06 May 2014

Writing fellowships and residencies

a guest post by Andrea Scovel (@AndreaScovel1)

I began researching fellowships and residencies, not really even knowing what they were. If you’re like me and completely in the dark, let me explain: a fellowship is a fund put together by a group of people for a certain cause (in these cases, to help writers). A residency is usually a mentorship program wherein the awardee may receive a stipend and live in an inspiring environment while working on a project.

This research turned out to be an emotional journey. I was so touched that there are people in this world who care enough about writers and other artists to actually raise and set aside money to help them get by so that they can write and develop the kind of career that they have always dreamed of; the intention behind it all is just so beautiful. Even though a lot of people apply for these awards, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bother; you never know what the judges will find interesting. 


The Mesa Refuge: The focus is to give a writer space in a peaceful setting so they can contemplate “sustainability” and issues of “social injustice.” It is located in Point Reyes Station, California and includes a two-week stay, free of charge. However, the awardee is responsible for their travel to and from the refuge.

The Amtrak residency deadline has already passed for the year, but it’s worth mentioning because it is so intriguing. The winner gets to have their own sleeping car and ride the train for 4-5 days just to be inspired! Amtrak’s site does not indicate when or if the residency will be accepting applications in the future.

Writeahouse.org is very unique. The idea is: They give you a house in Detroit, Michigan that is 80% liveable, and then you finish it and commit to living in the home for at least two years. They are accepting applications now. The site does not indicate a deadline, so if you’re interested then I would get to applying immediately.


I found this next one at WomenArts. A room of her own: This competition is currently closed, but it is worth keeping track of because the award is substantial - $50,000 to be exact - and would truly allow a woman the freedom to write what she needs to write in a year. WomenArts also has other fellowship awards listed on their site.

Barbara Fleming Memorial Fund: This award is for “feminist women in the arts.” Citizens of the United States and Canada may apply. Deadlines for each year are June 30th for nonfiction and poetry and December 31st for fiction, visual art, and mixed genre.

There is an award specifically for parents that is granted in the fall through the Sustainable Arts Foundation. It is for $6,000 and $1,000, and the goal of it is so parents can focus on their creative work and still pay the bills. The application will be available on July 15, and the deadline is August 31, 2014 at 5pm.

Crystal Spirit Publishing’s Spirit of Writing Grant: The deadline is July 31, 2014 and the award is from $500-$2,500. They are interested in what project you are proposing and the estimated budget. The purpose for their grant? “To provide funding to assist with projects that will enhance ones [sic] writing and assist individuals with furthering their desire to write, perform, or publish.” This grant would be perfect for an emerging writer.

Oregon literary fellowship: Applications opened up on April 15 and will continue to be accepted until June 27 at 5pm. This is not a postmarked deadline; if applications aren’t in the office by then, they will not be accepted. In order to be eligible you must be living in Oregon full time at the time you apply and when you receive the award. An award of $2,500 is offered to eight writers a year.


The Fine Arts Work Center offers living and work space with a small monthly stipend. The fellowship is in Provincetown, Massachusetts near beaches and sand dunes. The Writing fellowship deadline is December 1.

PEN Center Emerging Voices: This fellowship is seven months long, and the awardee must live in Los Angeles during that time and housing is included. It is designed for new writers who “lack access” to begin their writing career. Each fellow will participate in classes, readings, and other events. There is a $1,000 monthly stipend. It runs from January to July. While the writers do not need to be published, the fellowship wants those that receive the award to be poets and writers of fiction or creative nonfiction who have a clear direction for their writing career. The deadline is August 11, 2014. There is a $10 application fee.

About the contributor

Andrea grew up on the Oregon Coast and moved to the Portland area 12 years ago. She and her husband have 3 kids and a cat. She is currently attending Marylhurst University and majoring in ELW with a concentration in Creative Writing. She aspires to be a freelance writer and novelist. Right now, she is working on a children's book with her husband and kids and also has a couple of other small children’s books in progress. 

Andrea would love to connect with you via Facebook, Twitter, her website or email, andrea (dot) scovel (at) marylhurst (dot) edu.

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