Fellowships for MFA grads
Continue crafting your work at one of these programs
Published: May 12, 2004
|What next? That question confronts many an MFA candidate nearing graduation. The soon-to-be certified professional writer has just spent two years (typically) submitting manuscripts to workshops and receiving critiques. She has completed a book-length work--perhaps a novel or poetry collection--and therefore fulfilled the creative thesis requirement. Now she possesses readers' comments on that work, too. It's clear that she must revise to get that first book fully ready for publication. But who can guarantee the time or resources to support this next crucial stage?|
Fortunately, a number of fellowship and residency opportunities allow emerging writers to continue crafting their work. Most offer the comfort and camaraderie of an artistic or academic community, as well. While not all programs require the master's degree, some do; others often expect the teaching ability and level of accomplishment frequently associated with graduate-level study.
Peruse these possibilities for starters. Note that deadlines (and application fees, when applicable) vary and may even change within a given fellowship program from year to year; be sure to check with each program for updated information.
George Bennett Fellowship
Administered by Phillips Exeter Academy, this fellowship offers one year's housing and meals at the boarding school and a $10,000 stipend. Applicants should have a manuscript well under way; preference is given to fiction writers who have not yet published a book with a "major" publisher. Although not required to teach or advise students in a formal capacity, the fellow is expected to consult informally with students and faculty on matters related to creative writing.
Fine Arts Work Center
Fellowships at this center run from Oct. 1 to May 1. Living and work space and a monthly stipend ($500 minimum) are provided to writers and visual artists in the emerging stages of their careers.
Goldfarb Family Fellowship for Nonfiction Writers
Sweet Briar, Va.
This award provides a fully funded two-week residency (complete with bedroom, separate studio, and all meals) at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. The writer is part of a community of other writers, visual artists and composers.
Kimmel Harding Nelson Center Transitional Residencies
Nebraska City, Neb.
Six transitional residencies, established especially for recent graduates in programs for creative writing and visual arts, have been added to this center's residency programs, which feature two- to eight-week residencies and stipends. KHN Center holds three application rounds per year.
Milton Center Fellowship
Formerly based at Newman University in Wichita, Kan., this restructured fellowship (integrated in 2003-04 along with the Milton Center into programming at Image) now brings "emerging writers of Christain commitment" to Seattle to finish a first book-length manuscript in either fiction, poetry or creative nonfiction. Stipends of $15,000; fellows are expected to live in Seattle from Sept. 15 to June 15. Applicants must be U.S. citizens with "at least an M.A. in English literature, creative writing or the humanities, or an MFA in creative writing." Some teaching/community outreach is part of the fellowship program.
Olive B. O'Connor Fellowship
Intended to support a writer completing a first book, this fellowship, based in Colgate University's English department, offers a stipend and office space. The fellow teaches one creative writing workshop each semester and offers a public reading. More information about the fellowship and its application process is available by e-mailing email@example.com
Poetry Center of Chicago Summer Residencies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Inaugurated in 2004, this program awards two poets month-long resisdencies with housing, plus $1,000 stipends. Selected poets are also asked to give readings during the 2004-05 Poetry Center Reading Series (travel expenses will be covered) and to contribute poems for publication the center's Broadside Series. Applicants must be legal residents of the United States who have published no more than one full-length book of poetry.
Philip Roth Residence in Creative Writing
Awarded in alternate years to a poet and a writer of fiction working on a first or second book, this two-month residence at Bucknell University offers an emerging writer lodging in the University's Poet's Cottage, an office in the Stadler Center for Poetry and a $2,000 stipend. Although the resident has no formal academic obligations, "it is hoped that he or she will constitute a presence as a working writer on campus, talking informally from time to time with students who are interested in writing,"and he or she will be expected to offer a public reading.
University of Arizona Poetry Center
Each summer, this center offers a one-month residency and $500 stipend to a poet, fiction writer or nonfiction writer. Unpublished writers as well as those who have published no more than one book at the time of application may submit materials for consideration.
Vermont Studio Center
Writers of poetry, fiction and nonfiction may apply for 2- to 12-week residencies at this center. VSC awards both full and partial fellowships in three application cycles each year. The center also offers a number of special fellowships (the Dodge Awards support New Jersey artists and writers; Vermont Writer Awards fund Vermont prose writers, etc.).
Wallace E. Stegner Fellowships
An MFA is not required for this fellowship, which includes a living stipend of $22,000 and required workshop tuition of $6,000, totaling $56,000 for the two-year fellowship period at Stanford University. Ten fellowships (five in fiction, five in poetry) are offered annually. Fellows meet twice weekly in workshops with faculty.
Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing
Each year six writers--poets and fictionists with the MFA or Ph.D in creative writing--are selected to be artists in residence at the University of Wisconsin. Fellowships pay $25,000 for the academic year (Aug. 15 to May 15). Fellows teach one creative writing workshop per semester and give one public reading from works-in-progress. They may also participate in the creative writing program (for example, assisting with the literary magazine The Madison Review).
Additional sources and resources for fellowship-seekers
NYFA Source (free national database on the New York Foundation for the Arts Web site)
Alliance of Artists' Communities
Grants and Awards Available to American Writers, 22nd ed. (New York: PEN American Center, 2002).
--Posted May 12, 2004
Erika Dreifus (MFA, Queens University of Charlotte) is a writer in Massachusetts and a grateful recipient of residency awards from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts (2003) and the Vermont Studio Center (2002). She is the author of Free Expression; 101 Fee-Free Contests, Competitions, and Other Opportunities for Resourceful Writers (www.booklocker.com/books/1453.html) and editor of the free monthly newsletter, The Practicing Writer (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/practicing-writer/ ).