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Why Apply for an Oregon Literary Fellowship? Hear From These Recipients

Since 1987, Literary Arts has honored over 700 Oregon writers and publishers, and distributed more than $1 million in fellowships and award monies through the Oregon Book Awards & Fellowships program.

This year, Literary Arts will award thirteen fellowships: two Oregon Literary Career Fellowships of $10,000 each, and eleven fellowships of $3,500, for a total of $58,500. Of these, one Oregon Literary Career Fellowship and one Oregon Literary Fellowship will be awarded specifically to a BIPOC writer. Oregon Literary Fellowships are intended to help Oregon writers at all stages of their career initiate, develop, or complete literary projects—you don’t need to be a published author to apply!

The deadline for the 2022 Oregon Literary Fellowship program is September 17, 2021. We’ll be holding two information sessions on August 18th and August 31st to go over questions you may have around applying. 

Some of this year’s Literary Fellows spoke with us on their inspiration, creative process, and why they were excited to receive an Oregon Literary Fellowship: 

“Hope is like a string of lights that you know will be beautiful on your wall but might not reach the outlet. It doesn’t matter if it ever illuminates. Just try to plug it in.”
—Sandy Tanaka, Writer of Color Oregon Literary Career Fellowship

“The best writers make each character unique, even to the words they subconsciously choose to use, the way they craft phrases when they think and when they speak. I try to listen well.”
—Pedro Hoffmeister, Laurell Swails and Donald Monroe Memorial Fellowship 

“As a newcomer to the Pacific Northwest, the environment—the forests and mountains and the Pacific Ocean, waterfalls, the animals—incredibly, largely because my relationship with this landscape feels so tenuous, new and fragile, and I’m so small. I’m inspired by humanity and our depths and consciousness, human relationships, community, and, increasingly, the relationship between humanity and the rest of the natural world.”
—Scott Korb, Walt Morey Fellowship

“My best advice is ‘keep trying.’ This was the 15th time I’d applied for an Oregon Literary Fellowship. It’s such a generous gift that Literary Arts gives to the writing community—I mean, come on, it costs nothing to apply (except a little work), so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I think the writing package I sent in this time was probably the riskiest one I’ve sent, and it was more thematic than most of my past packages. . . . Just give it your best; give it your self.”
—Amy Miller, C. Hamilton Bailey Fellowship

“I am inspired by people. Every day I am inspired by what I see people do, what I see them make. I’m inspired by orality and storytelling more so than by plot devices and genre conventions. I like to take things I observe from the world, be it from nature, history, or elsewhere, and try to bridge or fold-in different points of view together. Everything I write is a meditation on my culture and my surroundings. Unpacking the past is never simple or easy, but I think it’s important in order to make art that’s meaningful to me and other people.”
—A.M Rosales, Women Writers Fellowship 

“Here’s some advice from other writing professionals that I take to heart with each project I begin: Write what ignites your passion, write the story you have to tell. There is only one you in the universe. When it comes to your story, you are the only person who can write it.”
—Shana Targosz, Edna L. Holmes Fellowship in Young Readers

“Find a way to make the application work for you. And, the unexpected does happen. You might just surprise yourself! I was planning to submit to OLA for at least a few years or longer before being awarded. I was shocked to be selected this year, and it made me grateful I put the extra time into coming up with a solid plan back when I applied!” 
—Emily Woodworth, Laurell Swails and Donald Monroe Memorial Fellowship

Questions? Contact Susan Moore at susan@literary-arts.org or attend our Zoom information sessions on August 18 or August 31.

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