The National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowships program offers $25,000 grants in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) and poetry to published creative writers that enable recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement. Applications are reviewed through an anonymous process in which the criteria for review are the artistic excellence and artistic merit of the submitted manuscript.
The program operates on a two-year cycle with fellowships in prose and poetry available in alternating years. For FY2021, which is covered by these guidelines, fellowships in poetry are available. Fellowships in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) will be offered in FY2022 and guidelines will be available in January 2021. You may apply only once each year.
Competition for fellowships is extremely rigorous. We typically receive more than 1,500 applications each year in this category and award fellowships to fewer than 3% of applicants. You should consider carefully whether your work will be competitive at the national level.
We Do Not Fund
- Individuals who previously have received two or more Literature Fellowships (in poetry or prose) or Translation Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.
- Individuals who have received any Literature Fellowship (in poetry or prose) or Translation Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts on or after January 1, 2012.
- News reporting.
- Scholarly writing. (Writers who are engaged in scholarly work may wish to contact the National Endowment for the Humanities.)
- Work toward academic degrees.
Deadline and Announcement Dates
Applications must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov, the federal government’s online application system. The Grants.gov system must receive your validated and accepted application no later than 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on March 11, 2020. Late applications are not accepted.
Do not expect notification of awards and rejections before December 2020. Our support of a project may begin any time between January 1, 2021, and January 1, 2022, and extend for up to two years.