Acting Literature Director
Amy Stolls is currently acting director of Literature at the National Endowment for the Arts. She oversees the NEA's grantmaking in literature, which include grants to organizations for publishing and audience and professional development projects, as well as fellowships to individual poets, prose writers, and translators.
Stolls has more than 15 years of experience in the NEA's Literature program managing various grant programs and special initiatives. As a literature specialist and literature program officer, she has advised on and reviewed more than 1,300 proposals from organizations and thousands more from individuals, has moderated more than 60 panels, and has been a public speaker on the topic of literature at conferences and festivals around the country and abroad, including the Moscow Book Festival, where she led a team of U.S. participants. She spearheads the NEA's involvement in the National Book Festival, working with the Library of Congress on programming and promotion for the Poetry & Prose Pavilion. She advises on the NEA's Big Read program and wrote the reader's guides for Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried and Carson McCullers' The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. To draw attention to the NEA's fellows, Stolls initiated in 2001 and helps manage Meet Our Fellows on the NEA website, featuring bios and excerpts from winning manuscripts.
Stolls' publishing credits include the young adult novel Palms to the Ground (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), winner of the 2005 Parents' Choice Gold Award, and the novel The Ninth Wife (HarperCollins, 2011), as well as more than a dozen personal and literature-related essays. For the NEA, she wrote the introduction to NEA Literature Fellowships: 40 Years of Supporting American Writers, and co-wrote the chapter on literature in the book National Endowment for the Arts, A History: 1965-2008. She is currently writing an ongoing blog (opootus.com) about the Old Post Office of the United States (home to the NEA for 30 years).
Prior to her time at the NEA, Stolls was an environmental journalist who gained international recognition for her coverage of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. She has an MFA in creative writing from American University, where she has taught courses on contemporary literature.