PEN America’s Emerging Voices Fellowship will select 12 emerging writers for a five-month mentorship program.

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. Through curated one-on-one mentorship and introductions to editors, agents, and publishers, in addition to workshops on editing, marketing, and creating a platform, the five-month fellowship nurtures creative community, provides a professional skill-set, and demystifies the path to publication—with the ultimate goal of diversifying the publishing and media industries. Twelve fellows will be chosen in 2022, each awarded an honorarium of $1,500.


Guidelines:
Please read the following closely, as our application requirements have changed and aspects of our program have been adjusted for 2022. Learn more information on benefits and components of the program: https://pen.org/emerging-voices-fellowship/.


Fellowship Timeline:
The five months of the fellowship are designed for fellows to connect with mentors and the cohort and refine their writing project while learning new skills and building relationships with publishing industry instructors, PEN America staff, and the literary community.


January            2022 Emerging Voices Fellowship Application period
May                  Fellows announced
June-October   2022 Emerging Voices Fellowship period


Eligibility

  • Applicants must be 21 years of age or older at time of application.
  • Applicants do not need to be a U.S. permanent resident and/or citizen but must be residing in the United States at the time of applying for, and during the duration of, the fellowship.
  • Applicants must be available to participate actively in all dimensions of fellowship programming, including mandatory virtual workshops, virtual gatherings and virtual public programs.
  • Applicants cannot be enrolled in a degree-granting program at the time of the fellowship's start date (June 2022).
  • Applicants cannot be a recipient of an advanced degree in fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry.
  • Applicants cannot have one or more books published through major or independent publishers, university presses, or established presses, nor have a book under contract to a publisher at the time of application. Chapbooks or work published in literary journals are acceptable.
  • Former Emerging Voices Fellows are not eligible to reapply.


Selection Criteria and Process:


Given the highly competitive nature of the selection process for this fellowship, we advise using care in your project application. Though the application will be assessed as a whole, fellows will be selected primarily based on the strength of the writing sample by a committee of established writers and publishing professionals, former fellows, and PEN America staff. We encourage you to submit writing that best showcases your work.


Closely review all required materials listed below. Please be mindful of the specific application requests. Failure to follow instructions carefully will result in disqualification. Late applications will not be accepted, without exception. We suggest you submit early to avoid technical issues. Applicants may only submit in one genre to the 2022 fellowship.


The selection decisions of PEN America will be final and not subject to review. We regret that due to the volume of applications, we will not be able to provide any individualized feedback at any point during or after the application process. General questions about the application process sent to ev@pen.org will be answered at the discretion of PEN America.


Applications close at 11:59pm ET on January 31, 2022. Fellows will be announced in May.


PEN America does not discriminate based upon age, color, national origin, physical or mental disability, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, status as a veteran, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.

The U.S. Writers Aid Initiative 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. The fund is limited, and not every application can be supported. Grant decisions are made on a periodic basis by a volunteer committee of literary peers in consultation with PEN America staff, using the following guidelines to evaluate professional credentials:

  • Publication of one or more books. (Writers who are only self-published or published by a press that charges for publication are not eligible.)
  • Multiple essays, short stories, or poems appearing in literary anthologies or literary journals (either online or in print) in the last two years.
  • A full-length play, performed in a theater by a professional theater company. Productions in academic settings qualify if the author is not a student at the time of the production.
  • Production of a motion picture project or a segment of television.
  • Employment as a full-time professional journalist, columnist, or critic, or a record of consistent publication on a freelance basis in a range of outlets during the last two years.
  • Contracted forthcoming books, essays, short stories, poems, or articles for which the name of the publisher can be provided.
  • Other qualifications that support the applicant’s professional identity as a writer.

The U.S. Writers Aid Initiative is not intended to subsidize writing-related expenses, such as equipment, printing, shipping, travel, or publicity services. Writers do not have to be Members of PEN America to receive a grant, but all recipients of emergency funding will be given a complimentary one-year PEN America membership. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and will be reviewed on or about the following dates in 2022:

February 1, 2022

April 1, 2022

June 1, 2022

August 1, 2022

October 1, 2022

December 1, 2022


Please review all eligibility criteria before applying. We encourage applicants to be specific and thorough in presenting their case for support so that a proper evaluation of the application can be made. All complete applications will be reviewed, and all applicants will be notified of a grant decision within 10-12 weeks' time. Not all applications will be supported, and the Committee’s decision is final. 


Questions may be addressed to the writersfund@pen.org.  

PEN America