CREATIVE WRITING FELLOWSHIPS: How to Prepare and Submit an Application

Application Deadline: March 12, 2014

These application guidelines provide all of the information that you need to submit an application. We urge you to read these instructions in their entirety before you begin the application process. Please keep these instructions open in a window in your computer as they contain helpful links to information that you will need as you complete your application.

Electronic application through is MANDATORY.

  1. Register with Registration is a one-time process, which can take a day or more to complete.
  2. Verify that you have a version of Adobe Reader that is supported by installed on your computer before you download your new application package from
  3. Submit your application no later than 10 days prior to the deadline to give yourself ample time to resolve any problems that you might encounter. You take a significant risk by waiting until the day of the deadline to submit.
    • The Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (Phone: 1-800-518-4726.)
    • Submit your application outside of’s hours of heaviest usage, generally 12 noon to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time.
    • Applicants are responsible for submitting a complete application.  Incomplete applications will be rejected without panel review.
    • The Arts Endowment will not accept late applications.

The system must receive your validated and accepted application no later than 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, March 12, 2014.

If you are unable to submit your application electronically, you may request a waiver. A waiver will be granted for the following reasons only:

  • Internet access is not available within a 30-mile radius of your address.
  • Disability prevents you from submitting your application electronically.

Your waiver request must be in writing and must be received (not postmarked) at the Arts Endowment at least three weeks before the application deadline. Click here for more information on waivers.


Register with

NOTE: Applicants are now required to change their passwords every 60 days. See for more details.

It is your responsibility to create and maintain a registration with Registration is a one-time process, which can take a day or more to complete. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE DAY OF THE APPLICATION DEADLINE TO REGISTER to allow time to resolve any issues that may arise. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in your inability to submit your application.

To register, click: Individual Registration. You will be asked to provide the Funding Opportunity Number of the grant. Enter 2014NEA03LFCW. If you have problems with registration contact at 1-800-518-4726, e-mail, or consult the information posted on the website at Applicant Resources. The Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Maintain documentation (with dates) of your efforts to register before the deadline.

You do not need to complete the registration process to download the application package and begin to prepare your material (see below). However, you will need your Username and Password that you obtain during the registration process to submit your application.

Download the Application Package

  1. Verify your software.

    You must have a version of Adobe Reader that is supported by installed on your computer before you download your application package from Non-compatible versions of Adobe Reader or other Adobe products will lead to errors and prevent you from submitting your application. If more than one computer will be involved in the preparation of the application package, ensure that the same version of Adobe Reader is used.

    Please go to "Download Software" to see the compatible versions of Adobe Reader or to download and install Adobe Reader.

  2. Access the application package on by clicking on the link below.


    [Funding Opportunity Number 2014NEA03LFCW]

    This will bring you to the "Selected Grant Applications for Download" screen.

    Download the application package and follow the instructions below. It is not necessary to download the instructions from as you will only be directed back to the instructions on this webpage.

    If you have a compatible version of Adobe Reader and are still experiencing difficulty downloading the application package, try using a different Internet browser.

  3. When you download the application package, the "Grant Application Package" screen will open. Click on the "Save" button at the top of the form and save the application package to a location on your computer or network where you can find it readily. Save your application each time you work on it. You will get the message "The file already exists. Replace existing file?" Click "Yes" to ensure that you always save the most recent version.

  4. On the first page of the application package, you will see a field for “Application Filing Name.” Enter your legal name here.

  5. In the "Mandatory Documents" box, you will see two forms. You can access each Mandatory form by clicking on it OR you can scroll down your screen and you will come to each form in succession.

    The forms are:

  6. Complete the application based on the Application Instructions outlined below.

Submit Your Electronic Application

  1. Check the size of your electronic application. The total size should not exceed 10 MB.

  2. To begin the submission process, click the Save & Submit button. [This button will not become active (and turn from light to dark gray) until you have saved your application with all required fields completed. Clicking this button will prompt you to save your application package one last time. When asked if you want to replace the existing file, click “Yes.” You will then be reconnected to and the Internet.] You will be prompted to provide your Username and Password that you obtained during registration.

  3. Click the "Login" button. This will bring you to the "Application Submission Verification and Signature" screen, which provides a summary of the Funding Opportunity for which you are applying. Click the "Sign and Submit Application" button to complete the process. Be certain that you are satisfied with your application before you click this button. No revisions to your application are possible through once it is submitted.

    If you have difficulty submitting, go to Adobe Reader Error Messages or Applicant Resources for several tools and documents to help you.

  4. Ensure that your application was validated and accepted by the system. Go to Track My Application to track the validation and progress of your application submission through After the Arts Endowment retrieves your application from, log in to the system by using your Username and Password to receive your Agency Tracking Number (this will be the Arts Endowment-assigned application number).

    Note: Acceptance and validation by does not imply that the applicant has uploaded the proper attachments. Before submitting your application, please double check that you have attached everything correctly.

Additional Help

For additional help on how to use, please see the website at Applicant Resources. You also can send e-mail to the Contact Center at or call them at 1-800-518-4726 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For specific help on how to complete your application, please review the instructions in these guidelines. For help on all other issues, email

Application Instructions

For a complete application, follow Steps 1-3 below

A complete application consists of:

Applications that are determined to be incomplete will be rejected without panel review.

Step 1: Fill out the Application for Federal Assistance SF 424 - Individual

NOTE: All asterisked (*) items and yellow fields on this form are required and must be completed before you will be able to submit the form. Do not type in all capital letters when completing the form. Enter information directly into the form. Do not copy from an old application package or another document and paste into the form.

1. Name of Federal Agency: Pre-populated.

2. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: Pre-populated.

3. Date Received: This will be filled automatically with the date that you submit your application; leave blank.

4. Funding Opportunity Number: Pre-populated.

5. Applicant Information:

a. Name and Contact Information:
Applicants using pen names must list their legal name here. All transactions with the Arts Endowment must be made using the legal name. Be sure to enter your e-mail address (you will be notified via e-mail). Contact information must be valid through December 2014. You must notify us of any changes.

b. Address:
Enter information for your permanent address. Information must be valid through December 2014.

Use Street 1 for your street address or post office box number, whichever is used for your U.S. Postal Service mailing address. Street 2 is not a required field and should be used only when a Suite or Room Number or other similar information is part of your address. Do not use Street 2 to provide a second address.

In the Zip/Postal Code box, enter the full 9-digit zip code (00000-0000) that was assigned by the U.S. Postal Service. If you do not know your full zip code, you may look it up at .

c. Citizenship Status: If you are a permanent resident of the United States, provide your Alien Registration Number.

d. Congressional District of Applicant: Enter the Congressional District that corresponds to your permanent address. Use the following format: 2 character State Abbreviation-3 character District Number. For example, if you live in the 5th Congressional District of California, enter "CA-005." If your state has a single At-Large Representative or your territory has a single Delegate, enter your 2 character state/territory abbreviation and "-000." If you are an American citizen or a permanent resident residing outside the United States, use "00-000" for your Congressional District. If you need help determining your district, please visit the House of Representatives website at and use the "Find Your Representative" tool.

6. Project Information:
a. Project Title: Leave blank.

b. Project Description: In two or three sentences, briefly describe how you see your work being advanced by this fellowship. This may include writing, research, travel, etc. (Note: the NEA staff will see the project description, but the panelists will not. Our panelists will only review the manuscript submitted.)

c. Proposed Project Start Date/End Date: Enter your preferred beginning and ending dates. The start date should be the first day of the month, and the end date should be the last day of the month. The beginning date must fall between January 1, 2015, and January 1, 2016, and the period of support may extend up to two years from the start date. Your period of support must begin on the first day of the month and end on the last day of the month.

7. Signature Block: By clicking the "I Agree" box, you are certifying that your application is true and correct to the best of your knowledge and that you are in compliance with relevant federal requirements that can be found in the Assurance of Compliance section of these guidelines. The "Signature" and "Date Signed" boxes will be populated by upon submission of the application.

Step 2: Complete and Attach Required Items to the Attachments Form

The "Attachments Form" is not a form in the conventional sense. Rather, it is a place to attach documents that you have completed and saved elsewhere on your computer.

  1. Attachment 1 (Literature Fellowships Application Supplemental Information) is a fillable form; you will find a link to it here.  This form can be filled in, saved to your computer, and attached without the need for special software or conversion to PDF.

    Please be sure you are using Adobe Reader (version 9 or higher) when filling out our PDF forms.

    Note to Mac users: Your computer may be set to open PDF files using Preview (you can tell which program is being used to view a PDF file by looking at the left-most item in the menu bar). Please verify that you are using Adobe Reader and not Preview. If you don’t have Adobe Reader installed, you can download it here:

  2. Attachments 2 - 4 are documents that you will develop in accordance with the instructions provided. These items must be submitted as PDF (portable document format) files.

    These non-form documents can be created using any word processing software. When you have completed the document, save it as a PDF on your computer before attaching. If you don't already have software to convert files to PDF, there are many low-cost and free software packages that can do this. To learn more, go to PDF Conversion Software.

    Please make sure to convert your documents into PDF format in line with the guidance above. Do not create PDFs of your electronic documents by scanning. In the past, some applicants have printed their electronic documents and then scanned them, saving the scan in PDF format. PDFs created this way are much larger, and of lower quality, than PDFs created by the methods we recommend. Do not embed non-printable media files (video and/or sound) in your PDF documents. Static images (e.g., pictures) are acceptable. Please do not enable any document security settings or password-protect any PDF file you submit to us.

    No attachment should be more than 2 MB.

  3. For non-form documents, label the first page clearly with the name of the item (e.g., Summary of Applicant Publications). Leave a margin of at least one inch at the top, bottom, and sides of all pages. Do not reduce type below 12 point font size. Do not type in all capital letters. Number pages sequentially. Excess pages will be removed and not be reviewed.

  4. Name your files as indicated below and attach them in the proper order. Limit file names to 50 or fewer characters and use only the following characters when naming your attachments: A-Z, a-z, 0-9, underscore (_), hyphen (-), space, and period. If you do not follow this rule, your application may be rejected. Please note that you cannot change the name of a file on the Attachments Form. Therefore make certain that each file is named correctly before you attach it.

When you open the Attachments Form, you will find 15 attachment buttons. For this application, you will only use the first four attachment buttons. By clicking on a button, you will be able to choose the PDF file from your computer that you wish to attach. Please attach the proper file to the proper button as listed below.

The Attachments



To this button, attach the Literature Fellowships Application Supplemental Information form. We collect this information to inform the agency about the composition of the application pool. This information is not provided to panelists, nor is it taken into consideration for the awarding of grants. The file name should be your last name followed by "SuppInfo" (e.g., JonesSuppInfo).

Under Category Under Which Support is Requested, check "Fellowships for Creative Writers." Then choose "Poetry."


To this button, attach one copy of your manuscript sample. The file name should be your last name followed by "Manuscript."  Submit a single attachment. Do not attach each poem as a separate PDF attachment.

Your manuscript sample must be a maximum of 10 typescript pages of:

  • Poetry, with no more than one poem per page


  • One long poem (or section of a long poem)

Please note that applicants may submit any combination of poems (e.g., two, five-page poems or ten, one-page poems), but the total pages cannot exceed 10 pages.

Your manuscript sample must be:

  1. From work that you have written in the time period that establishes your eligibility, and for which you have sole artistic responsibility. You may submit published work, unpublished work, or work in progress. Do not indicate whether or not the material has been published.

  2. In the literary genre in which you establish your eligibility (e.g., poetry).

  3. Completely free of your name, initials, address, or any other marks that could identify you.  If your name appears on your manuscript, your application will be deemed ineligible.

  4. Labeled to indicate title and genre of the sample. At the top of every page, include the page number in the upper right corner and state the title of the manuscript and the genre (e.g., poetry).  

  5. In typescript and clearly readable. Use a 12 point font and margins of at least one inch at the top, bottom, and sides of all pages. Do not submit more than the maximum number of pages that are allowed; excess pages will be removed and not reviewed.

Remember to save your manuscript as a PDF in line with the guidance above (Step 2: Complete and Attach Required Items to the Attachments Form). Do not create PDFs of your electronic documents by scanning.


To this button, attach one copy of an unnumbered cover page that lists your legal name and a current e-mail address and the title(s) of the work(s) you are submitting. The file name should be your last name followed by "CoverPg."  Save your document as a PDF. Your name, initials, address, or other identifying marks must not appear on any other page of the manuscript material that is submitted.


To this button, attach a Summary of Applicant Publications to establish your eligibility (three-page, single-spaced maximum). The file name should be your last name followed by "SummaryPubs."

List only the specific published works that establish your eligibility, not everything you have published (e.g., no resumes). (See Eligibility for details.) We collect this information only to verify eligibility; it is not provided to our reviewers.

For each publication note:

  • Title, author. Publisher (including name of magazine or press with physical address, web address, and phone number). (If an online journal or magazine, physical address is not required.)
  • Publication date (month and year, or volume/issue).
  • ISBN or ISSN number, for a book in print.
  • Number of pages of your material. (If your work appears in an anthology, this refers to your work within the collection, not the full book.)
  • Page number or exact URL of the page that features your work if published online. If archived online, provide the exact URL of the archived piece.

Your Summary of Applicant Publications should be formatted as follows:

Title/Author:  City Poems / John Doe
Publisher: University Press, 1234 Main St., Springfield, IL,, 123-456-7891
Publication Date:  12/2010
ISBN or ISSN: 000-0-00-000000-0
# of pages: 80
URL:  n/a
Title/Author:  “Hidden Moon”/ Jane Doe
Publisher:  Violet Journal, 44 Spring St., Mesa, AZ,, 333-456-7891
Publication Date/ Volume-Issue: 10/2010/Vol. 32 Issue 4 (Fall)
ISBN or ISSN:  000-0-00-000000-0
# of pages: 5        
Page # or URL:
Title/Author: Contemporary Poetry ("Boy and a Pail," "Children Sit Down," "One, Two, Three")/ Marvin Doe, edited by M. Fed/Jill Deer
Publisher: Small Press, 6868 Elm St., Nashville, TN,, 123-456-9871
Publication Date: 06/2011
ISBN or ISSN: 000-0-00-000000-0
# of pages: 8

Upon request, you must provide proof of eligibility to the Arts Endowment in the form of one or more of the following ways:

  1. The title page or cover with your name and the title of the work.
  2. The copyright page with the publisher's information; publication date (month and year); ISBN or ISSN number, if a print publication; or exact URL that features your work, if publication is online only.
  3. The publication's stated selection criteria and editorial policy.

NOTE: When you check the Certification box on the SF 424-Individual form, you are certifying that all parts of your application, including your summary of the publications that establish your eligibility, are true and correct to the best of your knowledge.

Leave all remaining Attachment buttons blank.

Step 3: Submit Items in Steps 1-2 above electronically through 

Follow the detailed instructions underSubmit your electronic application” above.