Application Deadline: July 1st, 2018
PEN America’s $10,000 Writing for Justice Fellowship will commission six writers—emerging or established—to create written works of lasting merit that illuminate critical issues related to mass incarceration and catalyze public debate.
The PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship aims to harness the power of writers and writing in bearing witness to the societal consequences of mass incarceration by capturing and sharing the stories of incarcerated individuals, their families, communities, and the wider impact of the criminal justice system. Our goal is to ignite a broad, sustained conversation about the dangers of over-incarceration and the imperative to mobilize behind rational and humane policies. As an organization of writers dedicated to promoting free expression and informed discourse, PEN America is honored to have been entrusted by the Art for Justice Fund to engage the literary community in addressing this pressing societal issue.
The Writing for Justice Fellowship is open-genre, and proposed projects may include—but are not limited to—fictional stories; works of literary or long-form journalism; theatrical, television or film scripts; memoirs; poetry collections; or multimedia projects. The most competitive applications will demonstrate how the proposed project will engage issues of reform, fuel public debate, crystallize concepts of reform, and facilitate the possibility of societal change. As part of our mission to stimulate discussion, emphasis will be placed on proposed projects that show strong promise for publication. Fellows must commit to contribute actively to bringing attention to their work and that of other Fellows. The Fellowship is open to writers at any stage of their career. Currently and formerly incarcerated writers are highly encouraged to apply, and special provisions will be made for incarcerated writers to participate through alternative methods.
To be eligible for this Fellowship, the applicant must be
- 21 years of age or older.
- An individual writer. Collaborative projects are acceptable, but only one project lead may apply and participate in the Fellowship’s activities.
- A United States resident.
- Available to participate actively in all dimensions of Fellowship programming, including mandatory gatherings and public programs. (The Fellowship will cover costs associated with these events, separately from the Fellowship honorarium and travel/research budget.) Currently incarcerated writers and formerly incarcerated writers on parole will participate through alternative means.
- Able to demonstrate a track record of successful projects brought to completion on time.
How To Apply
Closely review all required materials listed below. Please be mindful of the specific application requests. Failure to follow instructions carefully will result in immediate disqualification. Late applications will not be accepted. We suggest you submit early to avoid technical issues.
There is no fee to apply to the Writing for Justice Fellowship.
All non-incarcerated applicants are required to submit online through Submittable.
Currently incarcerated writers can submit by sending application materials (preferably typed, but clean, legible handwritten applications will also be accepted) to the address below:
Writing For Justice Fellowship
588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012
The first eight months of the Fellowship are designed for Fellows to research, create, and connect with mentors and the cohort, working toward submission of a polished final product that is ready for publication. The final four months of the Fellowship will focus on placing the works for public dissemination and opportunities for Fellows to present their work publicly.
July 1, 2018: Deadline to apply
September 2018: Successful applicants notified
September–May 2018: Fellows work on their projects, meet with mentors
October 12–14, 2018: Cohort meeting #1 (NYC)
February 8–10, 2019: Cohort meeting #2 (Location TBD)
April 2019: PEN World Voices Festival event featuring works in progress
May 2019: Work completed and submitted for publication
May–August 2019: Placing work and public presentations
For More Information: