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Madison creative writing fellowship

Applying for a Poetry or Fiction Fellowship

Applications open in January for the WICW Poetry and Fiction Fellowships, awarding stipends of at least $39,000 and generous health benefits. The submission deadline is March 1. Please read our instructions and eligibility requirements, below, before clicking here to upload your application.

To be eligible, applicants must have completed or be scheduled to complete an MFA or PhD in Creative Writing by August 15 of the fellowship year. Eligible applicants may have published no more than one full-length collection or book of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction as of the March 1 deadline. Individuals who have never published a full-length collection or book remain eligible, of course. Successful applicants must commit to reside in the Madison area for the full duration of the Fellowship from mid-August to mid-May (holiday and other travel are of course permitted); to teach one section of undergraduate mixed-genre or single-genre creative writing each semester; to hold no other teaching, graduate study or fellowship obligations; to assist in the selection of the Brittingham and Felix Pollak Prizes in Poetry, the University of Wisconsin’s undergraduate writing prizes, and the following year’s Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellowships; and in general to participate fully in the life of the Madison writing community during the fellowship period. For more details regarding the responsibilities and privileges of our fellows, please see the main fellowships page.

Applicants should prepare the following materials before applying:

  • A $50.00 Application Fee, paid online by credit card.
  • A resume or curriculum vitae, concluding with the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of two recommenders.
  • A writing sample consisting of either 10 pages of poetry (single-spaced and uploaded as a pdf) or up to 30 pages of fiction (double-spaced and uploaded as a pdf). Fiction applications must consist of either one short story or a novel excerpt. Your name must not appear anywhere on your manuscript, and while previously published work may be submitted, your manuscript must in no way indicate that your work has been published.

Do not include more than one genre in a single submission. You may apply in more than one of our fellowship genres, but you must upload a separate application for each, with separate application fees. If you are submitting short fiction, please do not send more than one short story. The limit is one story no matter how short that story may be. If you send more than one story, we will only read the first. If you are sending a novel excerpt you may (but need not) include a brief synopsis (one or two paragraphs) of the novel, as page one of the manuscript.

The poetry and fiction fellows will be chosen by May 1 each year, and announced on the fellows page. If you have questions concerning these fellowships that are not answered in the FAQ below, please contact Sean Bishop and Ron Kuka, Administrators of the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, at [email protected]

Wisconsin Institute Alumni Spotlight: Jaquira Díaz

Jaquira Díaz was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Miami. She is the author of Ordinary Girls: A Memoir, winner of a Whiting Award, a Florida Book Awards Gold Medal, and a Lambda Literary Awards finalist. Ordinary Girls was an Indies Introduce Selection, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Notable Selection, an Indie Next Pick, and a Library Reads pick. Díaz’s work has been published in The Guardian, Time Magazine, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and The Best American Essays 2016, among other publications. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, an Elizabeth George Foundation grant, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Kenyon Review, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing.

Her second book, I Am Deliberate: A Novel, is forthcoming from Algonquin Books.

Seen from the roof of the Memorial Library on campus, a supermoon rises in the nighttime sky over the dome of the Wisconsin State Capitol building in downtown Madison. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

Madison creative writing fellowship

2021 Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellows Reading

Presented in partnership with the Program in Creative Writing, poetry and fiction from the 2020-21 Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellows. This event will feature the work of Emma Binder, Jari Bradley, Sasha Debevec-McKenney, Victoria C. Flanagan, Sandra Hong, and Taylor Koekkoek. Join the event at: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/2021-wisconsin-institute​. Before the event begins, you will see a countdown and the event image.

Emma Binder is the 2020-2021 Hoffman-Halls Emerging Artist Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing. She earned her MFA in Fiction from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her work has appeared in Pleiades, Narrative, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere.

Jari Bradley (they/them) is a Black genderqueer poet and scholar from San Francisco, California, who currently holds the 2020–2021 First Wave Poetry Fellowship at UW–Madison. They have received fellowships and support from Callaloo, Cave Canem, Tin House, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments. Jari’s work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has been published/forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Blood Orange Review (selected by judge Nikkey Finney), The Offing, Academy of American Poets (Poem-A-Day), Callaloo, Columbia Journal, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. Jari Bradley (MFA, University of Pittsburgh) is the current 2020–2021 First Wave Poetry Fellow at UW–Madison.

Sasha Debevec-McKenney is the 2020-2021 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. She received her MFA from New York University, where she was the 2018 Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from The Yale Review, Nashville Review, Peach Mag, Underblong, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. She minored in American Studies at Beloit College and was born in Hartford, Connecticut.

Victoria C. Flanagan is the author of Glossary of Unsaid Terms, winner of Beloit Poetry Journal’s 2020 Chad Walsh Chapbook Prize. Flanagan’s writing has also been awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize, the Emerging Poets Prize from Palette Poetry, and a Sewanee Writers’ Conference scholarship, among other honors. Their work has appeared in The Adroit Journal, The Boiler, Verse Daily, New South, Blackbird, and elsewhere. They hold a dual-genre MFA in poetry and nonfiction from Virginia Commonwealth University, and are the 2020-21 Ronald Wallace Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing.

Sandra Hong is the 2020-2021 James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Creative Writing. Her work has received the 2018 Iowa Review Award in Fiction and an honorable mention in Glimmer Train’s Jan/Feb 2018 Short Story Award for New Writers. She received her MFA from Brooklyn College. She lives in Madison, WI with her family and is working on a collection of linked stories.

Taylor Koekkoek received his MFA from Johns Hopkins University. His work has been supported by Oregon Literary Arts and the Breadloaf’s Writer’s Conference, and has appeared in Paris Review, Glimmer Train, Ploughshares, The Iowa Review, online at Tin House, and elsewhere. His short story collection, Thrillville, USA, is forthcoming from Simon & Schuster. He is the 2020-2021 Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.