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 writer’s bicultural experience in Iowa. (The application also requests a nonfiction writing sample about the bicultural experience.) The work can be developed in English or the writer’s native language, and it will be translated to the respective second language in collaboration with a university translator.

benefits and compensation

Each fellow will receive the following opportunities and benefits: 
- Lodging and meals at the Iowa Writers’ House for three extended weekend residencies
- 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 in the final collection of stories (print & digital)
- Marketing support and book tour promotional opportunities

Total Value per Fellow: $12,500


fellowship commitments and 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.


If you have a question concerning your eligibility, please do not hesitate to contact us at welcome@iowawritershouse.com.

how to apply

The 2019 application period has closed.