The traditional story of Iowa is one of farming-based settlements and European immigrants. But TODAY’S IOWA IS A DIFFERENT STORY—a uniquely beautiful tapestry woven from people of many backgrounds, most of whom are experiencing America for the first time through the lens of our state. THIS NEW STORY NEEDS TO BE TOLD, especially from the voices of those who are experiencing it firsthand, so that we can all gain new perspectives of who we are as Iowans.

The BICULTURAL IOWA WRITERS’ FELLOWSHIP (BIWF) is the state’s first fully funded residency for emerging writers who are immigrants and non-native Iowans. The fellowship provides education, support, and resources from the renowned literary community of Iowa. It offers space and time for writers to explore their multilayered identities and the platform share their stories with a state-wide audience. As a whole, the fellowship creates a living documentation of the immigrant experience in Iowa and begins to tell a new story of our state. 

BIWF WILL GIVE THREE EMERGING WRITERS AN UNMATCHED OPPORTUNITY to grow in their writing abilities and professional resources. Each fellow will receive the following opportunities and benefits: 
- Guided introduction to the Iowa City–City of Literature community and its resources
- Lodging and meals at the Iowa Writers’ House for three extended weekend residencies
- Meetings with industry experts and established writers - Expansion of literary professional network
- Collaborative workshops and guidance - Support in translation from a university MFA student
- $500 honorarium
- $150 transportation stipend
- Digital/print publication of the final project collection


Our fellowship asks writers to APPROACH THEMES OF MIGRATION, BELONGING, AND HOME. Writers work together during the first residency to determine their approaches to the project, which can include stories, essays, or poems. The work can be developed in English or their native language and translated to the respective second language in collaboration with a university translator. Fellows commit to completing their writing projects for publication within the timeline provided, holding one reading in their town, and attending the final project celebration and presentation of work.


This program is open to all Iowa residents who are immigrants or are from immigrant families (first, second, or third generation), people of mixed heritage, and adoptees. Three fellows will be chosen. 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. 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. FELLOWS MUST BE AVAILABLE FOR ALL THREE RESIDENCIES. If you have a question concerning your eligibility, please do not hesitate to contact us at



October 15: Application opens
November 20: Application closes                                                                                                                                       November 20-24: Review of applications
November 25: Announcement of 3 BIWF fellows
December 8-10: Residency #1
February 16-18: Residency #2
April 13-15: Residency #3
April 30: Fellowship projects due
June 9: Celebratory reception