1. OUR MISSION: TO TELL THE NEW STORIES OF IOWA
The Bicultural Iowa Writers’ Fellowship (BIWF) aims to discover and publish previously unknown writers whose voices contribute to the new story of our state—one that includes a thriving bicultural and immigrant presence. This program celebrates Iowa’s fields of opportunity by opening a window into the complexity of the immigrant experience through the stories of its newest residents. Through the creation of new literature written by our own diverse citizens, Iowans can find opportunities for understanding each other and creating a more connected tomorrow.
2. ABOUT THE FELLOWSHIP
The BIWF is the state’s first fully funded residency for emerging writers who are immigrant, first-, or second-generation Iowans. It provides education, support, and resources in the renowned UNESCO City of Literature—Iowa City. It offers space and time for writers to explore their multilayered identities and the platform to share their stories with a statewide audience. Each fellow gets the opportunity of a lifetime to study, learn, and grow in their writing and ultimately to have their stories published by the Iowa Writers’ House.
The program launched in 2018. Inaugural BIWF fellows were Chuy Renteria, Mexican-American from West Liberty; Melissa Palma, Filipino-American from Waterloo; and Sadagat Aliyeva, Azerbaijani-American from Des Moines. Their book, We the Interwoven: An Anthology of Bicultural Iowa, was published this summer and sold out of its first printing in two months. The program also includes a collaborative partnership with the Iowa Library Association and libraries across the state so that both children and adults can read and learn about these new chapters in the story of Iowa.
3. WRITING PROJECTS
We are interested in supporting writers who are ready to tell their Iowa stories, stories of their families, and stories of their cultural communities. Our fellowship asks writers to approach their stories through themes of migration, refuge, and home. Interviewing family members and community members as part of their stories is encouraged.
Over the course of their six-month fellowship, writers will develop a collection of five pieces. Applicants writing nonfiction are highly encouraged. If writers prefer fiction or poetry, we require at least one nonfiction essay about the writers’ bicultural experience in Iowa. (The application also requests a nonfiction writing sample about the bicultural experience.)
The work can be developed in English or their native language, and it will be translated to the respective second language in collaboration with a university translator.
4. BENEFITS & COMPENSATION
Each fellow will receive the following opportunities and benefits:
- Lodging and meals at the Iowa Writers’ House for three extended weekend residencies
- Professional educational workshops with industry experts and established writers
- Expansion of their literary professional network
- Collaborative professional mentorship and guidance
- Guided introduction to the Iowa City–City of Literature community and its resources
- Support in translation from a university MFA student
- $500 cash honorarium
- $250 transportation stipend for the fellowship and subsequent event travel
- Publication of their final collection of stories (print & digital)
- Marketing support and book tour promotional opportunities
Total Value per Fellow: $12,500
5. FELLOWSHIP COMMITMENTS & REQUIREMENTS
Applicants should be interested in writing about issues relating to identity, culture, and place, as well as passionate about sharing their voice and the voices of their communities. Fellows commit to attending all three residencies at the set dates, completing their writing projects for publication within the timeline provided (between December 1, 2018, and March 15, 2019), holding one reading in their town, and attending the final book launch events in May and June of 2019.
Fellows also commit to attending a set number of book tour events during the eight-month period after the book launches (estimated 7-10). A travel stipend is provided to support these visits.
This program is open to all Iowa residents who identify as Iowans and identify with more than one culture. Examples include—but are not limited to—Iowans from immigrant families (first, second, or third generation), people of mixed heritage, Native American/First Nations heritage, Polynesian heritage, and so on. We also accept applications from adoptees.
A general understanding of English is important to ensure the fellows can make the most of the BIWF experience and can communicate with the workshop instructors and other fellows. Translators are provided for translating the written works for the final publication, so fellows need not be fluent in their second cultural language.
IN ORDER TO APPLY, FELLOWS MUST BE AVAILABLE FOR ALL THREE RESIDENCIES.
If you have a question concerning your eligibility, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. HOW TO APPLY
The 2019 fellowship application period is closed.
ORDER THE NEW BOOK FROM THE 2018 FELLOWS
THE FIRST EVER STORY COLLECTION
FEATURING ORIGINAL STORIES
FROM IMMIGRANT & FIRST-GENERATION IOWANS.
WE THE INTERWOVEN:
AN ANTHOLOGY OF BICULTURAL IOWA
(plus shipping and handling)
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:
"This is the first time I've seen a story in print that represents me as a Mexican-American." - Serg G.
"Iowans need to read these stories and we're glad you're making it possible." - Mary W.