In coordination with Plympton literary studio, the Emerging Voices Fellowship is pleased to announce an opportunity to attend the Writing Downtown Residency. Established by Plympton, Writing Downtown is a residency program in Downtown Las Vegas in partnership with The Writer’s Block bookstore, an anchor in the literary Vegas hub. Notable residents include National Book Award finalists Sarah Thakam Mathews and Jamel Brinkley; and National Book Award-, Man Booker Prize-, Nobel Prize- translator Jennifer Croft (for Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk), among others.

In 2023, one Emerging Voices alum will be chosen to attend the residency in the month of December. Housing and utilities are fully covered for the duration of each residency by Writing Downtown. A stipend for food, travel, and incidentals, will be provided to the selected applicant by PEN America. When awarded, the stipend will be distributed as a flat sum from which the resident can deduct their costs as required. Residents may have the opportunity to participate in an activity at The Writer’s Block—for example, a workshop or reading; however, this is not a requirement of the residency. 

Please note, the apartment is a loft space; the bed is on the second floor of the apartment. It is also on the second floor of the building and there is no elevator. 

You can learn more about the residency, including the apartment’s layout, here: https://www.writingdowntown.com/.

Plympton is a literary studio that innovates in digital publishing. In addition to Writing Downtown, their projects include Recovering the Classics, the Twitter Fiction Festival, the literary CODEX Hackathon, the Lincoln in the Bardo VR experience for the New York Times, and the Subway library project in New York City.

The Writer’s Block is a bookstore, coffee shop, children’s creative-writing center, and artificial bird sanctuary. It is Southern Nevada’s only independent, general-interest bookstore, and specializes in fiction, current affairs, creative nonfiction, art & design, and children’s books. Its Coffee Shop serves coffee, espresso, and tea—as well as an assortment of snacks and pastries. It’s also home to a Young Writers’ Workshop, featuring free creative-writing classes for students ages 5–18; in the evening, this space hosts all-ages book clubs, writers’ meet-ups, readings, and more.


In 2023 the residency will take place in December. The selected fellow will have the opportunity to take up residency for as long, or short, as they would like within that month, though residencies are typically 2–4 weeks in duration. Residency length will be determined in coordination with PEN America and Plympton’s Downtown Writing Residency staff. 

June 1-30: 2023 Emerging Voices Residency application period

August: 2023 Emerging Voices Residency Fellow announced

December: 2023 Emerging Voices Residency occupancy period


  • Applicants must be an Emerging Voices alum.
  • Applicants must be under a book contract.
  • Self-published books are not eligible.


Given the highly competitive nature of the selection process for this residency, we advise using care in your project application. 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 2023 residency.

The online submission form requires the following: 

  • Emerging Voices Fellowship year
  • Full title of book
  • Book publication date (if applicable)
  • Name of primary publisher 
  • Statement of work to be completed
  • Writing sample
  • Scan of contract with primary publisher
  • Name of agent and agency (if applicable)
  • Letter of support (from publisher, editor, or agent)
  • Resume / CV

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 June 30, 2023. The selected fellow will be notified in August.

Terms of Use: PEN America archives submissions in their entirety for organizational purposes. We will never use or share your application outside of PEN America, and you retain all the rights to your work submitted as part of your application.

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 nonfiction authors, poets, playwrights, screenwriters, translators, and journalists in addressing short-term financial emergencies. To be eligible, applicants must be professional writers based in the United States, and be able to demonstrate that this one-time grant will be meaningful in helping address a short-term emergency situation. The fund is limited, and not every application can be supported. Grant decisions are made on a quarterly 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 residencies, sabbaticals, computers, printing, shipping, travel, or publicity services.  Applications received on or before the following quarterly deadlines will be reviewed before the last day of that month. (For example, an application received on or before January 1, 2023 will be reviewed before January 30, 2023.)

Application deadlines for 2023, subject to change:

  • January 1, 2023
  • April 1, 2023
  • July 1, 2023
  • October 1, 2023

Writers currently enrolled in degree-granting programs are also not eligible. 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.

Please review all eligibility criteria before applying. We ask prior applicants to wait three years before reapplying to the fund and 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. Not all applications will be supported, and the Committee’s decision is final. 

Questions may be addressed to writersfund@pen.org

PEN America