PEN America 2021 Emerging Voices Fellowship Application for Global Early-Career Writers

Deadline: March 17th 2021

PEN America 2021 Emerging Voices Fellowship Application for Global Early-Career Writers

The Emerging Voices Fellowship provides a 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, LGBTQIA+, 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.


  • 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 workshops, virtual gatherings, and virtual public programs.
  • Applicants cannot be enrolled in a degree-granting program at the time of application.
  • Applicants cannot be a recipient of an advanced degree in creative writing.
  • 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, former fellows, and PEN America staff. We encourage you to submit writing that best showcases your work.

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 2021 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 [email protected] will be answered at the discretion of PEN America.

Applications close at 11:59pm ET on March 17, 2021. Fellows will be announced in April. Apply on Submittable »

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.

Application Fee: $25

PEN America 2021 Emerging Voices 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.

  • February–March: 2021 Emerging Voices Fellowship application period
  • April: Fellows announced
  • May-October: 2021 Emerging Voices Fellowship period
  • November: Final virtual public reading event

For more Information: Visit the website for 2021 Emerging Voices Fellowship

About Israel Wellington Jeremiah

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