This is an opportunity for recent graduates of a creative writing program to gain teaching experience as well as space and time to work on their creative projects.

international creative writing fellowship

  • Fully-Funded Programs
  • Fellowships, Grants, & Scholarships
  • Workshops, Retreats, & Residencies
  • Organizations, Conferences, & Festivals
  • Websites, Podcasts, & Social Media
  • Books, Magazines, & Media

Fellowships, Grants, & Scholarships

A collection of fellowships, grants, and scholarships for creative writing.

Here you will find a variety of opportunities to support your writing pursuits, whether you are a student, established writer, or emerging talent. Our selection includes funding for fiction, poetry, nonfiction, playwriting, and more. Explore the options below to find the perfect fit for your writing goals. 

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | #  

  • Akademie Schloss Solitude
  • Anisfield-Wolf Fellowship
  • Bennett Fellowship at Exeter
  • Gaius Charles Bolin Fellowship
  • CAAP Creative Writing Fellowship
  • Dalton Creative Writing Program Fellowship
  • Barbara Deming Memorial Fund
  • Emory Creative Writing Fellowship
  • The Hodder Fellowship
  • Kenan Visiting Writer
  • Kenyon Review Fellowship
  • Ruth Lily and Dorothy Sargent Rosenburg Poetry Fellowship
  • Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Washington
  • National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship
  • Olive B. O’Connor Fellowship
  • Penn State, Altoona, Emerging Writer-in-Residence
  • Princeton Arts Fellowship
  • Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship
  • Radcliffe Institute Fellowship
  • Wallace Stegner Fellowship
  • Stadler Fellowship
  • Steinbeck Fellows Program
  • Sustainable Arts Foundation Awards
  • Reginald S. Tickner Writing Fellowship
  • Tulsa Artist Fellowship
  • The Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellowship

Resource Submission

Please use the form below to share helpful resources, or updates to resources, that should be added to the site.. Thank you for contributing to the community and helping expand our awareness. 

Aspiring Author

Unique and Inspiring International Writing Residencies

Author: Shannon Bowring Updated: December 19, 2023

International writing residencies by the sea with palm trees

Here in Part II of our Writing Residency Series , we have curated, by country, 21 unique and inspiring international writing residencies (refer to Part I for 25 unique and inspiring writing residencies in the United States .) International writing residencies provide time and space for aspiring authors to focus on our creative work and take place in some of the most idyllic, gorgeous settings around the world. We remind you to always refer to a residency’s website for their most up-to-date information and submission guidelines.

Below, in alphabetical order, are our top 20 international writing residencies. We have also included a section on multi-country international writing residencies, for the globetrotters among us.

The Narrows Artist Residency

Located near Kootenay Lake in British Colombia, this residency is only accessible by boat, so writers must be comfortable with semi-isolation. Residents stay in shared or private accommodations for 3-4 months. Artists are responsible for travel, lodging, and meals, but scholarships are available.

Red Gate Residency

Residents stay in self-contained apartments on the north side of Beijing from 1 to 6 months. Bicycles are available for residents to explore the local neighborhoods. Residents are provided with airport pickup, a welcome dinner, guidebooks and maps, and access to Red Gate Gallery events. Though funding and scholarships are unavailable, the program can help residents apply for grants and other outside funding.

Arteles Creative Center

Four residency programs, held in Hämeenkyrö, run from 1-3 months and comprise 11-14 artists per group. Residents have access to wireless internet, a car, bikes, and private bedrooms, as well as a meditation space and sauna. Group participation is voluntary, and residents are encouraged to use their time as they wish. Surrounded by forests, fields, and lakes, writers are sure to find both peace and inspiration. Fees range from €1950 to €2980 per month. Financial aid is available.

The Camargo Foundation

Located in Cassis, at the edge of the Mediterranean, this program provides time, space, and beautiful surroundings in which to work. A panel selects 18 residents to attend this program. Fellowships span 6-11 weeks. Fellows must participate in project discussions and are encouraged to engage with the local community. A stipend of €250 per week is provided, as is funding for transportation to and from the residency. In the case of air travel, basic coach class booked in advance is covered.

Chateau Saint-Pierre de Mejans

This medieval chateau and wine estate in the south of France offers an inspirational Writer in Residence program. Situated amidst the olive trees and vines, and with gardens replete with art sculptures, get lost in this charming castle that’s sure to unlock your creativity. A residency lasts from one to three weeks from November to March, and costs €300 per week (partners can stay for an additional fee).

La Napoule Art Foundation

Several different residencies are offered each year at the Château de La Napoule, just outside Cannes on the Côte d’Azur. Residents are housed in single rooms, with private baths and sea or garden views. Breakfast and dinner are provided on weekdays, and residents have access to the kitchen to store and prepare their own meals. Residents receive workspace and a stipend.

Studio Faire

Residents stay in the Gascony market town of Nérac, in Southwest France, in a mansion built around 1830. Accommodation is provided on a self-catering basis, and residents are given full use of a fully fitted kitchen. Residencies last from 2-4 weeks—the longer you stay, the less you pay, with 4 weeks starting at around €44 per night.

Words and Wanderlust

More a retreat than a residency, writers convene for six days in Tbilisi, located in the picturesque Caucasus Mountains. Writers stay at a boutique hotel and attend guided workshops with award-winning authors. Airport transfers, guided tours, and some meals are provided.

Located on the former border of East and West Berlin, in a historic building originally designed to be a school, residencies take place for either three or six months. Residents are provided with private studio space, which doubles as a bedroom and workshop. Bathrooms and kitchen are shared. Costs for food and travel are the residents’ responsibility.

Event Horizon Crete

Residencies ranging from one week to three months are offered year-round on five acres of olive groves in Crete. Residents receive lodging, which includes options in a traditional Cretan house, a converted stone windmill, and two caravans. Residents also have access to nearby beaches and towns, including Fourni Village, Neapolis, and Mirabello Bay. Work space is provided. Lodging ranges from €25-45 per night. Food and travel expenses are not included.

Located in a quiet village about 70 kilometers from Reykjavik, this residency is accessible year-round. Accommodations are family-friendly and range from single rooms to studio apartments. Residents have access to modern facilities, Wi-Fi, and incredible views of Laugarvatn Lake and the Hekla volcano. The minimum stay is one month, and costs range from €850-€1450.

The Westfjords Residency

Residencies are available from May to September in the remote village of Thingeyri, located about 500 kilometers north of Reykjavik. Residencies are self-organized, and residents are responsible for their own food, transportation, and work schedule. Accommodations and workspace (sometimes shared) are provided.

Tyrone Guthrie Centre

Residencies are offered in Annaghmakerrig, on 450 acres of mature woodland amid the lakes and drumlins of County Monaghan. Residents can stay in ‘The Big House’ for one month and up to two months in the self-catering Farmyard Cottages. Residents also have access to a library and drawing room. Costs vary depending on length of stay and writer’s country of origin, but some financial aid is available.

Bogliasco Foundation

One-month Fellowships are awarded to individuals of all ages and nationalities who have made significant contributions in the arts and humanities. Fellows stay and work in a small fishing village near Genoa, with stunning views of the Mediterranean. Fellows are provided with a private room, a workspace, and full board. All meals are shared. Though there is no cost for the residency, Fellows are responsible for their own travel.

360 Xochi Quetzal

Ideal for writers who want to create their own experience, this residency offers private live/work spaces in the Garden of Dreams Boutique Hotel in Ajijic, Jalisco on Lake Chapala, located about 30 minutes from the Guadalajara airport. Rather than a formal application, writers make their own reservations for their preferred space and time. Residents have access to a solar-heated swimming pool, the tranquil garden, and daily continental breakfast. Costs vary depending on duration of stay, which can range from 2 weeks to 4 months.

Buinho Creative Hub Residencies

Residencies of two weeks to three months are offered year-round in the historic town of Messejana. Residents are provided with private lodging and shared work space in one of three traditional Portuguese houses. The cost to attend this residency ranges from €650-800; transportation and meals are not included.

Multi-country international writing residencies

Roostergnn artist residency.

ROOSTERGNN holds residencies in Madrid, Spain , and Havana, Cuba . Accommodations are provided, as well as work facilities, some meals, and a bilingual orientation coordinator. Fees vary from €950-€1200 for ten nights.

Wide Open Writing

In 2022 and 2023, Wide Open Writing will host retreats in Isla Holbox, Mexico ; Tuscany, Italy ; and Whitehead Island, Maine . Group size varies between 8-14 writers. Retreat fees vary, but payment plans are available.

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Stanford University

Wallace Stegner Fellowship

*The application for the 2024-2026 fellowship is now closed. Applications for the 2025-2027 fellowship will open on September 1 and close on November 1.*

For application updates, join our Stegner Fellowship email list

Unique among writing programs, Stanford University offers 10 two-year fellowships each year, 5 in fiction and 5 in poetry. All the fellows in each genre convene weekly in a 3-hour workshop with faculty.

Stegner Fellows are regarded as working artists, intent upon practicing and perfecting their craft. The only requirements are writing and workshop attendance. The fellowship offers no degree. We view it as more  of an artist-in-residence opportunity for promising writers to spend two years developing their writing in the company of peers and under the guidance of Stanford  faculty .

In awarding fellowships, we consider the quality of the candidate’s creative work, potential for growth, and ability to contribute to and profit from our writing workshops. Our fellows are diverse in style and experience, with talent and seriousness the true common denominators.

  • We do not require any degrees or tests for admission
  • No school of writing is favored over any other
  • Applicants must be at least 18 years old

The Stegner Fellowship is a full-time academic commitment and is not intended to be pursued concurrently with another degree program. The fellowship includes a living stipend, and a fellow's tuition and health insurance are paid for by the Creative Writing Program. A f ellow must live close enough to Stanford in order to attend workshops, readings, and events.

At a Glance

  • 2-year fellowship; admissions are staggered so there are 10 first year fellows and 10 second year fellows at Stanford each year
  • Fellows must write and attend a 3-hour weekly workshop
  • Workshop coincides with Stanford's  academic calendar ; fellows have the summer off to work, write, or travel
  • Though similar in some ways to a MFA program, the fellowship does not offer a degree
  • Includes a $50,000 living stipend
  • Applications are available to all who are interested; all applicants are notified of fellowship decisions in April

Application window: opens on September 1 and closes on November 1 at 11:59 pm PST (November 2 at 2:59 am EST)


Anyone interested in the Stegner Fellowship is welcome to apply! Prior book publication is not required; note that prior publication may suggest a career that has advanced beyond the point when the fellowship’s instruction and workshop critique are most useful in a writer's development.

Yes. Anyone may apply, regardless of nationality. If accepted, you’re considered at Stanford to be a non-matriculated graduate student for visa purposes. We’ll work with you to obtain a J-1 visa.

Fellows must be 18 years old when they start the fellowship. Historically, we have accepted people as young as 22 and as old as 75.


Primarily, Stegner Fellows are required to attend weekly, faculty-led workshops and to write, revise, and then write again, with the goal of a finished manuscript ready for publication. As part of the workshop, fellows are expected to actively engage with their cohort's work by reading and thoughtfully commenting on pieces presented.

However, to enrich one’s fellowship experience, we encourage all fellows to attend various reading events and lecture series hosted by our program. In the past, we’ve enjoyed the presence of guest speakers such as Zadie Smith, David Treuer, Gilbert King, Mary Ruefle, and Hilton Als. We also host public readings and colloquiums for our annual visiting poet-in-residence and visiting writer-in-residence .

During the first year of their fellowship, the fellows participate in the  Stegner Fellow Reading series , where they give a public reading of their work. It’s also possible for fellows to TA undergraduate courses, facilitate writing workshops, and offer special tutorials and independent studies to our undergraduate students.

Yes, one must live close enough to the Stanford main campus to attend weekly workshops, as well as readings and lectures by the program's visiting poets and writers.

The purpose of the fellowship is to give writers as much time as possible to work on their writing, free from the time constraints of full-time employment. Holding a full-time job during the fellowship runs counter to the intention of the program.

The fellowship is a 2-year program and includes a living stipend of $50,000 per academic year. Our program also pays for each fellow’s tuition and health insurance.

The Bay Area is a very expensive place to live. Realistically, an individual needs some form of supplemental income, which commonly means working during the summer.

Sometimes. Teaching appointments are not guaranteed, as priority goes to Ph.D. students who need the experience for their degree.

If you have questions about our fellowship, there are several ways to get answers:

  • Peruse our Application FAQ page
  • Email us at stegnerfellowship [at] (stegnerfellowship[at]stanford[dot]edu)
  • Or visit us in our main office: Margaret Jacks Hall (Building 460), Room 223

Thank you for your interest in the Wallace Stegner Fellowship!

Make a Living Writing


international creative writing fellowship


international creative writing fellowship


  • Writing Fellowships for 2024 Now Accepting Applications

Erin Duchesne

What is a Writing Fellowship? 

How to apply to a writing fellowship , research fellowships, review eligibility requirements, build a portfolio, write a personal statement/proposal, ask for letters of recommendation , carefully fill out your application , prepare for interviews , writing fellowships for 2024.

Are you an aspiring or professional writer? Are you looking for an opportunity to focus on your craft and get paid while doing it? If this describes you than applying for writing fellowships might be a good fit for you and your goals. 

If you are already working on a passion project or have an idea in your head, there are plenty of writing fellowships for the 2024 season you can apply for. 

A writing fellowship is a fantastic opportunity for creative talents to pursue research and projects in their area of expertise. A fellowship is a short-term employment contract offered by an institution, often a university that usually lasts for one or two academic years. 

Every writing fellowship is different in terms of eligibility, expectations, and compensation. There are fellowships looking for writing professionals in a very specific niche or industry, but many fellowships are open to any type of creative field.

Depending on the fellowship, the successful candidate may be granted with opportunities such as teaching or attending courses at the university and give public readings of their work during their contract. 

Writing fellowships pay their fellows a stipend that is usually enough to be able to commit their full attention to their work. While it varies, it is common to be provided or assisted with finding accommodation, studio space, and often benefits, travel and/or moving allowances. 

As with anything, it is important to do your research and find the right writing fellowships before applying. 

If the idea of becoming a writing fellow truly excites you, then it is time to look at how to research and apply to fellowships and snag a coveted spot. Writing fellowships are a great opportunity to perfect your craft and contribute to your field while getting financial support. This also means that they can be very competitive with so many talented applicants who want the same thing as you. 

With careful preparation, you can stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of success. Again, every fellowship is different, but here are some general guidelines of what it takes to apply for writing fellowships. 

Research carefully!

The first step in any process is to do lots of research before making any decisions. There are writing fellowships all over the world with different start dates and lengths in different subject areas. Find some that align with your wants and needs that you are excited to apply for.

Don’t apply for a fellowship that would require you to move across the country (or the world) if you are not prepared to do so!

Found a writing fellowship that you think you would be perfect for? Before investing time and money into the lengthy application process be sure to thoroughly read the eligibility requirements.

Each fellowship has its own specific criteria for who can apply including experience, citizenship, location, etc. Ensure you fit all of the eligibility requirements before applying. 

A major factor of how fellows are chosen is based on their portfolio . The selection committee wants to see your creativity, quality of work, writing style, and skill to determine if you are the right fit for the fellowship program. 

Aside from your application form and portfolio , many fellowship programs will either ask for a project proposal or personal statement describing yourself, your passion for writing, your accomplishments and your intentions for the fellowship. 

Remember to be thorough and authentic while being diligent to follow all of the requirements of the proposal or statement. 

Many writing fellowships want to get a better sense of you and your work ethic from third party sources. That’s where letters of recommendation come in. Reach out to mentors, professors, and supervisors who will be willing and able to attest to your character and abilities. 

Once you have compiled all of your documents and reached out to people who can support you, it is time to carefully fill out any further application forms. Remember to review all of your application documents for accuracy to avoid any unexpected hiccups in the process and be sure to submit everything before the deadline. 

Some fellowships will invite a select few candidates to an interview to finish out the selection process. If the writing fellowships you applied for have an interview component, do not wait until you are invited to start practicing. The more you rehearse telling your story and sharing your work, the easier it will be to nail that interview. 

We have compiled a list of 12 writing fellowships that are accepting applications between now and the end of 2024 to help you get started in your research.

Nieman Fellowships  

  • Application deadline: International applications due December 1; U.S. applications due January 31 
  • Eligibility: Working journalists with five or more years of full-time media experience
  • Payment: $80,000 stipend paid over a nine-month period 

The Steinbeck Fellows Program

  • Application deadline: January 5, 2024
  • Eligibility: Exceptional talent in the areas of creative writing, including fiction, drama, creative nonfiction or biography
  • Payment: $15,000 stipend 

O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism

  • Application deadline: January 19, 2024
  • Eligibility: American journalists with at least five years of professional experience 
  • Payment: $75,000 stipend plus moving, research, and travel allowances

MacDowell Colony Fellowships

  • Application Deadline: February 10, 2024 (fall/winter); September 10, 2024 (spring/summer)
  • Eligibility: Artists and writers at various career stages
  • Payment: Residencies include room, board, and studio space

Scripps Fellowship  

  • Application deadline: March 1 annually
  • Eligibility: American journalists with five or more years of experience working in any medium who are interested in deepening and broadening their knowledge of environmental issues.
  • Payment: $71,000

Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellows

  • Eligibility: Applicants must have completed or be scheduled to complete an MFA or PhD in Creative Writing by August 15 of the fellowship year
  • Payment: $39,000 paid over nine months 

James Jones First Novel Fellowship  

  • Application deadline: March 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: American author who has not yet published a novel
  • Payment: $10,000

The Ben Bagdikian Fellowship Program

  • Application deadline: Spring 2024
  • Eligibility: US citizens able to commit to a year of  full-time work in investigative journalism
  • Payment: $22.68 per hour plus benefits

The Hodder Fellowship

  • Application deadline: September 2024
  • Eligibility: Promising writers and artists 
  • Payment: Academic year at Princeton; $90,000 stipend 

Persephone Miel Fellowship

  • Application deadline: Rolling
  • Eligibility: Open to all journalists, writers, photographers, radio producers, or filmmakers, staff journalists outside the U.S and Western Europe
  • Payment: $5,000 grant 

Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship

  • Application deadline: November 15
  • Eligibility: Writers working on a broad range of topics related to American history and culture 
  • Payment: $45,000 stipend for nine month residency in Chestertown, MD

The Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University

  • Application deadline: November 1
  • Eligibility: Emerging writers in fiction and poetry
  • Payment: $50,000 per academic year (two-year program) plus tuition and benefits

Landing a writing fellowship is an incredible accomplishment and opportunity to focus on your craft. If you think this is an avenue you want to pursue, don’t miss out on your opportunity to apply to some of the exciting writing fellowships for 2024. 

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Residencies, Grants, and Fellowships for Writers: Nailing the Application

Residencies, Grants, and Fellowships for Writers: Nailing the Application

Establishing a sustainable writing life starts with making a compelling case for yourself. Learn from writers who’ve earned competitive opportunities to focus on and expand their craft.

Are you a writer seeking more support from your practice? 

Read this article to get tips on what writing samples to submit, how to write your statement of purpose, and specific success story case studies from accomplished literary writers Jonathan Escoffery , Maggie Millner , and Jemimah Wei . These insights come courtesy of a NYFA Learning panel discussion that was moderated by writer Kyle Carrero Lopez . 

Selecting Quality Writing Samples

Regardless of whether you’re applying for a residency, grant, or fellowship, you’ll want to have quality writing samples to submit with your application. Wei, Millner, and Escoffery offer their advice for what to include below.

“As a writer, you actually do have a gut feeling of what you resonate the most strongly with. It could be something that is more recently aligned with your artistic goals as you mature as an artist,” said Wei. She added: “My poet friend Cindy Juyoung Ok said that for her, she recommends thinking about a writing sample in terms of what you won’t regret submitting. There is so much arbitrariness and luck that comes with being accepted to things, so you might as well give it the most sincere shot you have.”

Millner agreed with Wei that your writing samples should represent who you are and what your goals are as a writer. In Escoffery’s experience, it boils down to what he is most excited about: which could be his “last best piece” that wound up in a magazine or something in manuscript form that no one has yet seen. “It’s what best represents me and where I’m at today as an artist. And it tends to be the thing that actually gets me into the next residency or fellowship program.” 

Poets will most likely submit a packet of poems, either a long poem, a section of a long poem, or a packet of various short, lyric poems. Millner has found success considering the pieces as a whole: “I’ve had more successes putting together work that speaks to each other. So there’s a kind of thematic cohesion.”

This speaks to the people reviewing the work, as Millner points out that “Usually, when fellowship juries are selecting you, they’re selecting you on the basis of their hope that you’re going to make something of substantial size through the opportunity,” adding that “A sample that might represent a sort of microcosm of your larger manuscript is very, very helpful for them to get a sense of what this kind of scope of work might be.”

This type of thinking can apply to fiction writers, too. “If you’re selecting an excerpt versus if you’re selecting a short story or an essay, something that’s inherently self-contained. What you want to facilitate for the jury is a kind of reading experience,” said Millner.

Whatever the discipline, Millner encourages you to think of the reviewer as a reader foremost. “These are readers who you want to have some kind of aesthetic, emotional, and intellectual response to your work. Keep in mind that you’re trying to facilitate an experience that has a holism and an arc to it.”

Escoffery underscores the importance of engaging the reader early on. “Readers don’t have a lot of time to sit with your work and consider it. If they know the setting, the main characters, and what the conflict is as early as possible, you can ground them very quickly in your story.”

imogen, wearing bleach-purple flannel, black top & leather pants, gestures while reading onstage at Blue Moon.

Getting Feedback and Revising Drafts

Always polish your work before sending it out into the world. Additional eyes will help you to better understand what resonates with readers and will inform changes that will make your work stronger.

Wei sends her draft to first readers who are both writers and non writers. “The reason why is because, firstly, I want to get the non-industry idea on these things. And I also want to know that my work is connecting with people who aren’t necessarily habitual readers. It is also realizing that there are at least two levels of screening. You have screeners who are probably volunteers or alumni screening the first and second level. So I’m thinking of how my work can appeal to a range of people and then based on feedback do revisions.”

She does at least 10 to 15 revisions before sending it out. “It isn’t necessarily about polishing it for an application. I polish everything, anyway,” she added.

For Millner, this sort of polishing could happen in a workshop, through peer feedback, or through the editorial process when you’ve had a piece published. “Often the work that’s been through a workshop or that’s at least been on your hard drive for a couple of months that you’ve fallen in and out of love with enough times that you can look at slightly more objectively will better serve you.”

Escoffery uses the work of other authors as a litmus test for his work. He typically works in multiple drafts, putting drafts aside and revisiting over time. “The last thing for me is reading the work of authors who I feel like my work is in conversation with and if I read one of their stories or a chapter of their novel and I don’t feel embarrassed when I go back to my own work, I think ‘Wow!’ I think my best stuff right now could possibly sit next to my favorite writer’s stuff. That’s when I feel really confident about it and that it’s probably ready to be seen.”

Refining Your Statement of Purpose

A statement of purpose is the other big part of writing applications. It is basically a way of summarizing who you are as a writer, what you’re looking to do, and why the opportunity you’re applying for can help you to achieve it and accomplish larger future goals.

Escoffery asks himself these questions when considering the statement of purpose: “How do I articulate what I’m trying to accomplish on the page? What contribution am I giving or attempting to give to literature? Are these greater conversations that we’re having as artists in the world?” 

He also encourages you to think of yourself as the main character in a story. “What are the stakes of your story? What are the stakes of you getting or not getting this opportunity? Place yourself in the position so that panelists understand you are perfectly poised for whatever it is they are offering you to take that next step, and oftentimes it could be helpful to copy and paste the mission statement off the website that is describing whatever it is they are offering you.” Really learn about what the opportunity is so that you can highlight how it will not only benefit you, but add value to them. 

Wei suggests tailoring the statement to what you’re applying for, as well as finding ways of again connecting with your readers. “I’ve moved towards being more sincere in my statements because that not only plays with the tone of my writing but also helps readers feel a connection with my work.”

More practically, she advises that you: “Think about what language you’re using in your statements and say something really specific about your work and what you’re trying to do as an artist.” For Wei, it is about communicating her vision of the world, or a vision of what she sees literature should be doing and can possibly be doing.

Millner starts with the “What.” Like, “What is the project that I’m hoping to be working on? Or, in the case of a conference, What’s the project that I’m in the middle of that this experience would really feed?” She notes that while it is incredibly difficult and impressive to simply describe clearly and lucidly what your in-progress project is, the idea of distilling it to its core is crucial.

Once you have the “What,” Millner says to consider the “Why” including questions like “Why is this project necessary to be in the world?” and “Why are you the person to make this work?” After answering the “Why is this project necessary” piece, answer “Why me? This is where you zoom away from the project itself and describe what it is about your experience as a writer, and identity and background as a human, that might equip you to be the person to tell this particular story,” she added.

While most application statements have a 1-2 page limit, Wei says to write long and then boil it down. “Because that is actually you explaining to yourself what you’re trying to do.” It may help you feel less intimidated when writing to feel less hemmed in by page count.

Escoffery, who keeps a five-page master document that he excerpts depending on the opportunity, highlights that these statements evolve with time. “The first one I really wrote was for my MFA applications, and it was terrifying. But you keep those documents, and you continue to revise them, and you continue to add your experience, and you continue to elaborate on your life journey. It gets easier and it gets better as you revise and revise.” 

Paintings made with oil on panel, with figures are mirror images of each other and were made together at the same time with slight variations at each stage. As we look from one figure to the other, we notice glaring opposites as well as subtle nuances describing their psycho-emotional states.

Tracking Opportunities

Wei spoke about tracking opportunities in an excel sheet as a helpful step to take before starting specific applications. “Keep track of everything that’s out there and keep updating as you go. For new residencies, fellowships, and grants, having a column for what the opportunity is, what the deadlines are, and a bullet point list of what the requirements are is very helpful.” [Editor’s Note: visit our “Find and Track Applications” article for more on this topic!].

Wei also recommends separating these opportunities based on where you are in your career, and thinking about how these opportunities play into the larger network of how you’re building your career. For example, she flagged that a lot of early career opportunities are only really available to writers who are at the very start of their careers. A specific opportunity, like Reese’s Book Club’s LitUp Fellowship , is for writers who are non-agented. There are other unpublished opportunities, like the Elizabeth George Foundation grant in the U.S. and the Deborah Rogers Foundation grant in the UK. “Understanding what category you’re applying for is crucial because these opportunities exist within a larger ecosystem,” she says. 

Case Study: Jemimah Wei & Writing Conferences ( The Sewanee Writers’ Conference )

Transitioning to the topic of conferences, Wei suggests Vanessa Chan’s list of “ 19 Conferences for Emerging and Established Writers ” as a good place to start if you’re new to conferences. 

She encourages you to think about the type of environment that works best for you, cautioning that some conferences are intensely social and may mean hanging out with 100 people for two weeks! Also consider how much it will cost, what funding might be available to you, how genre-specific the conference is, and what it will cover. “A lot of conferences are workshop-centric, and include craft talks and special topic classes. And you get meetings with agents and editors and it’s not like the chance to read your work publicly,” she added.

Diving deeper into application materials, Wei notes that what you submit for a conference differs from what you’ll submit for a workshop. As there are several levels to the decision-making process, she suggests putting something forward with a strong immediate hook since reviewers aren’t obligated to read through to the end. An example of an unconventional beginning Wei shared from the first line of Jami Nakamura Lin’s speculative memoir is: “I was born with blue on my butt and a story in my mouth.” 

This line gives a sense of what the voice of Lin’s memoir might be, and also the voice of her writing sample. Wei also suggests considering the voice of your materials as a whole, creating  a consistency that will best represent you to reviewers.

“When I applied for Sewanee, I was talking about how writing for me is not simply an aesthetic endeavor. It’s something I really care about in terms of writing stories and creating a literary vision that has been hard and which depicts moral contradictions and inherently complicated situations with generosity and compassion. That is something I try to do in my work, and that is something I try to emulate as well,” said Wei.

This sentiment touches on another important aspect that conferences bring: the opportunity to make and foster community. In the past, Wei has noted works that have moved her, linked them to her clarity of vision, and mapped it into a desire to develop enduring relationships that can help her to refine, share, and better her work. She used this approach with Sewanee, connecting it back to why the environment would be helpful.

“It’s really important to think about how you’re going to fit into your community and how you might benefit from being in community at the conferences that you apply for,” she said.

Installation shot of images by Jonathan Gardenhire on a white gallery wall

Case Study: Jonathan Escoffery & Residential Fellowships ( The Wallace Stegner Fellowship )

Escoffery agreed with Wei’s above sentiments on community, seconding that conferences and workshops can play a major role in your writing career on what opportunities might come your way. Not only do you interact with and meet peers, you will meet editors and agents (and potentially future editors, agents, and reviewers!). 

To that end, he suggests building a basic website if you do not already have one with “a short bio or short statement that talks about what kind of writing and art you’re interested in creating, reading, or seeing in the world.” It will help to have that kind of present, because when you start submitting your work and applications it will act as a landing page where people can find you.

Escoffery shifted to his experience with the Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University (where Wei was also a Fellow), citing a couple of other examples including the Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University and the Radcliffe Fellowship at Harvard University. For background, the Stegner Fellowship is a two year program where Fellows are expected to be in residence in the San Francisco Bay area. They select five fiction writers and five poets to participate each year, who receive a $50,000 stipend each year.

From September to June, Fellows attend a weekly writing workshop where participants read and give critical feedback to their peers. Escoffery highlights that the other six days of the week enable participants the freedom to create. After the program concludes, Fellows can apply for lectureships or TA-ships at Stanford. There’s also what’s called the Levinthal Tutorial , which gives Fellows the opportunity to mentor an undergraduate in a directed independent study.

Pivoting back to statement specifics, Escoffery underscores the importance of being a subject matter expert in what you’re trying to do that’s based on your own unique identity. “It could be one big part of it, depending on what it is that you’re writing and when I say identity, that might be your racial or ethnic background. But it could also be your geographic location where it is,” he said.

For example, Escoffery’s first book If I Survive You (Macmillan 2022), which was a Finalist for the 2023 Booker Prize and Longlisted for the 2022 National Book Award for Fiction, and his forthcoming second book take place in Miami, FL. “I grew up in Miami. I’m writing about Jamaicans and Jamaican Americans. I’m a Jamaican American. But you could also talk about your career or education.” 

Though you might not write in your statement about being the first of the only person to be doing a thing or writing a book on a particular topic, Escoffery counsels that you “might talk about being part of a particular wave of writers and artists who are exploring a particular topic that is underexplored.”

He adds that if the topic/s you explore in your work connect back to conversations that are already happening in the national consciousness, it can help your readers to further understand why it’s important to support it. Just be sure to frame it in your statement, making the connections clear.

A portrait of Playwright Lorraine Hansberry in her bed surrounded by a bookshelf and plant/stand.

Case Study: Maggie Millner & Fellowships ( Olive B. O’Connor Fellowship and Stadler Fellowship )

The O’Connor Fellowship and Stadler Fellowships are year-long residential fellowships comparable to the Wisconsin Institute Creative Writing Fellowship or the Wallace Stegner Fellowship (mentioned above). They offer a chunk of writing time, often after an MFA or after a period of generating a lot of material, to hunker down and not have too many responsibilities while getting health insurance and a monthly check to polish up or finish a manuscript.

Millner shared an example statement that she wrote for the O’Connor Fellowship, highlighting a characterization that she included of the Fellowship and what receiving it would mean to her craft and teaching practice. She also included a synopsis of her project, and more about who she is and the work she was doing. For example: “At the time of writing, I’m nearly halfway through a first draft of the book, having written more than 20 poems that feel essential to the project.”

She continued: “Tell them what you need and where you’re at, and the timeline you’re hoping to complete your manuscript by.” Part of the O’Connor Fellowship involved teaching, so she made sure to highlight what she wanted to get out of that aspect of the program. She emphasizes that you thoughtfully tailor your statement to the opportunity to show the panelists that you fully understand what it is and why you are a fit. Particularly for a program that is housed within a university setting, you want to write for your audience, who are department chairs and professors and part of a larger academic community.

For the O’Connor Fellowship, that also meant including her approach to teaching creative writing. “In my statement of purpose, I was really highlighting both my pedagogy and my particular writing project, and where I’m at in my work.”

Additional Resources

  • Poets & Writers’ Submission Calendar – a calendar for contests, residencies, and workshops
  • New Pages – a resource for poets, includes calls for submissions, writing contests, and book prizes
  • Artist Communities “Find a Residency” – a directory for artists, scholars, educators, and other creative professionals
  • Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Contests & Awards – AWP sponsors six contests and provides an extensive listing of grants, awards, and publication opportunities

–Compiled by Amy Aronoff, Senior Communications Officer

You can find more articles on arts career topics by visiting the  Business of Art section of NYFA’s website .  Sign up for NYFA News  and receive artist resources and upcoming events straight to your inbox.

NYFA Learning  provides artists, creators, students, and arts administrators with tools, strategies, and advice for building sustainable careers. We collaborate with organizations, academic institutions, and cultural partners to bring our programs to a broad range of national and international creative communities.

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32 grants and fellowships for writers (up to $75,000).

These are grants/fellowships/residencies for writers of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, for playwrights, and journalists. They’re either open now, or will open soon for applications. None of these charge an application fee, and pay from a few hundred dollars up to $75,000. – S. Kalekar

Brown University’s Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America: Practitioner Fellows This is for artists, media makers, and writers. Their guidelines say, “CSREA invites artists, media makers, and writers whose work focuses on race, ethnicity, and/or indigeneity in the United States to apply to be a Practitioner Fellow for the Spring 2023 academic semester. Fellows will have access to Brown University resources and are invited to contribute to the academic community. Projects should focus at least in part on issues of race, ethnicity, and/or indigeneity in the United States, or U.S.-related transnational contexts.” Also, “This program is a virtual spring semester fellowship. The terms of the program may be subject to change.” Some events are virtual, and some are in-person, according to current guidelines. Value: $10,000 stipend, up to $1,500 each in research/project funds Deadline: 28 February 2022 Open for: Unspecified Details here .

Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center: Writer in Residence The residency includes lodging at a loft apartment in Piggott, Arkansas. The writer-in-residence will also have the opportunity to work in the studio where Ernest Hemingway worked on ‘ A Farewell to Arms’ . The writer is expected to serve as mentor for a week-long retreat for writers at the educational center. Candidates with an MA or MFA in a relevant field are preferred. Value: $1,000, residency Deadline: 28 February 2022 Open for: Unspecified Details here .

A Public Space Writing Fellowship This is an international six-month fellowship for emerging writers, and the aim is “to seek out and support writers who embrace risk in their work and their own singular vision.” Three fellowships will be awarded. Writers get editorial support from A Public Space editors to prepare a piece for publication in the magazine; an honorarium; the opportunity to meet virtually with members of the publishing community, including agents, editors, and published writers; the opportunity to participate in a public reading and conversation with A Public Space editors and contributors. As part of the application process, writers have to submit a prose piece, up to 8,000 words; if selected, the piece submitted will be the piece published in the magazine. Value: $1,000 each Application period: 1-31 March 2022 Open for: Writers who have not yet published or been contracted to write a book-length work Details here (announcement with Submittable link)

Scripps Fellowships for Environmental Journalism Five fellowships are awarded each year at the University of Boulder, Colorado. This is for journalists interested in deepening and broadening their knowledge of environmental issues. Applicants must have a minimum of five years full-time professional journalism experience and have completed an undergraduate degree. Applicants may include reporters, editors, producers, photojournalists, documentarians, and feature writers. Both salaried staff and full-time freelancers are welcome to apply. Prior experience in covering the environment is not required. They welcome applications from international applicants; however, the applicants must be authorized to work in the US to be eligible for this position. Value: $71,000 Deadline: 1 March 2022 Open for: All journalists (see above) Details here (general information), here (FAQ), and here (application portal).

Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship Applicants must have covered international news as a working journalist for print, broadcast, or online media widely available in the United States, and must be US citizens. The Fellow spends nine months full-time in residence at the Council for Foreign Relations’ headquarters in New York. The program enables the Fellow to engage in sustained analysis and writing, expand his or her intellectual and professional horizons, and extensively participate in CFR’s active program of meetings and events. Value: $75,000 and a modest travel grant Deadline: 1 March 2022 Open for: US citizens Details here .

Biographers International Organization: The Frances “Frank” Rollin Fellowship The fellowship is open to all biographers anywhere in the world who are writing in English, who are working on a biography of an African American figure (or figures), and who are at any stage in the writing of a book-length biography. A publishing contract is not required for eligibility. Memoirs are not eligible. The application includes an excerpt of up to 20 pages. The Biographers International Organization also has other awards , some of which are open for all writers, as well as other resources.  Value: $2,000 Deadline: 1 March 2022 Open for: All biographers Details here .

Poetry Foundation: Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships These fellowships are for young poets who are US residents or citizens. Their guidelines say, “Each year, submissions for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships open in March. … In line with the ongoing examination of all existing processes and policies across the Poetry Foundation, the submissions and selection processes will be thoroughly examined and discussed before the Foundation begins accepting applications for the 2022 Fellowships.” Application period: Will likely begin in March 2022 Value: Fellowships of $25,800 each (see here ) Open for: US poets aged 21-31 years Details here (see ‘Information on This Year’s Process at the bottom of the page).

The Creative Capital Awards Submissions for these awards will open in March. They are for US-based artists, and they’ll will be accepting applications for different disciplines each year. The cycle for 2023 includes literature (fiction, poetry, non-fiction, genre-defying literary work, and socially engaged and/or sustainable text-based practices). The theme is ‘Wild Futures: Art, Culture, Impact’. The awards are “designed to assist artists who are working at the vanguard of their fields, or who have ideas to propel their artistic practices forward”. They accept proposals from collaborators, as well. They have extensive guidelines. For this cycle they’ll also accept applications for performing arts (including sound and multimedia performance, and more), and technology (including digital art, gaming, interdisciplinary arts, and more). They will award 50 fellowships per cycle. Value: $50,000 each, and an additional set of services Application period: 1 March-1 April 2022 Open  for: US writers (see guidelines) Details here .

National Endowment for the Arts’ Creative Writing Fellowships This is for US-based writers, and they are accepting applications for poetry this year. While the deadline is 10 th March, they recommend submitting applications early. Several fellowships are awarded. Value: Up to $25,000 Deadline: 10 March 2022 Open for: US writers Details here .

The Joan Shorenstein Fellowship This is a residency/fellowship from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy. “The mission of the Joan Shorenstein Fellowship is to advance research in the field of media, politics and public policy; facilitate a dialogue among journalists, scholars, policymakers and students; provide an opportunity for reflection; … The primary focus for a Fellow is to research, write and publish a paper on a media/politics topic.” Also, “Past fellows include journalists from local, national and international TV, radio, print, and digital media; media and civic technology innovators; nonfiction authors; political advisors and policymakers; leading academic scholars in fields such as media research and political science; and policy analysts. Successful former fellows have come from a variety of backgrounds and career stages.” Applicants must be a working journalist, politician, scholar or policymaker currently or recently active in the field. For the Fall semester, the deadline is in March; for the Spring semester, the deadline is in September. Value: $30,000; residency Deadline: 15 March 2022 Open for: Non-fiction authors and journalists Details here .

Hugo House Writer-in-Residence This residency in Seattle is for practicing, published writers and writing teachers who are experienced working with writers of all levels in a traditional workshop setting, and on a one-on-one basis as a mentor. For this cycle, they are accepting applications for two writers in residence, one for poetry, and one for prose. They should have a specific artistic project they are working on during their residency (e.g., developing a manuscript for publication) and should have a special interest in helping writers become better writers and fostering an appreciation of the craft. The application includes a writing sample. Their guidelines also say, “If you do not meet some of the eligibility requirements, but have demonstrated success in other categories, our panel will weigh the components of your application accordingly. Also, “Writers-in-Residence teach a minimum of two six-week classes per calendar year (subject to approval) as part of the Hugo Classes program and will receive separate compensation for teaching.” Value: $500 per month for 12 months, additional compensation for Hugo Classes Deadline: 31 March 2022 Open for: Published writers Details here .

PEN America: US Writers Aid Initiative This is intended to assist fiction and non-fiction authors, poets, playwrights, screenwriters, translators, and journalists. To be eligible, applicants must be based in the United States, be professional writers, and be able to demonstrate that this one-time grant will be meaningful in helping them to address an emergency situation. Various deadlines are listed for 2022, and the next one is 1 st April. Other deadlines are in June, August, October, and December. Writers do not have to be PEN members to apply. Value: Unspecified Deadline: 1 April 2022 Open for: US writers Details here .

The Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship for Writers These three-month fellowships are to afford writers uninterrupted time to focus on their work at an apartment in Carson McCuller’s childhood home in Columbus, Georgia. A spouse or companion is welcome. The application includes a writing sample of up to 20 pages. Value: $5,000, residency Deadline: 1 April 2022 Open for: Unspecified Details here .

Alpine Fellowship Prizes: Three prizes for creative writers Apart from themed Poetry, Writing, and Theatre prizes detailed below, they also have a Visual Arts Prize , and an Academic Writing Prize . The theme for the 2022 symposium is Freedom . Applicants can enter more than one prize in a single year, but it must be with different pieces of work; one piece of work can only be entered once. — Poetry Prize: This international prize is awarded for poetry on the Freedom theme. Writers can submit one poem or a collection, of up to 500 words. Winners and runners up will be invited to attend the symposium. Value: £3,000 Deadline: 1 April 2022 Open for: All poets Details here and here . — Writing Prize: This international prize is awarded for the best piece of writing on the Freedom theme (up to 2,500 words in any genre except poetry), which is the theme of the 2022 Alpine Fellowship Annual Symposium. The winner and two runners-up will be invited to attend the symposium. Value: £10,000, £3,000, £2,000 Deadline: 1 April 2022 Open for: All writers Details here and here .

— Theatre Prize: This prize is awarded for the best play on the Freedom theme. It is aimed at encouraging theatre writers at the start of their careers to explore and challenge philosophical ideas using the dramatic form. Apart from the cash prize, the winner also gets a rehearsed reading at the Fellowship’s annual Symposium to which they will be invited to attend. Runners up will be invited to attend the symposium to exhibit their work. To apply, applicants must send: 1) A treatment of your idea in response to the theme; up to 500 words; 2) A sample of previous work of at least 10 pages; and 3) A 3-4 sample pages of your proposed script or a 1-2 detailed page synopsis of your story. The final piece must be 45 minutes in length and require no more than four actors. Value: £3,000 Deadline: 1 April 2022 Open for: All playwrights Details here and here .

2022 ALTA Travel Fellowship Each year, fellowships are awarded to emerging translators (someone who does not yet have a book-length work of translation published or under contract) to help them pay for hotel and travel expenses to the annual American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) conference. Part of the application requirement is up to 10 pages of translated work (poetry or prose – see guidelines). Among the fellowships is the Peter K. Jansen Memorial Travel Fellowship,  which is preferentially awarded to an emerging translator of color or a translator working from an underrepresented Diaspora or stateless language. Also see ALTA’s other awards for published works, some of which do not charge a submission fee. Also, “Information about the upcoming conference format, and the format that the annual Travel Fellowships will take, is forthcoming.” Value: $500-1,000 each Deadline: 18 April 2022 Open for: Unspecified Details here and here (scroll down).

Whiting Foundation: Creative Nonfiction Grant Up to 10 grants will be awarded to writers of creative non-fiction books – projects must be under contract with a publisher in the US, UK, or Canada to be eligible. Contracts with self-publishing companies are not eligible. The subjects are history, cultural or political reportage, biography, memoir, the sciences, philosophy, criticism, food or travel writing, graphic nonfiction, and personal essays, among other categories. It is intended for multiyear book projects requiring large amounts of deep and focused research, thinking, and writing, after significant work has been accomplished. The work should be intended for general, not academic, audiences. One of the application requirements is sample chapters, up to 25,000 words. Value: $40,000 each Deadline: 25 April 2022 Open for: Nonfiction books contracted with a publisher in the US, UK, or Canada Details here and here .

Waterston Desert Writing Prize

This prize is for a proposed book of literary non-fiction that illustrates artistic excellence, sensitivity to place, and desert literacy – with the desert both as subject and setting. Writing samples about deserts and natural settings are more likely to be reviewed favorably. Apart from the cash award, there is also a residency at PLAYA at Summer Lake and a reading and reception at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. Value: $3,000, residency Deadline: 1 May 2022 Open for: All writers Details here and here .

CINTAS Foundation: Fellowship in Creative Writing This is a creative writing fellowship for writers having Cuban citizenship or direct lineage (having a Cuban parent or grandparent).  Applications can be in English or Spanish. Fellows who are not U.S. citizens and who are living abroad must provide a U.S. taxpayer identification number when they accept the fellowship to receive payment. The foundation also offers fellowships for other disciplines – architecture & design, music composition, and visual arts (click the ‘Fellowships’ tab on top of the page). Value: $20,000 Deadline: 1 May 2022 Open for: Writers having Cuban citizenship or direct lineage Details here .

Fund for Investigative Journalism Grants They are open for regular grants, and for expedited grants, as well (see guidelines). These are for articles by US journalists that break new ground and expose wrongdoing – such as corruption, malfeasance, or abuse of power – in the public and private sectors. FIJ encourages proposals written for ethnic media as well as those submitted by journalists of color. Also, “To be considered, foreign-based story proposals must come from US-based reporters or have a strong US angle involving American citizens, government, or business; all stories must be published in English, in a media outlet in the United States.” Value: Up to $10,000 Deadline: 2 May 2022 Open for: US-based journalists and writers; and see guidelines for foreign-based proposals Details here .

Academy of American Poets: James Laughlin Award This is for a second full-length poetry manuscript by a US poet, contracted by a publisher. Manuscripts have to be 48-100 pages long. Translations and new editions of previously published books are not eligible. Apart from a cash prize, the poet also receives an all-expenses-paid weeklong residency at The Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Value: $5,000, residency Deadline: 15 May 2022 Open for: US poets (see guidelines) Details here .

Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing This award is for an outstanding mid-career editorial writer or columnist to help broaden his or her journalistic horizons and knowledge of the world. The annual award can be used to cover the cost of study, research and/or travel in any field. The fellowship results in editorials and other writings, including books. One of the eligibility requirements is, the candidate must hold a position as a part-time or full-time editorial writer or columnist at a news publication located in the US. Applications also are welcome from freelance opinion writers who devote a majority of their time, or derive a majority of their income, from that pursuit. The application includes five samples of editorials or columns. (There is also the Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award of $10,000, for a person or persons who have fought to protect and preserve one or more of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment; the entrants need not be journalists.) Value: $75,000 Deadline: 20 June 2022 Open for: Editorial writer/columnist at a news publication in the US Details here .

Society of Authors’ grants for works in progress: Two awards They have two grants for works in progress and the form is the same, for both. There are two rounds of funding annually, and deadlines are 1 February and 1 July. The Society of Authors also has other grants it administers. — Authors’ Foundation Grants: These are for authors of fiction, non-fiction or poetry who are contracted, or who are published and working on a project that is likely to have interest from a British publisher. They are for works in progress. Value: Unspecified Deadline: 1 July 2022 Open for: Unspecified Details here .

— K. Blundell Trust Award: This is a work-in-progress award for young British writers of fiction or non-fiction. The work must contribute to the greater understanding of existing social and economic organisation. Value: Up to approximately £6,000 Deadline: 1 July 2022 Open for: British writers under 40 who have had at least one book published (see guidelines) Details here (scroll down).

Pulitzer Center: Connected Coastlines Grants This is an opportunity for US-based journalists. The Pulitzer Center is seeking applications from journalists who want to report stories as part of Connected Coastlines, a nationwide climate reporting initiative in US coastal states. Started in 2019, this initiative is building a consortium of newsrooms and independent journalists across the US to report on the local effects of erratic weather patterns on coastal populations using the latest climate science.  Their guidelines say, “We are eager to receive proposals from staff journalists and freelancers who wish to report on coastal stories, underpinned by recent climate science, data, or research, for publication or broadcast by small and regional news outlets in U.S. coastal states.” They prioritize proposals that can be completed in 1-4 months. The ideal range for most awards will be between $2,000 to $8,000. (The Pulitzer Center also has several other resources, including grants and fellowships – click on the ‘Grants & Fellowships’ tab on top of this page .) Value: $2,000-8,000 Deadline: Rolling Open for: US-based journalists Details here .

The Sidney Hillman Foundation: Labor and Workforce Reporting Grants Their guidelines say, “Please submit a well-focused story proposal of no more than three pages. Think of it as a pitch, much like you would submit to an editor: give us enough preliminary reporting and documentation to demonstrate that the story is solid. The proposal should highlight what’s new and significant about the story, why it matters now, any unique access or documents you may have, and what its potential impact might be.” Journalists must have an outlet already attached. This foundation also administers the Hillman Prize for Journalism for US and Canadian journalists, the deadline for which has passed for this year. Value: Up to $5,000 Deadline: Rolling Open for: Unspecified Details here .

Authors League Fund This emergency fund helps US-based writers, regardless of citizenship status or nationality, and American writers living abroad. It is for authors, dramatists, journalists, critics, short story writers, and poets. Recipients must be career writers with a substantial body of work in one of more of the following categories: 1) Book authors with at least one title published by an established traditional publisher. Authors with multiple titles are given priority; 2) Dramatists whose full-length plays have been produced in mid-size or large theaters and/or published by established dramatic presses; 3) Journalists, critics, essayists, short story writers, and poets with a substantial body of work in periodicals with a national or broad circulation. Common circumstances include: major income loss, including due to COVID-19; illness, or supporting a dependent family member in ill health; overwhelming medical or dental bills; imminent eviction and other forms of housing insecurity; struggling after a natural disaster. They help writers at all stage of life, though priority is given to sick and/or older writers.

Value: Unspecified Deadline: Rolling Open for: US-based writers and American writers living abroad Details here .

American Society of Journalists and Authors: Writers Emergency Assistance Fund The fund is for helping established freelance writers who, because of advanced age, illness, disability, a natural disaster, or an extraordinary professional crisis are unable to work. Writers need not be members of ASJA, but must have credentials that would qualify them for an ASJA membership. Value:   Unspecified Deadline:   Rolling Open for:   Established freelance writers Details here .

Writers’ Trust of Canada: Woodcock Fund This is a last-resource emergency resource for Canadian writers who face unforeseen financial crisis, who are actively working on a literary project. Eligible categories are fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, playwriting, or children’s literature. The program is not intended to be a means of support for writers challenged to earn an income. A crisis of some nature is necessary to be considered. The program does not support screenwriting, journalism, academic works, educational or technical texts, travel guides or other service-focused texts, or formulaic romance writing. Value: CAD2,000-10,000 Deadline: Rolling Open for: Canadian citizens who have published at least two books, or an equivalent body of work Details here and here .

SFWA Emergency Medical Fund

This is a fund created by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, to help SF/fantasy writers pay for funds not covered by medical insurance. The fund is only to cover short-term medical expenses, for emergencies that interfere with the ability to write. Value: Unspecified Deadline: Rolling Open for: Unspecified Details here .

Royal Literary Fund The Royal Literary Fund (RLF) helps authors across the literary spectrum: novelists, poet and playwrights; writers of short stories and writers for children; crime writers, science writers, biographers. The circumstances of those they help vary greatly. Writers can apply for help from the RLF if they are suffering financial hardship and have had several works published in the UK for a general readership, without publication being subsidised. Self-published authors are not eligible. The RLF Committee has to pass applicants for literary merit before they are eligible for help. The committee meets eleven times a year to consider applications. A decision on literary merit and on the award of a grant/pension is made at the same meeting; the applicant is informed straightaway. Value: Unspecified Deadline: Rolling Open for: Those who’ve had several works published in the UK Details here and here .

Bio:  S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine. She is the author of  182 Short Fiction Publishers. She can be reached  here .

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international creative writing fellowship

Snow falls and the lakes freeze and ice coats the bushes and trees on campus. Winter is especially beautiful in Madison.

The Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellowships

Since 1986, the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Creative Writing has provided time, space, and an intellectual community for writers working on a first book of poetry or fiction, while developing their skills as instructors in one of North America’s top-ranked creative writing programs. Since 2012, we have also considered applicants who have published  only one  full-length collection of creative writing prior to the application deadline, although unpublished authors remain eligible, and quality of writing remains the near-exclusive criterion for selection. Altogether, our poetry and fiction fellows have published more than 150 full-length collections and novels, many of them winning major national honors.

At present, the Institute offers up to five internationally competitive nine-month fellowships each year. Typically, we award two fiction fellowships (the James C. McCreight Fiction Fellowship and the Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellowship), and two poetry fellowships (the Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellowship and the Ronald Wallace Poetry Fellowship). Additionally, the Institute offers one third-year MFA fellowship — the Hoffman-Halls Emerging Artist Fellowship — to a current student of UW-Madison, through a closed competition.

Each of these fellowships carries with it a stipend of at least $40,000 paid in 9 equal installments beginning in mid-September, generous health benefits, and a one-course-per-semester teaching assignment in undergraduate creative writing. Since this is a residential fellowship, we expect fellows to live in the Madison area, to hold no other teaching, graduate study or fellowship obligations, and to participate fully in the life of the Madison writing community during the fellowship period.

Fiction and poetry fellows are asked to give one public reading during the fellowship year. Additionally, all fellows participate in determining the recipients of the annual  Brittingham and Felix Pollak Prizes in Poetry , as well as the Program in Creative Writing’s  undergraduate writing contests . Along with faculty, fellows also serve on the committees selecting the following year’s Institute fellows.

Details and frequently asked questions regarding the fellowships can be found on the  applications page of this website. Applications to the poetry, fiction, and HEAF fellowships must be submitted online between November 1 and January 1.

The current administrators of the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing are  Sean Bishop and Ron Kuka . Please read this page and the application page in detail before contacting the administrators with questions.

The Halls and Wallace Poetry Fellowships & the McCreight and Houck Smith Fiction Fellowships

Poets and fiction writers who have completed or will have completed an MFA or a PhD in creative writing by August 15th of the fellowship year are eligible to apply for a Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing poetry or fiction fellowship, provided they have not yet published more than one full-length book of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or other creative work by the March 1 application deadline. Details and frequently asked questions regarding these fellowships can be found on the  fellowship applications page of this website. The HEAF is the only Institute fellowship for which current students of the UW MFA program are eligible to apply.

The Hoffman-Halls Emerging Artist Fellowship

The Hoffman-Halls Emerging Artist Fellowship (the HEAF) is awarded to a second-year MFA candidate in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Creative Writing MFA program, to fund a third year of study prior to graduation. Poets and fiction writers are eligible for the HEAF in alternating years.

The recipient of the HEAF will be determined by an outside judge. The name of this judge will be withheld until the HEAF has been announced. Details and frequently asked questions regarding these fellowships can be found on the  fellowship applications page  of this website. The Institute may decline to give the HEAF award in any year it deems appropriate.

international creative writing fellowship

Institute Administrator  Ron Kuka Program in Creative Writing Department of English

international creative writing fellowship


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$400 Creative Writing Scholarship, USA, 2024

$400 Creative Writing Scholarship, USA, 2024

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Scholarship details

Area of study, country of the scholarship, scholarship valid until (year), type of scholarship, scholarship amount given, type of scholarship administrator, mode of scholarship (online/offline), applier's country, expenses covered, scholarship contact details.

The $400 Creative Writing Scholarship in the USA offers aspiring writers a prestigious opportunity to showcase their talents and gain recognition for their creativity. This scholarship aims to support individuals passionate about writing and storytelling, providing financial assistance to further their education and develop their skills. Sponsored by the American Writers Association, a renowned literary organization, this scholarship serves as a platform for emerging writers to shine and leave a mark in the literary world.

Scholarship Provider

Presented by the American Writers Association, the $400 Creative Writing Scholarship in the USA is backed by an organization dedicated to fostering and promoting literary excellence across the United States. With a rich history of supporting writers in various genres, the association is committed to nurturing emerging talent and celebrating the power of words. Through scholarships, awards, and programs, they inspire and empower writers to reach their full potential.

Host Country Overview

The United States of America, renowned for its diverse culture and vibrant arts scene, hosts this prestigious scholarship. As a hub for creativity and innovation, the USA offers an inspiring environment for writers to explore new ideas, express themselves freely, and connect with fellow artists. From bustling cities filled with literary events to serene landscapes ideal for reflection, the USA provides abundant opportunities for writers to immerse themselves in their craft.

Eligible Applicants

The $400 Creative Writing Scholarship in the USA welcomes applications from aspiring writers demonstrating exceptional talent and passion for creative writing. Whether specializing in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, or other genres, this scholarship is open to writers of all backgrounds and styles. Applicants should be dedicated to honing their craft, pushing boundaries, and making meaningful contributions to literature.

Scholarship Benefits

This scholarship offers financial support to deserving writers who exhibit promise and dedication to their craft. In addition to the monetary award, recipients receive recognition from the American Writers Association and gain exposure within the literary community. It also provides opportunities for networking with established authors, attending writing workshops, and showcasing work to a broader audience.

Level and Field of Study

Available for students pursuing studies in creative writing or related fields at any education level, this scholarship can fund academic endeavors for undergraduates refining their writing skills or graduate students working on thesis projects. The field of study includes fiction writing, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, journalism, and creative non-fiction, among others.

Application Process

Interested candidates must submit a portfolio of original work along with a personal statement outlining their artistic vision and writing goals. The selection committee evaluates submissions based on creativity, technical skill, originality, and potential. Applicants are encouraged to showcase their unique voice and perspective while demonstrating a commitment to developing their craft.

Eligible Countries

Open to applicants worldwide who meet the outlined eligibility criteria, this scholarship encourages writers from diverse cultural backgrounds to share their stories with an international audience. Selection focuses on individual merit rather than geographic location or nationality.

How-to Apply

Applicants should visit the provided link on the organization’s website for detailed instructions on submitting their application online. It’s essential to follow guidelines carefully, complete every section accurately, and provide necessary documents for consideration by the selection committee.

Application Deadline

The deadline for submitting applications for the $400 Creative Writing Scholarship in the USA is 30th August, 2024. To be considered, applicants must submit complete applications before the deadline, as late submissions will not be reviewed.

Application Link

international creative writing fellowship

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Louis Armstrong House Museum Fellowship Reading – 5/25

  • Post author By John Rice (he/Them)
  • Post date May 8, 2024

05/25/2024 – 1:00 pm The Louis Armstrong House Museum 34-56 107th Street Queens, NY 11368

Each year, the Queens College MFA Program partners with the Louis Armstrong House Museum to create a residency for two of our students. During this time, each writer conducts research on any aspect of the materials in the archives that relate to or revolve around Louis Armstrong’s larger-than-life story and magnificent musical career, with the intention of developing their own creative work. This reading , in Louis’ own garden, is the culmination of their work.

international creative writing fellowship

This year fellows Nina DalleyHood and Danielle Gutkovich will read from the creative works they developed in conjunction with their time in the archives. Afterward, a small reception will take place, featuring tours of Louis Armstrong’s actual house.

The Louis Armstrong House Museum (LAHM) sustains and promotes the cultural, historical, and humanitarian legacy of Louis Armstrong by preserving and interpreting Armstrong’s house and grounds, collecting and sharing archival materials that document Armstrong’s life and legacy, developing programs for the public that educate and inspire, and engaging with contemporary artists to create performances and new works.

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international creative writing fellowship

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By Kelly Jordan  May 8, 2024

Nicolas St Cloud

Nicolas St Cloud, a perpetual “people person,” immersed himself in campus upon arriving at Rollins School of Public Health.

What initially attracted you to public health?

I always wanted to work in health care, and health care is so broad, so I used my undergrad experience in health, science, society and policy at Brandeis University to narrow down my interests. My experiences there included working in the health care adminstration unit of a hospital in Ghana and taking classes in mental health and maternal health. I knew that I wanted to improve the overall patient experience, so I became interested in public health.

Why did you decide to come to Rollins?

I’m from Atlanta, so the location was appealing, especially after attending undergrad in Boston, where it gets so cold! I was also motivated by seeing high levels of Rollins alumni engagement and ties to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When you think about your time at Rollins, what experiences stand out the most?

I loved the community-building aspects of Rollins’ Convos on Tap and connecting with faculty, students and alumni through service on various committees at the school. I was communications chair for the Association of Black Public Health Students and was one of the student representatives for the DEI committee in the Department of Health Policy and Management.

[Through the latter] I got to help plan town hall meetings that occurred with students last year as well as hold a lunch and learn, which the department had not done before. I also had the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant, which allowed me to take on a mentorship role. 

Did you do any work outside of the university while you were a student? 

I worked as a project coordinator at Morehouse School of Medicine on a project focused on improving mental health, specifically in Haitian communities [a group with which St Cloud identifies], both in Atlanta and Miami. My participation in that project spanned my entire first year as well as last semester. I was responsible for guiding and assisting with the training for students who were being trained to become community health workers. 

You’re so busy! What motivated you to get so involved while also balancing your coursework? 

To me, the true student experience is not just about going to class. It’s also about being engaged outside of the curriculum, really reaching out and meeting people, attending events and being active on campus. 

I am also very passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion, which is a great segue into my Rollins’ applied practice experience at Oregon Health and Science University Hospital, which was a great match. I was working in the radiology department on a project focused on employee engagement and retention as well as overseeing equity and inclusion.

What was the topic of your thesis or capstone?

I did a capstone project and presentation with several other students that focused on clinical workforce shortages. We looked specifically at nursing staff shortages across one of the biggest hospital operators, HCA Healthcare. 

What’s next?

I'll be working for UCSF Health as an administrative fellow. It’s a two-year, project-based fellowship. I'll be working closely with different senior leaders across the hospital on areas such as strategy, human resources, operations, finance and patient experience. I'm really looking forward to that. I think that opportunity will help me narrow down my interest even more.

And longer term?

I’m very passionate about seeing more diversity represented across health care organizations, especially when it comes to leadership. So, I would love to lean in on human resources during my time at my fellowship, because my ultimate goal is to work in executive search consulting and be able to seek out leaders for different organizations, including hospitals.

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R.O. Kwon Is Writing Into Desire

By Keziah Weir

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“I’m so obsessed with every word, every comma of a novel, that it was initially hard for me to contemplate letting go,” R.O. Kwon says of the screen adaptation of her best-selling 2018 debut novel, The Incendiaries. “My first reaction for half a day was like, ‘Well, guess I’m just going to learn how to make TV shows.’” But publishing has brimmed with lessons in surrender for the writer. “I was just like, ‘Well, no, I've read exactly one script in my life. I’m not versed in this.’” She relinquished control to two filmmakers whose work she admires. A collaboration between screenwriter Lisa Randolph ( Jessica Jones , Prodigal Son ) and director Kogonada ( Columbus, Pachinko ) is now underway.

She’s found other outlets for her comma tinkering. In 2014, Kwon started writing Exhibit (Riverhead) , and over the intervening decade has polished it so it glitters like a garnet in firelight. “I want the prose to get to a place where I can pick it up at random, read two sentences and not want to change anything about those sentences.” In the novel, a Korean American photographer named Jin finds herself creatively blocked at the same time her husband’s longing to become a father diverges painfully from her own desire to remain childless. An injured ballerina named Lidija, whom she meets at a party, unleashes both an artistic and a sensual awakening.

Kwon, who lives in San Francisco (“the long-term plan is to be here until climate change chases us out”), says that Exhibit bloomed from her longtime appreciation of photography and its “complicated and fraught relationship to reality, and to hanging on to a little bit of time, a little bit of the past” along with a more recently discovered love of dance. While watching a San Francisco Ballet performance of Alexei Ratmansky’s Shostakovich Trilogy, “I had this full body experience while watching, where I thought the dancers’ bodies—like, the cells —were directly talking to my body.” Kwon took introductory photography and ballet classes in an attempt to capture the bodily sensation of creating both art forms.

Earlier this year, Kwon wrote an essay about why she hopes her parents won’t read the book, given its frank depictions of lust and queerness—subjects into which Kwon took an exploratory dip with the best-selling 2021 story anthology Kink, which she co-edited with Garth Greenwell. It comprises fiction that explores desire from such authors as Alexander Chee, Melissa Febos, Roxane Gay, and Chris Kraus. Kwon’s own story, “Safeword,” was first published by Playboy and centers on a man navigating his girlfriend’s newly disclosed submissive sexual desires with a joint visit to a dominatrix.

“One of the strongest antidotes to the deepest kinds of loneliness, the worst shame I have felt, has been the fellowship I have found in literature and other people’s art,” Kwon says. “That's a guiding principle for me in my work. I so badly want to meet other people’s loneliness and other people’s solitude and other people’s shame.”

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Vanity Fair: Where did the book start for you?

R.O. Kwon: One of the first sparks for the book was that I was interested in what, as a woman, I feel allowed and encouraged to want, and what I feel pressured to hide my desire for. I wanted to have women on the page who want a great deal, to see what happens if they're given a space to run after what they desire. Ambition continues to feel like a really fraught thing for, I think especially, my woman artist friends and woman writer friends to even say out loud. Saying the words, "I am an ambitious woman" still feels really dangerous.

Jin, like the narrators in The Incendiaries and in your short story “Safe Word,” was raised Christian and lost their faith, which I know is something that you experienced too. But both of those narrators were white men. Of course, I understand that Jin is fictional, and that you are not Jin, but I am curious about the difference between writing a narrator who feels biographically, on paper, different or more similar to you.

With The Incendiaries, it wasn't as though I walked in telling myself, I'm going to write a book from the point of view of a white man. It was actually initially told from Phoebe, the Korean woman’s point of view, and that ended up changing. I believe very strongly in following the book's desires and needs, and not imposing what I think the book should be.

But with this book, I wanted very much to write from a Korean woman's point of view, and to not let the book morph again, in that way, if at all possible. In retrospect, I thought that maybe part of why that happened with The Incendiaries, it could have been some part of me was trying to protect myself a little. A lot of people seem to assume that Phoebe was a stand-in character for me, which was definitely a little wild because I was like, I haven't bombed an abortion clinic! That was definitely the most common question: How autobiographical was this book? And my goodness, well, I haven't done that.

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I wanted to let myself be much more unprotected in this book. Sex is at the center of this book. And being Korean, ex-Catholic, and ex-Christian, part of the journey of this book has involved some of the most overwhelming anxiety and panic that I've ever experienced in my life.

I'm sorry!

Part of me would just be watching myself and being like, you did this to yourself. Why? No one made you do this. No one made you write this very queer, kinky novel.

It's still true that every cell in my body seems to feel convinced that…honestly, a message I keep hearing is: You're going to be killed. It wasn't that long ago that a Korean woman could be divorced for talking too much. You could be divorced for—this one kills me, I flew into a day’s outrage about this—you could be divorced for moving during sex. And at the time, being divorced was a death sentence. I'm just not that far removed from when that was true. And my body's fully aware that giving any hint to the world that I've ever had sex is such a rule-breaking thing. I'm pretty sure I haven't even told my grandmother I’m queer. I just let her live her life in peace. She almost certainly thinks being queer is an illness. It's just not that uncommon. It's not just my grandmother's generation, at all.

Part of the deep anxiety about this has also come from the ways in which I write about sexuality and kink, especially Jin's sexuality, is that it can be misinterpreted as aligning exactly with some of the most harmful stereotypes about people who look like me. That we’re submissive, hypersexual, compliant, that we’re up for being mistreated. But I do believe that turning away from naming what I feel compelled to name, that itself brings its own harm.

I think a lot about something that my friend Garth Greenwell said. I'm paraphrasing, but he said something like, "I'm not writing for people who think I'm disgusting. I'm writing for people who already think I'm beautiful." Jin clearly has very conflicted feelings about her desires, and is working through those conflicted feelings. I hoped that this book would at least in part turn into or turn toward a celebration of our bodies, and a celebration of bodies who are told that we don't get to want what we want.

In talking about her lack of a desire to have a child, Jin says that she can't argue the urge into being, which felt like such a parallel to the surety or lack thereof about faith in God.

That was one obsession of the book, these different ways—with faith, with wanting children or not, with sexual desire, with appetites in general, including for food—that our bodies are so powerful. I haven't been able to—and I've tried—I can't argue myself into believing in a Christian God. Again, I can't argue myself into or out of sexual desire. I am fascinated by the ways in which I haven't been able to ever reason or argue myself out of who I seem to be and what I want and what I believe.

I have friends and loved ones who so desperately want kids. And I know how absolutely, with all my being, I've never had that desire. With Jin and her husband, she, even more adamantly than I do, doesn't want kids. I always said if my partner woke up one day realizing he definitely wants kids, then I've told him, we will work with that and figure something out. But for Jin, it's further along on the spectrum than I am. She's just like, "I can't imagine this." And so there's the profound heartbreak of what do you then do when your life becomes incompatible with someone you love very much?

There’s another love story of sorts—the ghost of a kisaeng starts speaking to Jin.

The kisaeng story, the bare bones of the double suicide, with someone who was going to marry her, that's very loosely based on a family story. It has been fascinating to me, in part, because some of the family stories I've heard most often, and I really haven't heard that many family stories, have to do with people blowing up their lives for love. This became especially personal to me when the conflict that Jin has with her parents, where they didn't want to, where they say, "If you don't have a marriage in the church then we won't come." My parents said that to me. I took a less hard-line position. I’m so not Christian. That said, I thought, if this matters so much to y’all, then all right, whatever. We can have a priest involved.

The kisaeng who plays this large role in my own family's mythology, her name hasn't survived. I plunged into research, which itself started feeling really restrictive, because I just became increasingly obsessed with needing the historical details to be exactly right. And at one point, what became very liberating was I read about Korean men in Korea looking through Korean history and anointing people of the past as queer ancestors, because of all the ways in which queer people are erased from history. That really liberated me. I was like, You know what? We're talking about a ghost, channeled through a shaman, and she can fly. I can make some things up.

One of my biggest pleasures in a book is finding a character from another one of the author’s books—and I got that in The Exhibit, with a visit from the world of The Incendiaries.

There's a part of me that almost believes that an ideal version of a book pre-exists me. And I feel less that I'm making anything up with fiction, and that I’m more working my way toward a book that's already there. Honestly, that feels more reassuring than...

That you're liberating a form rather than having to find it yourself.

That way it’s not the wide open vista of infinite choice, but instead working my way toward liberating, like a sculpture out of a rock. The world of The Incendiaries feels to me as though it almost exists. When I feel extra down about the world, I sometimes turn to quantum physics for consolation, the articles and books that are for lay people. I love reading that there are infinite versions of the world, and in ways that almost exceed language. In The Incendiaries, a world where those abortion clinics were bombed, that version of the world, it seems to exist to me. It still felt so vibrant, that it felt natural for the world of Exhibit to also belong there.

I'm most likely working toward either a trilogy or triptych, or a quartet, of books where they're very loosely connected. But where what happens in the past, in these past books, continues to exist in future books. I think Jin's photos—I mean, who knows, it's early days—I think Jin's photos will show up in the next book.

It sounds like you're already working on that third book.

I'm having more trouble really pulling myself into fiction than I've ever had. It's been really disorienting. It just remains such a central terror, that terror Jin feels in Exhibit , her fear that the photos have left. Because it does happen sometimes. Every now and then, there are artists who just don't ever write again, don't make their art again. I’m so afraid that the words have left. But I'm trying to be patient, and I've been storing up, and I've been collecting accounts of writers who fall into years of quiet, because I know my mind and body are at their best when I’m writing fiction every day. And currently I’m not able to, but I'm trying.

Below, Kwon shares some of the creative inspirations behind Exhibit.

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