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At No Cost: Application Fee-Free Fellowships and Residencies
by Erika Dreifus

The more we advance in our work as writers the more likely we are to search for those wonderfully rewarding-and remunerative-opportunities called Fellowships and Residencies. Such plums are often worth thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in stipends, lodging, and other benefits-not to mention the potentially priceless prizes of writing time, access to research collections and/or connections with other writers.

But sometimes we've been struggling so much in our daily work that we can be discouraged right from the start from the very process of applying for these affirming situations by just two words:

Application Fee.

Last year seeking a fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown meant paying a processing fee of $35; for a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford, the price was $50. And still, hundreds of applicants were turned away.

But lucky for the writer who may prefer a no-fee fellowship/residency application diet, one can still find quite a number of programs to try.

For Playwrights

Shenandoah International Playwrights Retreat (Staunton, VA)


Full fellowships (room, board, and transportation) "to test and develop new work." Application deadline: February 1.

Southeastern Theatre Conference/Charles M. Getchell New Play Award


Awards $1,000 and a staged reading, plus paid travel and room and board to attend the annual Southeastern Theatre Conference convention. Submissions must be unproduced, full-length plays or programs of two related one-acts; playwrights must reside in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, or West Virginia. Applications accepted: March 1-June 1.

For Writers in Multiple Genres

American Antiquarian Society Fellowships for Creative and Performing Artists and Writers (Worcester, MA)


Stipends of $1,200, plus travel expenses, will be awarded to at least three fellows for a four-week residency. Deadline: October 5.

Bernheim Writing Fellowship (Clermont, KY)


The Fellow receives housing at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest for up to three months and a grant of up to $1000 to cover travel and other expenses. Deadline: December 31 (materials may not be submitted until October 1).

Bread Loaf Writers' Conference (Ripton, VT)


Depending on a writer's level achievement, a variety of fellowships and scholarships can help cover tuition and fees at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Application deadline: March 1 (check updated website in January to confirm 2004 deadline).

Headlands Center for the Arts (Sausalito, CA)


Artists in Residence Program provides work space, housing, a stipend, and five meals each week for periods that range from 4 weeks to 11 months. Artist/writers must be residents of California, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Ohio (programs also for artists from Taiwan, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia). Application deadline: June, for residencies the following year.

Island Institute Resident Fellows Program (Sitka, AK)


Month-long residencies (private apartments and $300 stipends) provided to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers during January, April and November. Application deadline for all three residency periods: August 15.

Philip Roth Residence in Creative Writing (Lewisburg, PA)


Awarded in alternate years to a poet and to a fiction writer, this residence offers a $2,000 stipend and two months' lodging in the Poet's College at Bucknell, along with meals on campus and an office in the Stadler Center for Poetry. Application deadline in 2003 (for fiction) was August 30; a return to a prior schedule means that the 2004-05 residency application deadline will be significantly earlier. The website advises to "please check back" in January 2004.

For Journalists

Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism (Atlanta, GA)


To help journalists study topics in mental health or mental illness. Six U.S. and two international fellows are annually awarded $10,000 cover project expenses, including travel and materials. Fellows also travel twice (expenses paid) to the Carter Center in Atlanta, to meet with their project advisors and to present their completed work. Application deadline (2003): May 5.

Kaiser Media Fellowships in Health (Menlo Park, CA)


Stipends of $55,000 (pro-rated for fellows who choose to spend less than one year in the program), enabling "a highly flexible range of opportunities tailored to each fellow's interests" in health reporting. Application deadline (2003): March 7.

Alicia Patterson Foundation (Washington, DC)


One-year grants of $35,000 to working journalists "to pursue independent projects of significant interest and to write articles based on their investigations" for Foundation's quarterly magazine. Application deadline: October 1.

So, mark your calendars. Polish your proposals and writing samples. Double-check the guidelines for updates. Think carefully about what you would do with the money, the time, the support. And apply-yourself.

Additional Sources and Resources for Fellowship-Seekers

NYFA Source (free national database on the New York Foundation for the Arts Website): http://www.nyfa.org/nyfa_source.asp?id=47&fid=1

Alliance of Artists' Communities: http://www.artistcommunities.org/

Grants and Awards Available to American Writers, 22nd Edition 2002-03 (New York: PEN American Center, 2002).

© Copyright 2004, Erika Dreifus

Erika Dreifus lives and writes in New York City. Visit her website at www.practicing-writer.com and check her "Practicing Writing" blog posts at practicing-writing.blogspot.com.

Other articles by Erika Dreifus :

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