Novelist Kim Foote: "You Enter into a Relationship With Your Novel"

Kim Foote, author of Salt Water Siister - peoplewhowrite

Kim Foote

Kim Coleman Foote’s fiction and essays have appeared in Obsidian, The Literary Review, Black Renaissance Noire, and elsewhere. Excerpts from her first novel Salt Water Sister have earned her a Rona Jaffe Foundation/Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, Walker Scholarship from the Fine Arts Work Center, and residencies at VCCA and Hedgebrook. She is also the recipient of a Pan-African Literary Forum creative nonfiction award and a Fulbright Fellowship. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from Chicago State University and currently lives in Brooklyn. Visit for more info.

Here, Foote explains how the idea for her first novel came to her, and what helped her stick with the manuscript through the years it took to finish.

What’s your novel Salt Water Sister about?
Salt Water Sister, explores the unlikely friendship between haves and have-nots in 18th-century West Africa. The setting is Edina, one of the largest ports during the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the Dutch West India Company’s African headquarters. Serafina Van Zandt, an eccentric young mulatta, contemplates suicide until the ocean promises her a sister. Two African women arrive to Edina soon after: Adwoa, a royal, and Mina, who helped sell her into slavery. Edina’s Dutch governor gifts Adwoa to Serafina as a servant and makes Mina his unwilling mistress, sparing both from the Middle Passage. Each woman builds a bond with Serafina despite initial prejudices, but in Edina, where blood relations are privileged, each woman’s desire for freedom threatens not only their sisterhood but their survival.

What was your process for starting Salt Water Sister?
It started with a vivid image. I was in Ghana for a semester in college, on the road where Elmina (Edina) becomes visible. I saw my character Adwoa standing there in the rain with other captured Africans, seeing the ocean for the first time. A few days later, the idea of Mina came to me like a punch. Both characters intrigued me, but through the 12-year journey of this novel, it’s the many nameless ghosts that have motivated (guilt-tripped??) me most. I’d visited the Elmina dungeons where female captives were imprisoned only one time, but I felt those women hounding me to tell their forgotten stories. I received a year-long Fulbright Fellowship to return to Ghana and research the history.

Four years after that initial vision, I’d amassed tons of research notes. I had three more lead characters. But the novel was little more than an opening, midpoint, and ending. In addition to worrying that I’d never know enough to tell this complex story, I feared I’d chosen the wrong medium. …Fortunately, a screenwriting class provided the solution. In just six months, I brainstormed an elaborate plot involving two time periods and finished two drafts of a feature-length screenplay. …With the screenplay as a guide, I realized I could rely on plot without sacrificing detailed attention to language. With much practice, I was able to successfully translate my visions into words.

Who is the audience for Salt Water Sister?
This might be my arrogant writer’s nature, but I feel this story is for everyone. However, the very things it seeks to challenge — racism, sexism, and xenophobia — could prevent that from happening easily. My main characters are black females and they live in a cultural milieu that might seem strange to modern readers, but readers will recognize the prejudgments we’ve all made about people who are different from us, and how to overcome it. I’m hoping to find an agent or publisher who will support this.

How has the process of getting started on Salt Water Sister differed from your current writing project?
My current novel-in-progress started with an idea — a “what if this happened?” as opposed to an image or a strong sense of character. It’s set in the future and as such has been easier to write because I don’t have research as a roadblock this time. I just began writing a scene from a character’s perspective, and a few pages later, a second main character charged in. I didn’t start to seriously think about plot until I’d written about 50 pages, and it’s still pretty nebulous. I’m almost done with a first draft and am not quite sure how it all culminates!

Does the blank page/screen titillate or terrify you?
Neither. It induces a state of what I used to consider mostly procrastination: suddenly staring into space, or picking at my nails, or fiddling with my hair. I realized at some point that these seemingly pointless actions allow me to focus on the visual explosions in my mind. It’s like cranking up an old-fashioned film projector. And then I can’t write fast enough to catch up with the scenes. When I run out of steam, I just jump to another scene. I’m drawn to multiple point-of-view narratives so I have many directions to choose.

How do you stay motivated past the euphoria of getting those first words on the page/screen?
Okay, so what I just described above is easier said than done! Writing for me is a constant battle. I have moments where I feel confident or reckless, and others where I struggle to overcome the fear of failure, the fear of writing hideous prose, and the snarky inner critic who says: “Who wants to read this s$!@?”

My new mantra is, “Who cares if this word or sentence doesn’t feel good enough; that’s what revision is for!” Also, while there are those people who bang out perfect completed novels in a few months, it’s helped for me to accept that it’s realistic for it to take longer, especially for those of us whose employment diminishes our writing time.

I believe you enter into a relationship with your novel, and as with any relationship, when the initial euphoria fades, you find tactics to bring back the spice, at least if you want it to work. For me, I’ll take a step back, rethink the plot, or brainstorm more about my characters; or let problem areas “marinate” in my mind until I find a solution. Then comes the “aha!” and that good ol’ projector revs up again.

I think it also helps to have a story that demands to be told. People have commented that my sticking with Salt Water Sister so long shows I have dedication, but it was the story that was driving me. I’m now itching to finish my current novel — a warning for what our future might be — before the events come true!

There’s more “Getting Started” inspiration: 
>Read Liza Monroy’s story               >Read Petra Lewis’ story

>Read Kwame Alexander’s story    >Read Tinesha Davis’ story   

Writing Residencies You Should Consider Applying To

View from the Tower, Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship Program - peoplewhowrite


Amidst all the cuts to arts programs and institutions, thank God for organizations that remain committed to supporting the creative process. has an exhaustive list of national and international residencies for writers and artists of all disciplines; has a curated list too. Some offer free accommodations and workspace; others require recipients to cover their room and board in a sort of working vacation. This New York Times article lists artists’ retreats you can go to without submitting writing samples or committing to a few weeks or months away. Sign-up for Hope Clark’s “Funds for Writers” Newsletter to get timely updates about opportunities to earn money for your writing/fund your projects. Below you’ll find information about residencies that seem most worth the time/financial investment:

Duration: Two to five weeks
Location: Saratoga Springs, New York
Who’s Eligible: Poets and writers of fiction and creative nonfiction.
Associated Costs: There are no residency fees. Wrters-in-residence receive room, workspace, and meals. $30 application fee applies, to which is added a fee for media uploads ranging from $5 to $10, depending on the discipline. 
Deadline: January 1, 2016 | August 1, 2016

Hambidge Creative Residency Program
Duration: Eight weeks
Location: Hambidge, Georgia
Who’s Eligible: Writers in any genre.
Details / Associated Costs: $30 application fee; Resident Fellows pay $200 per week (of the $1250 per week cost)
Deadline: January 15, 2016 | April 15, 2016 | September 15, 2015 (depending session)

Hub City Writers House Residencies
Duration: September 5 – December 19, 2016 | January 9 – April 26, 2017
Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina
Who’s Eligible: “The program is open to emerging writers in the United States who have completed a college degree in creative writing within the past five years or are pursuing a graduate degree in writing.”
Details / Associated Costs: $30 or $40 application fee depending on the residency you apply for. “Residents receive lodging, utilities and a stipend; they are responsible for their own transportation and meals. Our residencies include a community service component of 15 weeks with the Hub City Writers Project, and offer a stipend of $150 a week.”
Deadline: February 15, 2016 | April 15, 2016 | June 1, 2016 

Vermont Studio Center Fellowship ($N/A)
Duration: Two to four weeks

Who’s Eligible: Emerging writers
Entry Fee: The fee for a four-week residency in 2013, including studio, room, board, and the visiting artist and writer program, was $3950 for 4 weeks and $2050 for 2 weeks. Applicants can apply for a grant/aid.
Deadline: February 15, 2016

Millay Colony for the Arts
Duration: One Month on scheduled dates from April to November (a Two-Week option is available in September; Virtual and Group Residencies are also up for grabs)
Location: Austerlitz, NY. Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay lived on the seven-acre property at the height of her literary career in the 1920s.
Who’s Eligible: Writers, visual artists, and composers. Selection is “based solely on on the merit of the artist statement and work sample,” according to
Associated Costs: $50 application fee; food is provided, but you’ll have to get yourself to and from Austerlitz. If you opt for–and get–the Virtual Residency, you’ll receive a $1000 stipend to offset time off/childcare/art supply costs
Deadline: March 1, 2016

Clarion Writers’ Workshop at UC San Diego
Duration: June 19 – July 30, 2016
Location: San Diego, CA
Who’s Eligible: Writers available to spend the six-week workshop period at UC San Diego.
Associated Costs: $50 application fee if received by February 15, 2015; $65 thereafter + $4,957 for tuition, room, and board if accepted.
Deadline: March 1, 2016

Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts 
Duration: Two to eight weeks between July 6 – December 18, 2015
Location: Nebraska City, NE
Who’s Eligible: Writers available to spend two to eight weeks in Nebraska for the residency.
Associated Costs: $35 application fee (Residents are paid $100/week)
Deadline: March 1, 2016

UCross Foundation
Duration: Two to Six Weeks
Location: Northeastern Wyoming
Who’s Eligible: “Writers… from around the United States and the world, in all stages of their professional careers.”
Details / Associated Costs: “Residents are responsible for providing their own working materials and for their travel to Sheridan, Wyoming.  There is no charge for a residency.”
Deadline: March 1, 2016 (Fall session), October 1, 2016 (Spring session)

Edward P. Albee Foundation
Duration: Four weeks or Six weeks
Location: Montauk, New York
Who’s Eligible: “The standards for admission are, simply, talent and need….Writers are offered a room; visual artists are offered a room and studio space. Residents are responsible for their food, travel, and other expenses. The environment is simple and communal. Residents are expected to do their share in maintaining the condition of ‘The Barn’ as well as its peaceful environment.”
Deadline: March 1, 2016

The Kerouac Project 
Duration: Three months
Location: Central Florida, in the cottage where Jack Kerouac wrote his novel Dharma Bums.
Who’s Eligible: “Writers of any stripe or age, living anywhere in the world”
Associated Costs: “Utilities and a food stipend of $800 are included.”
Deadline: March 13, 2016.

BAU at Camargo Arts Residency Award
Duration: August 1 – 22, 2016
Location: Cassis, France
Who’s Eligible: “BAU Institute welcomes international applicants. The residency supports the development of work in the Visual Arts (including photography, video and new media), Creative Writing, Dramatic Writing, Performance and Musical Composition. The residency may accommodate up to 15 people at a time. Fellowship selections are determined by a rotating panel of discipline specific professionals.”
Associated Costs: $43 USD application fee. There is no cost to attend. A refundable $250 USD security deposit is due upon acceptance.
March 15, 2016

2016 BAU Institute Residency for Artists and Writers
Duration: June 13 – July 4, 2016
Location: Puglia, Italy
Who’s Eligible: “BAU Institute welcomes international applicants at all career levels. The residency supports the development of creative work and scholarship in the Visual Arts, Writing, Performance. The residency may accommodate up to 10 individual Fellows. A panel of arts professionals determines selection.”
Associated Costs: $30 USD application fee. 3,000 Euros for larger rooms; 2,750 Euros for rooms without kitchenettes.
March 15, 2016

MacDowell Colony Residency
Duration:  October 1 – January 31, 2017 |  February 1 – May 31, 2017
Location: Peterborough, New Hampshire
Who’s Eligible: Creative individuals of the highest talent focused on producing enduring works of the imagination. The sole criterion is artistic excellence.
Associated Costs: There are no residency fees. Artists-in-residence receive room, board, and exclusive use of one of the 32 studios on the property for up to eight weeks. The Colony does not offer classes or instruction. MacDowell offers stipends to accepted residents. Funding is also available to help reimburse artists for travel to and from the Colony. Financial aid forms are available upon acceptance and aid is awarded based on need. $30 application fee applies.
Deadline: April 15, 2016 | September 15, 2016

Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship Program
Duration: Spring 2017 Semester
Location: The Liguria Study Center located on the Italian Riviera in the village of Bogliasco
Who’s Eligible: Applicants for Fellowships are expected to demonstrate significant achievement in their disciplines, commensurate with their age and experience. In addition, they must submit descriptions of the projects that they intend to pursue in Bogliasco. An approved project is presumed to lead to the completion of an artistic, literary, or scholarly work, followed by publication, performance, exhibition, or other public presentation. Approximately 50 Fellowships are awarded each year.
Associated Costs: $30 application fee; travel and living expenses if accepted. (The Foundation does offer a limited number of Special Fellowships that often include a small stipend and travel fare.)
Deadline: April 15, 2016 for the Spring semester beginning the following February.

The Writers Colony at Dairy Hollow Residencies and Fellowships
Duration: N/A
Location: Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Who’s Eligible: Writers with children under 18 living with them, irrespective of genre.
Details / Associated Costs: $35 application fee.
Deadline: June 1, 2016 for My Time Fellowship | June 31, 2016 for Moondancer Fellowship | July 31, 2016 for Inspiring Recovery Fellowship

The Sylt Foundation African Writer’s Residency Award
Duration: Two Months
Location: The island of Sylt, off the coast of Hamburg, Germany
Who’s Eligible: The residency “will provide the writer with: – an opportunity to initiate or complete a project in progress – a quiet space suitable for contemplation and research – an uninterrupted period of writing – a means to leverage their artistic profile – an opportunity to engage with other international writers and artists.”
Details / Associated Costs: Invited writers receive accommodations.
Deadline: June 30, 2016

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts Artists-in-Residence Program
Duration: Six months
Location: Omaha, Nebraska. The Bemis Center is housed in two urban warehouses totaling 110,000 square feet.
Who’s Eligible: Professional artists who are not currently enrolled in an academic program
Associated Costs: Recipients are awarded a $750 monthly stipend. Each artist is provided with a generously sized live/work studio with a private bathroom and 24 hour access to facilities including a wood shop, installation spaces, and 10,000 square foot sculpture facility. $40 application fee applies.
Deadline: July 1, 2016

OMI International Arts Center – Ledig House
Duration: March 24 – June 2, 2017 | September 8 – November 3, 2017
Location: Ghant, NY
Who’s Eligible: “Writers Omi has hosted hundreds of writers and translators from roughly 50 countries around the world. The colony’s strong international emphasis reflects the spirit of cultural exchange that is part of Ledig’s enduring legacy.”
Details / Associated Costs: Invited writers receive full board.
Deadline: October 20, 2016.

Akrai Residency
Duration: 1 month
Location: Palazzolo Acreide, a small town on the Hybleans Mountains in the eastern part of Sicily
Who’s Eligible: International creative professionals — artists, designers, musicians, poets, writers, dancers, theater actors and directors, and chefs — who have been active in their respective fields for at least 5 years. The sole criterion for selection is artistic excellence.
Associated Costs: Participants are hosted in private apartments throughout the historical center of Palazzolo Acreide, all within walking distance of the studio space. Each resident has a private bedroom in shared facilities. Dinner is communal and provides a time for conversation and exchange. Invited participants are responsible for their travel, materials, breakfast and lunch (which can be cooked in the apartments), and any other incidental expenses.
Deadline: Sign up for the Mailing List to be notified about the 2017 Call for Proposals.

The Rhode Island Writers Colony
Duration: 10 days
Location: A home in Rhode Island
Who’s Eligible: “Rhode Island colonists are:
*Emerging writers over 21.
*Full- or part-time artists who are generally parents, spouses, and/or single adults working full-time in all fields of study and vocation.
*In the writing or drafting phase of a project and need time to focus and complete it.
*Not actively enrolled in full-or part-time undergraduate or graduate studies in the academic calendar year fall 2014–spring 2015 during the residency dates this year.
Writing samples show or use a distinctive style, voice, or perspective with commercial and/or canonical appeal.
*Internationally traveled and culturally aware.
*Well versed in African-American/Diaspora canons.
*[Engaged] an ongoing dedication to the study of the craft.
*[Teaching or employing] some sort of artistic activism.
Details / Associated Costs: Invited writers receive transportation and private room and board as well as:
“*A conversation with an editor at a major publishing house.
*A local reading in Rhode Island, set up by the residency and a local organization as a culminating event at a bookstore or café.
*A New York City reading.
*Publication of a sample writing in the colony journal Serial:.”
Deadline: Information for 2016 Residency to come. 

Write-a-House Writer’s Residency
Duration: Two years
Location: Detroit, MI
Who’s Eligible: Writers interested in moving to Detroit who will contribute positively to the local community. Interested writers must supply their most recent tax return, and fulfill a background and credit check.
Details/Associated Costs: $15 application fee if you apply between April 27 and May 11, 2015; $25 thereafter. “You must keep up with both taxes and insurance for the house. Taxes are estimated at $2000 or less per year. Insurance is estimated at $2500 per year. (We will explore the feasibility of making insurance more affordable with a group policy.)”
Deadline: Information for 2016 Residencies to come.

Hedgebrook Writers-in-Residence Program
Duration: Two to Six Weeks
Location: Whidbey Island, Washington
Who’s Eligible: Women writers of books, poetry, plays, films and music who produce quality writing, originality of voice and a strong proposal.
Details / Associated Costs: Invited writers receive accommodations and meals.
Deadline: To be notified when the application for the 2017 residency season is available, please subscribe to the Hedgebrook Newsletter.

Fox Writers Intensive
Duration: January – May 2017
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Who’s Eligible: Applicants 18 or over nominated by an agent, manager or one of Fox’s specified organizations.
Details / Associated Costs: Compensation is unclear. “The Intensive is designed to introduce emerging and experienced writers with unique voices, backgrounds, life and professional experiences that reflect the diverse perspectives of the audiences Fox creates for to a wide range of Fox showrunners, writers, directors, screenwriters and creative executives. These collective individuals will work with the selected writers in a series of master classes to build on both their general craft and further their skillsets in the business of writing for television, feature films and digital content.”
Deadline: Information about 2017 Residency to be announced Fall 2016.

Schomburg Center Scholars-in-Residence Program
Duration: Six months
Location: New York, NY
Who’s Eligible: “The Fellowship Program is open to scholars studying the history, literature, and culture of peoples of African descent from a humanistic perspective and to professionals in fields related to the SchomburgCenter’s collections and program activities. Projects in the social sciences, science and technology, psychology, education, and religion are eligible if they utilize a humanistic approach and contribute to humanistic knowledge. Creative writing (works of poetry and fiction) and projects that result in a performance are not eligible. Those seeking support for research leading to degrees are not eligible under this program. Candidates for advanced degrees must have received the degree by December 1 of this year. Only US citizens, permanent residents and foreign nationals who have been resident in the United States for the three years by December 1 may apply.”
Details / Associated Costs: Fellowships are awarded for continuous periods of six months at the Schomburg Center with maximum stipends of $30,000.
Deadline: Information about the 2017-2018 Residency to come.

Wildacres Residency Program
Duration: one to two weeks
Location: Little Switzerland, North Carolina
Who’s Eligible: “The program is open to anyone, with a limit of two residencies in any four year period.”
Associated Costs: “There is no charge for the residency but participants are responsible for their own transportation to Wildacres.”
Deadline: Applications for the 2017 program will be available Summer 2016.

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Residency
Duration: Nine months
Location: New York, NY
Who’s Eligible: Writers, performing artists and visual artists “focused on the creative process and the development of a community of peers and professionals in the field. Adapting and activating temporarily vacant office space downtown, LMCC provides 25–30 artists and arts groups with studio space annually in some of the city’s most noted landmarks. Workspace is committed to being a space for experimentation and dialogue and encourages creative risk-taking, collaboration, learning and skill-sharing at a critical early stage of an artist’s career.”
Associated Costs: “A one-time stipend of approximately $1,000 is provided, depending on available funds. (There is NOT a monthly living or housing stipend).”
Deadline: Information for the 2017 residency will be available December 2016. 

FINE ARTS WORK CENTER in Provincetown Writing Fellowship ($750/month for 7 months + a private, furnished apartment)
Who’s Eligible: “Writers who have published a full-length book of creative work are not eligible.”
Entry Fee: $50
Deadline: Information for 2017-2018 Fellowship to come.

Don’t forget to check out this list of Creative Writing Fellowships too!

Writing Fellowships & Awards You Still Have Time to Apply For

Daily Writing TipsAerogramme Studio and Hubpages have fresh lists of writing fellowships and awards that (mostly) don’t require entry fees. often has info about contests and prizes too. Sign-up for Hope Clark’s “Funds for Writers” Newsletter to get timely updates about opportunities to earn money for your writing/fund your projects. Here are a few I’ve culled that offer exciting opportunities to either publish your work, teach classes, and/or just write. When you’re done, make sure to check out these writer’s residencies too.

The University of Notre Dame MFA Creative Writing Program (Full Scholarship + $12,000 Fellowship)
Who’s Eligible: All students accepted into the program.
Entry Fee: $75
Deadline: January 2, 2017

The Steinbeck Fellows Program ($10,000)
Who’s Eligible: Emerging writers of any age and background who can produce a 1-3 page proposal of the work to be written (including a timeline), a writing sample no more than 30 pages, a resumé, and three letters of recommendation.
Entry Fee: $25
Deadline: January 2, 2017

The Orwell Prize (£3000)
Who’s Eligible: Writers of works that reflect “good writing and thinking about politics”. See The Rules for more information.
Entry Fee: N/A
Deadline: January 15, 2016

Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship Program
Duration: Fall or Spring 2018 Semester
Location: The Liguria Study Center located on the Italian Riviera in the village of Bogliasco
Who’s Eligible: Applicants for Fellowships are expected to demonstrate significant achievement in their disciplines, commensurate with their age and experience. In addition, they must submit descriptions of the projects that they intend to pursue in Bogliasco. An approved project is presumed to lead to the completion of an artistic, literary, or scholarly work, followed by publication, performance, exhibition, or other public presentation. Approximately 50 Fellowships are awarded each year.
Associated Costs: $30 application fee; travel and living expenses if accepted. (The Foundation does offer a limited number of Special Fellowships that often include a small stipend and travel fare.)
Deadline: January 15, 2017 for the subsequent Fall semester, April 15, 2017 for the subsequent Spring semester.

New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship ($7,000)
Who’s Eligible: Non-fiction writers and poets 25 years or older who are current residents of New York State and/or one of the Indian Nations located in New York State.
Entry Fee: None.
Deadline: January 25, 2017 

The Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize ($7,500)
Who’s Eligible: A woman writer who is a United States citizen who wrote a book-size work of fiction that was published in 2016. Children’s Books and self-published books are not eligible. All entries must be submitted by publishers. The prize administrators are “particularly interested in calling attention to the work of a promising but less established writer.”
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: February 1, 2017

The American Short(er) Fiction Prize ($500 and publication) 
Who’s Eligible: “Staff and volunteers currently affiliated with American Short Fiction are ineligible for consideration or publication. Additionally, students, former students, and colleagues of the judge are not eligible to enter. We ask that previous winners wait three years after their winning entry is published before entering again.
Entry Fee: $17
Deadline: February 1, 2017

The Poetry Center Awards ($500-1000 for winners with smaller prizes for runners-up) 
Who’s Eligible: Books of at least 48 pages with a minimum press run of 500 copies are eligible.
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: February 1, 2017

Philip Roth Residence in Creative Writing ($5,000 and residence in Bucknell’s “Poet’s Cottage”)
Who’s Eligible: A creative writer of fiction or non-fiction that’s at least 20 years old, and not registered as a student in a college or educational institution. (Entrants registered in a college or educational institution when filing the application are still allowed). The resident will receive free lodging on Bucknell University campus, and an office in the Stadler Center for Poetry.
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: February 1, 2017

Northern Writers’ Awards (£500-5,000)

Who’s Eligible: Writers of any nationality or descent who at the time of entering are permanently resident in the north of England.
Entry Fee: None, though writers are responsible for any associated travel costs
Deadline: February 2, 2017

The Hub City/Emrys Queries for Novels (Winners each will receive a full, $650 scholarship to the Wildacres Writers Workshop, a week-long creative writing summer school in the Blue Ridge Mountains in July. Second- and third-place winners receive full or partial scholarships to Hub City’s “Writing in Place” workshop July 14-16 at Wofford College)
Who’s Eligible: “Well-crafted, high-quality works by new and established authors, with an emphasis on the Southern experience. We are particularly interested in books with a strong sense of place. We believe strongly that the publishing industry needs to promote a more diverse range of experiences, and so have committed ourselves to spotlighting lesser-heard Southern voices including: people of color, gender diversity, LGBTQIA, people with disabilities, as well as ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.
Entry Fee: N/A
Deadline: February 15, 2017

Vermont Studio Center Fellowship 
Who’s Eligible: Emerging writers
Entry Fee: The fee for a four-week residency in 2013, including studio, room, board, and the visiting artist and writer program, was $3950 for 4 weeks and $2050 for 2 weeks. Applicants can apply for a grant/aid.
Deadline: February 15, 2017 (and June 15, 2017, and October 1, 2017)

The Center for Fiction Emerging Writers Fellowship ($5,000)
Who’s Eligible: New York City residents of any age who are not in a degree-granting program and have “not yet had a novel or short story collection published by either a major or independent publisher and who is also not currently under contract to a publisher for a work of fiction. Eligible applicants may have had stories or novel excerpts published in magazines, literary journals or online, but this is not a requirement.”
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: February 15, 2017

Vermont Studio Center Fellowship 
Who’s Eligible: Emerging writers
Entry Fee: The fee for a four-week residency in 2013, including studio, room, board, and the visiting artist and writer program, was $3950 for 4 weeks and $2050 for 2 weeks. Applicants can apply for a grant/aid.
Deadline: February 15, 2017 (and June 15, 2017, and October 1, 2017)

2016 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting ($35,000)
Who’s Eligible: “Screenwriters who have not earned more than $25,000 writing fictional work for film or television. Entry scripts must be the original work of one writer, or of two writers who collaborated equally, and must be written originally in English. Adaptations and translated scripts are not eligible.”
Entry Fee: $45 if submitted by March 7, 2017; $60 if submitted by April 18, 2017; $85 if submitted by May 2, 2017
Deadline: March 7, 2017 (early); April 18, 2017 (regular); May 2, 2017 (late) “The online application form must be completed and a PDF version of the script uploaded by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on May 2. Because of the anticipated surge in submissions, we cannot guarantee access to the online application form during the last six hours before the entry deadline.”

National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship ($25,000) 
Who’s Eligible: “You are eligible to apply in Prose if, between January 1, 2010, and March 8, 2017, you have had published:

  • At least five different short stories, works of short fiction, excerpts from novels or memoirs, or creative essays (or any combination thereof) in two or more literary journals, anthologies, or publications that regularly include fiction and/or creative nonfiction as a portion of their format; or
  • A volume of short fiction or a collection of short stories; or
  • A novel or novella; or
  • A volume of creative nonfiction.

To qualify, work must have been first published with an eligible publisher between these dates, not only reprinted or reissued in another format during this period.

You may use digital, audio, or online publications to establish eligibility, provided that the publisher has a competitive selection process and stated editorial policy. If the online publication or website no longer exists, you must provide, upon request, sufficient evidence that your work once appeared online. If sufficient evidence cannot be provided, the online publication will not be eligible.”

Entry Fee: N/A

Deadline: March 8, 2017

American Christian Genesis Contest | Who’s Eligible: Unpublished Christian fiction writers. “With ten categories to enter, Genesis provides the opportunity for unbiased feedback on writers’ work by published authors and experienced judges, and the chance for finalists to have their work read by Christian publishing house editors and literary agents. ACFW is pleased to see many previous category winners and finalists move further in their writing careers and become published authors.” | Entry Fee: $35 | Deadline: March 15, 2017

The James Jones First Novel Fellowship ($10,000)
Who’s Eligible: United States citizens who have not previously published a novel.
Entry Fee: A $30 check/money order, payable to Wilkes University, NOT to James Jones First Novel Fellowship. A $3 processing fee applies to online submissions.
Deadline: March 15, 2017

The Hodson-Brown Fellowship ($20,000)
Who’s Eligible: Academics, independent scholars and writers working on significant projects relating to the literature, history, culture, or art of the Americas before 1830. Candidates with a U.S. history topic are strongly encouraged to concentrate on the period prior to 1801. The fellowship is also open to filmmakers, novelists, creative and performing artists, and others working on projects that draw on this period of history.
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: March 15, 2017

Mslexia Women’s Short Story Competition (£2,000 for first prize, £500 second prize, £250 third prize)
Who’s Eligible: Women poets of any nationality.
Entry Fee: £10 per story
Deadline: March 20, 2017

Winter 2016 Story Contest (First Prize is $2,500, Second Prize is $1,000, Third Prize is $500, and ten finalists will receive $100 each. All entries will be considered for publication.)
Who’s Eligible: “All contest entries are eligible for the $4,000 Narrative Prize for 2016 and for acceptance as a Story of the Week.”
Entry Fee: $24
Deadline: March 31, 2017

The Short Fiction Prize (First Prize is £500, Second Prize is £100
Who’s Eligible: Authors from anywhere in the world.
Entry Fee: £7
Deadline: March 31, 2017

Arts Writers Grant ($15,000 – 50,000)
Who’s Eligible: “The Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program supports writers whose work addresses contemporary visual art through project-based grants, ranging from 15,000 to 50,000 USD, issued directly to 20 individual authors a year. The program was founded in recognition of both the financially precarious situation of arts writers and their indispensable contribution to a vital artistic culture. The Arts Writers Grant Program aims to support the broad spectrum of writing on contemporary visual art, from general-audience criticism to academic scholarship.

Writers who meet the program’s eligibility requirements are invited to apply in the following categories:

– Articles
– Blogs
– Books
– New and Alternative Media
– Short-Form Writing

Through all its grants, the Arts Writers Grant Program aims to honor and encourage writing about art:
– that is rigorous, passionate, eloquent, and precise;
– in which a keen engagement with the present is infused with an appreciation of the historical;
– that is neither afraid to take a stand nor content to deliver authoritative pronouncements, but serves rather to pose questions and generate new possibilities for thinking about, seeing, and making art;
– that is sensitive to both the importance and difficulty of situating aesthetic objects within their broader social and political contexts;
– that does not dilute or sidestep complex ideas but renders accessible their meaning and value;
– that creatively challenges the limits of existing conventions, without valorizing novelty as an end in itself.

Due to legal constraints we can only fund US citizens, permanent residents of the United States, and holders of O-1 visas. For guidelines and additional eligibility requirements, please visit

Art Writing Workshop
In partnership with the International Association of Art Critics/USA Section, the Arts Writers Grant Program offers ten select applicants consultations with leading art critics. For more information, please visit”
Entry Fee: N/A
Deadline: Submissions open April 12, 2017; close May 17, 2017.

2016 Bristol Short Story Prize (1st Prize is £1,000, 2nd Prize £700, 3rd Prize £400. 17 further prizes of £100 will be presented to the writers whose stories appear on the shortlist.)
Who’s Eligible: “
Entries must be previously unpublished with a maximum length of 4,000 words. There is no minimum length.” 
Entry Fee: 
May 3, 2017

Crook’s Corner Book Prize ($5,000–and a free glass of wine at Crook’s Corner every day for a year.)
Who’s Eligible: “The submitted book must be the author’s first published novel for adult readers, published in the United States between January 1, 2015 and June 15, 2017. Regardless of the author’s residence, the book must be set predominantly in the American South, which includes the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Books may be self-published if they have an ISBN number. Books that are available only as e-books are not eligible. Submissions are welcome from authors or publishers.”
Entry Fee: $35
Deadline: June 15, 2017

The Narrative Prize ($4,000)
Who’s Eligible: Writers between 18 and 30.
Entry Fee: $22
Deadline: June 15, 2017

Bard Fiction Prize ($30,000) 
Who’s Eligible: A talented, aspiring creative writer 39 years old or younger, based in the U.S. The chosen resident will live on the Bard College campus, teach a course, and give a public lecture.
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: June 15, 2017

The Drue Heinz Literature Prize ($15,000)
Who’s Eligible: Short story authors who have either 1) published a novel-size compilation of fiction; or 2) who have had a minimum of three narratives/ novellas published in “well-known publications and literary journals of high standard”. Online publication and self-publication don’t count toward this requirement.
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: June 30, 2017

Aspen Words Literary Prize: Fiction with Impact ($35,000)
Who’s Eligible: “The Aspen Words Literary Prize is an annual award for an influential work of fiction that focuses on the vital issues of our time — social, political, economic, environmental or otherwise — and thus demonstrates the transformative power that literature has on thought and culture.

The inaugural award will be conferred for books published between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. The winner will be announced at a celebration in New York City in early spring 2018, and will receive an award of $35,000. The winner will be the featured speaker and guest of honor in Aspen, Colorado for the June 2018 Aspen Words Summer Benefit.”
Entry Fee: N/A
Deadline:  June 30, 2017

PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellowship ($1,000)
Who’s Eligible: “Poets and writers of fiction and creative nonfiction with clear ideas of what they hope to accomplish through their writing.”
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: The 2017 application period will open on March 30, 2016.

Winter 2016 Story Contest (First Prize is $2,500, Second Prize is $1,000, Third Prize is $500, and ten finalists will receive $100 each. All entries will be considered for publication.)
Who’s Eligible: “All contest entries are eligible for the $4,000 Narrative Prize for 2016 and for acceptance as a Story of the Week.”
Entry Fee: $24
Deadline: March 31, 2016

The Short Fiction Prize (First Prize is £500, Second Prize is £100
Who’s Eligible: Authors from anywhere in the world.
Entry Fee: £7
Deadline: March 31, 2016

Oregon Book Awards | Oregon Literary Fellowships + New Fellowship for Writers of Color (“The amount, number and categories of fellowships will be determined from the quality and quantity of applications, and the availability of funds.”)
Who’s Eligible: Writers of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Drama, and Young Readers Literature based in Oregon full-time–both at the time of application and receipt of the prize.
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: Applications for the 2017 Oregon Literary Fellowships will go online in April 2016.

The Paterson Fiction Prize ($1,000)
Who’s Eligible: The author of a novel or collection of short fiction published in 2015. See rules and application.
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: April 1, 2016

The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award (£30,000 for first prize, £5,000 for five runners-up)
Who’s Eligible: “[3.1 The Award is open to authors writing in the English language, aged 18 years or over at the time
of submission, who must have been previously published in the English language in the UK or
3.2 The Entry must not contain more than six thousand (6,000) words. The word count should be
listed on the Entry and must be precise.
3.3 Entries may be submitted by the author or by his/her publisher or agent with the author‟s
3.4 No more than one story per author may be submitted. It is the responsibility of the author to
make sure that that there is not more than one of his/her stories submitted in total.
3.5 The story entered must either:age 4 of 8
3.5.1 be unpublished (worldwide); or
3.5.2. be first published or scheduled for publication after 1 January 2014.
3.6 The author must have a record of prior publication in creative writing in the United Kingdom or
Ireland. This means the author must previously have had works of prose fiction, drama or poetry
published by an established publisher or an established printed magazine in the UK or Ireland,
or broadcast by a national radio station in the UK or Ireland.”
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: Information for 2017 prize to come.

The NY Public Library Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers Fellowship ($70,000)
Who’s Eligible: “[P]rojects that draw on the research collections at The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (formerly the Humanities and Social Sciences Library). The Center looks for top-quality writing from academics as well as from creative writers and independent scholars.” Applicants do not need to have published a book in order to apply.
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: Information for 2017-2018 prize to come.

PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction ($15,000 – one winner; $5000 – four runner-ups)
Who’s Eligible: A U.S.-based writer of the year’s finest fiction.
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: Information for 2017 prize to come.

Besmilr Brigham Women Writers Award (Publication and Promotion) 
Who’s Eligible: “[W]omen (or anyone identifying as a woman) living in rural areas or away from the coasts in cities with less than a million people. Women living outside the U.S. please query:”
Entry Fee: $20
Deadline: Information for 2017 prize to come.

The Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship ($45,000 stipend, plus health benefits, faculty privileges, a book allowance, and a nine-month residency (during the academic year 2015-16) in historic Chestertown, Md.)
Who’s Eligible: Applicants should have a significant book-length project currently in progress. The project should address the history and/or legacy – broadly defined – of the American Revolution and the nation’s founding ideas. It might focus on the founding era itself, or on the myriad ways the questions that preoccupied the nation’s founders have shaped America’s later history. Work that contributes to ongoing national conversations about America’s past and present, with the potential to reach a wide public, is particularly sought. Applications from published writers and established scholars are welcome. Dissertation projects will not be considered; first book projects are likewise discouraged, unless the applicant has an otherwise extensive publication history. Candidates who have completed the majority of their research and are focused on the writing phase of their projects are especially encouraged to apply.
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: Information for 2017-2018 prize to come.

Narrative Magazine’s 30 Below Contest (First Prize is $1,500, Second Prize is $750, Third Prize is $300, and ten finalists will receive $100 each.) 
Who’s Eligible: “all writers, poets, visual artists, photographers, performers, and filmmakers between eighteen and thirty years old. …Entries must be previously unpublished.”
Entry Fee: $23 (comes with three months of access to Narrative Backstage)
Deadline: Information for 2017 contest to come.

Etisalat Prize for Literature (“…£15,000 in addition to a fellowship at the prestigious University of East Anglia. The winner and shortlisted writers receive a sponsored two city tour promoting their books.”)
Who’s Eligible: “…submitted books which must be a writer’s first work of fiction of over 30,000 words, published in the last 24 months.”
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: Information for 2016 prize to come.

The Young Lions Fiction Award ($10,000)
Who’s Eligible: A promising writer was no older than 35 years of age when his/her work (book, novel, short story collection) was published. Children’s / YA books are ineligible. Your publisher must enter the contest on your behalf.
Deadline: Information for 2017 prize to come.

Hodder Fellowship ($68,000)
Who’s Eligible: Writers and poets in that central stage in their career “when they have displayed unprecedented talent, but have not yet obtained universal acknowledgment.”
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: Information for 2017-2018 prize to come.

Wallace Stegner Fellowship ($26,000 per academic year. The program also pays for each fellow’s tuition and health insurance.)
Who’s Eligible: Anyone may apply, regardless of nationality or age. This is a 2-year program.
Entry Fee: $75
Deadline: Information for 2017-2019 Fellowship to come.

FINE ARTS WORK CENTER in Provincetown Writing Fellowship ($750/month for 7 months + a private, furnished apartment)
Who’s Eligible: “Writers who have published a full-length book of creative work are not eligible.”
Entry Fee: $50
Deadline: Information for 2017-2018 Fellowship to come.