The NEA 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 only criteria for review are artistic excellence and artistic merit. To review the applications, the NEA assembles a different advisory panel every year, each diverse with regard to geography, race and ethnicity, and artistic points of view.
The NEA Literature Fellowships program operates on a two-year cycle with fellowships in prose and poetry available in alternating years. For FY 2016, which is covered by these guidelines, fellowships in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) are available. Fellowships in poetry will be offered in FY 2017 and guidelines will be available in January 2016. You may apply only once each year.
Competition for fellowships is extremely rigorous. We typically receive more than 1,000 applications each year in this category and award fellowships to fewer than 5% 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 within the past ten years.
- 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
You must submit your application 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, 2015. The Arts Endowment will not accept late applications.
Do not expect notification of awards and rejections before December 2015. The Arts Endowment’s support of a project may begin any time between January 1, 2016, and January 1, 2017, and extend for up to two years.