CREATIVE WRITING FELLOWSHIPS: Frequently Asked Questions
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE APPLICATION PACKAGE
How do I access the required forms for my application?
Once you have created a Workspace, you will see both required forms listed (the Application for Federal Domestic Assistance (Individual) and the Attachments Form). For instructions on how to create a workspace, click here or watch this video.
You can either fill out the required forms online by using the Webforms or you can download them to your computer, fill them out, and upload them to your Workspace.
To fill these forms out online, click the button that says “Webform.” Be sure to hit the “save” button at the bottom of each form once it is completed. If you choose to download the forms, be sure your version of Adobe Reader is compatible with the Grants.gov system. You can find a list of supported versions of Adobe Reader, or contact Grants.gov directly to check if your version is compatible. You can also try using the Webforms, which allow you to complete the forms online without downloading and do not require you to have Adobe Reader.
Which internet browser should I use to file my application?
According to Grants.gov, Internet Explorer is the recommended browser. However, we've found that other browsers will work, too. Mac users who have download and/or upload issues should try using Google Chrome or Firefox. If you have trouble downloading the application forms, try using a different browser or try using the Webforms instead. If you are still having trouble accessing the forms, contact the Grants.gov Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726.
Why can't I find the attachments on your website?
You'll only find the attachments form on Grants.gov once you’ve created your Workspace. Although the attachments form has 15 attachment buttons, you will submit only two (2) attachments with your application:
- Your manuscript
- Your Summary of Applicant Publications
You can create these attachments using any word processing software.
The information I typed into my attachments form disappeared. How do I avoid this?
If you are accessing the attachments form as a Webform, be sure to click the “save” button at the bottom of the screen before closing the form. If you are downloading the attachments form, be sure to save it, and all your attachments, directly on your computer. Once you have downloaded the attachments form, you will work on your application offline and will only access the Internet to submit your completed application.
How do I upload my writing sample using the attachments form?
It's similar to attaching a document to an email. On the attachments form, click the “Add Attachment” button and select the correct file from your computer. [Reminder: you're the only one who can ensure that your application is complete.]
The character limit for the project description box on the Application for Federal Assistance form doesn't give a lot of room to describe my project. Can I add more information elsewhere?
That's not necessary. If you've reached the character limit for this box, you've written too much. This information is for staff use only to ensure that you would use your fellowship to support your writing; the review panel will not see it (the panelists will only see your manuscript). Your application will be judged only on your manuscript, so we suggest spending more time on that portion of your application and less time on crafting your project description.
How do I determine start and end dates?
The start and end dates refer to the beginning and ending dates of the fellowship. If selected for a fellowship, you will only be able to receive award funds within these dates. The start and end dates refer to the official beginning and ending dates of the fellowship. The NEA will only award funds within these dates, even though some aspects of your project may take place before or after this time.
Can I submit my resume in addition to my other forms?
No. The only part of the application that the review panel will see is your manuscript. The panel will not know your age, gender, race or ethnicity, education level, or whether you are an established or emerging writer.
How do I determine my congressional district? What if I'm an American living abroad?
Visit the House of Representatives website at www.house.gov and use the "Find Your Representative" tool. If the address on your application is outside the United States, enter 00-000 for your Congressional District.
My postal code is in red after I type it. Does this mean there's a problem?
Yes. The form requires your Zip+4. If you do not know your full zip code, you may look it up at www.usps.com/zip4/.
What happens if my name appears on or in my manuscript material?
Your application will be ineligible for further consideration and will not be reviewed by the panel. Double check to make sure your first or last name is not anywhere in the manuscript material.
Will I be able to update my application after the deadline?
No. No changes or additions to the application or manuscript will be accepted once your application has been submitted. If you feel you've made an error on your application and it is before the deadline, you may contact the Literary Arts staff for guidance by calling or emailing the Literature Fellowships hotline.
How do I create a PDF?
The simplest way is to use the "Save As" option in your word processing software and choose "Save as a PDF" (or similar wording.) You may also use a PDF conversion program. To learn more, go to PDF Conversion Programs.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ELIGIBILITY
Should I list everything I've published to show I'm eligible just in case there's a question?
No. If you can establish your eligibility with one book, just list that book. If you're unsure if the book meets our eligibility requirements, list journal publications as well, but only as many as you need to establish your eligibility. Our panelists will not see your publications list.
I don't have all the information on all of my necessary publications to establish eligibility. Is that a problem?
Yes. You must include the required information per our guidelines, including ISBN/ISSN numbers for books and journals. We will check your Summary of Applicant Publications document as part of the eligibility screening process. If the Literary Arts staff can't find one of the items on your list, we'll contact you for proof of publication. If you can't provide that proof, that publication will not count toward your eligibility.
My book will be released soon after the fellowship application deadline. Can I use it to establish my eligibility?
No. In order to apply, you must meet the eligibility requirements by the deadline date. Reader's advance copies, galleys, uncorrected proofs, and commitments for future publication or production do not fulfill the requirements. We use the publisher's official publication date to determine eligibility. Check with your publisher if you have questions about this date. No exceptions are made to the eligibility requirements. If your book will be published after the deadline, use other publications to establish your eligibility or consider applying at a later date.
I'm a poetry writer. Can I apply for a prose fellowship?
If you can establish your eligibility with the required number of published prose pieces, yes. Many writers publish in various genres. Though the manuscript you submit for review must be prose, you will not be limited to writing in one genre should you receive a fellowship.
Can the National Endowment for the Arts help me get my book published?
No. The Fellowships Program is designed to help published creative writers set aside time to write; there is no guarantee that it will lead to publication of a book. In order for your manuscript to be reviewed by our panel, you must meet our eligibility requirements.
I'm self-published. Am I eligible for a fellowship?
For determining eligibility, we do not accept any publication by presses that publish work without competitive selection or professional editing. If you feel your publication falls outside of these parameters, call the Literature Fellowships Hotline for guidance.
I'm a blogger. Am I eligible for a fellowship?
In general, no. Personal blogs on individual websites may not be used to establish eligibility. However, curated blogs may qualify. Contact the Literature Fellowships Hotline if you feel your blog fits into this category.
Do I have to submit my application in English?
An application must be submitted in English, but the manuscript may be in a language other than English, as long as it is accompanied by an English translation, though the translation need not be done by the applicant. If you wish to submit your manuscript in a language other than English, contact the Literature Fellowships Hotline at least 10 days prior to the deadline for more guidance.
OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How will my application be evaluated?
Creative Writing Fellowship applications are reviewed through an anonymous process by an advisory panel of writers that recommends awards based on the artistic excellence and artistic merit of the submitted manuscript. The National Endowment for the Arts assembles a different advisory panel every year, each diverse with regard to geography, race and ethnicity, gender, and artistic points of view.
Will you accept joint applications?
No. Fellowships are individual grants.
I'm on faculty at a university. May the fellowship go directly to my university so that I may buy time off from teaching?
No. Fellowships are individual awards; all funds are dispersed only to the fellow. However, once our fellows receive funds, it is up to them how they wish to spend it (as long as it relates to their writing). A fellow could pay his/her university directly, in other words.
Which part of my application carries the most weight with the panel?
The most important piece of your application as far as judging is concerned is your manuscript. It should be representative of your best recent work, published or unpublished. It must be work for which you have sole artistic responsibility. Choose your manuscript sample carefully.
Can plans for use of the fellowship change, within reason?
Yes. Read the General Terms and Conditions for Literature Fellowships for more information.
If you have questions about your application, contact the Literary Arts staff at 202-682-5034 or email LitFellowships@arts.gov.