Amy Stolls is the Director of Literature at the National Endowment for the Arts. She oversees a portfolio that includes grants to organizations for projects such as the publication of books and literary journals, book festivals, writing workshops, and reading series; fellowships to individual poets, prose writers, and translators; Poetry Out Loud, a program that engages high school students nationwide in the public recitation of poetry; and the NEA Big Read, a national initiative that supports community-wide reading programs around the country designed around a single book.
Stolls has more than 18 years of experience in the NEA's Literature program managing various grant programs and special initiatives. She has advised on and reviewed thousands of proposals from organizations and thousands more from individuals, has moderated more than 80 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. To draw attention to the NEA's creative writing 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 numerous personal and literature-related essays. For the NEA, she co-edited the anthology The Art of Empathy: Celebrating Literature in Translation; 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.
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.