Creative Writing Fellowships

by Jessica Stolen
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The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Literature Fellowships program offers $25,000 grants in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) and poetry to published creative writers that enable recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement. Applications are reviewed through an anonymous process in which the criteria for review are the artistic excellence and artistic merit of the submitted writing sample. Through this program, the NEA seeks to sustain and nurture a diverse range of creative writers at various stages of their careers and to continue to expand the portfolio of American art.

The NEA is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, and fostering mutual support for the diverse beliefs and values of all individuals and groups.

The program operates on a two-year cycle with fellowships in prose and poetry available in alternating years. For FY 2025, which is covered by these guidelines, fellowships in poetry are available. Fellowships in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) will be offered in FY 2026 and guidelines will be available in January 2025. You may apply only once each year.

Competition for fellowships is extremely rigorous. We typically receive more than 1,600 applications each year in this category and award fellowships to fewer than 3% of applicants.


  • Individuals who previously received two or more Literature Fellowships (poetry or prose) or Translation Fellowships from the NEA.
  • Individuals who received any Literature Fellowship (poetry or prose) or Translation Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts on or after January 1, 2016.
  • News reporting.
  • Scholarly writing. (Writers who are engaged in scholarly work may wish to contact the National Endowment for the Humanities.)
  • Work toward academic degrees.


You must submit applications electronically through, the federal government’s online application system. The system must receive your validated and accepted application no later than 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on March 13, 2024. Late applications are not accepted.

Expect notification of awards and rejections no sooner than December 2024. The fellowship period may begin any time between January 1, 2025, and January 1, 2026, and extend for up to two years.

We strongly recommend you submit your application no later than March 8, 2024, to give yourself ample time to resolve any problems you might encounter. The system must receive your validated and accepted application no later than 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on March 13, 2024. You take a significant risk by waiting until the day of the deadline to submit. Late applications will not be accepted.

CLOSESMarch 13, 2024 11:59 pm


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