The Margins Fellowship at Asian American Writers’ Workshop

Fields: humanities, writing, immigrants, racial justice, arts

Location: NYC, New York

About the Organization: Since 1991, The Asian American Writers’ Workshop has served as a national home for Asian American stories. An alternative arts space dedicated to literature at the intersection of race, migration, and social justice, we host more than 50 events a year, featuring nearly 200 writers and artists. We publish the online magazines The Margins, our magazine of arts and ideas, and Open City, which is dedicated to chronicling low-income immigrant communities in New York. We grant fellowships to emerging Asian American writers. We send writers to lead workshops in NYC public high schools and senior centers, and we hold writing workshops in our space. We have a podcast, AAWW Radio, and a YouTube channel, through which you can experience the magic of our NYC reading room. Named one of the top five Asian American groups nationally, covered by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The New York Observer, we seek to invent the future of Asian American intellectual culture.

Over the past six years, since launching our online magazines, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop has attracted over one million visitors online across the nation. Our audience is national: 65% of Margins readers and 62% of Open City readers were located outside of New York, in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington. We will promote The Margins Fellows’ published work on our MailChimp newsletters, Twitter, and Facebook as well we tweet out accomplishments by fellows through the year.

About the Position: The Margins Fellowship is an opportunity for excellent emerging Asian American poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers who are tired of endlessly submitting their pieces and are looking for a home for their writing and a direction for their career. The fellowship would be a good fit for artists seeking to generate new and original work, build connections, and engage in dialogue with a community of writer peers.

This is an unique fellowship that combines publication opportunities, space, colony time, mentorship, and what graphic novelist Eddie Campbell once called that lovely, horrible stuff, money:

  • a) Honoraria: $5,000, comparable to the Arthur F. Burns Fellowship and fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Daniel Pearl Journalism Initiative;
  • b) Residency spaces at The Millay Colony—an innovative seven—acre artists retreat space at the former house and gardens of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay in Austerlitz, NY;
  • c) 24/7 access to AAWW’s space: Given that time and space to write is rare in New York, the Margins Fellows will be given keys to the AAWW Reading Room and workspace, a unique library of Asian American literature that one professor recently described as a “priceless rec room for the heart and mind.”
  • d) We will publish several pieces of each fellow’s work over the one-year period on our online magazine, The Margins, which has previously published Jessica Hagedorn, Amitava Kumar, Chang-Rae Lee, Yoko Ogawa, Bhanu Kapil, Sarah Gambito and others.
  • e) During the first few months of the fellowship we will work to pair each fellow with a mentor, an established writer who will meet with our fellows in-person at a minimum four times during the fellowship year.

You’ll also get the following:

  • Access to private career meet-ups and dinners with editors, agents, and fellow writers for the Fellows.
  • Free admission to the next AAWW POC Publishing Bootcamp, which most recently featured literary agents Alia Hanna Habib (Gernet), Serene Hakim (Ayeshe Pande Literary), Rachel Kim (3Arts), Rebecca Nagel (The Wylie Agency), and Quressa Robinson (Nelson Literary).
  • Free membership to the AAWW, discounts, free access to general programs.
  • One free writing workshop ($200);
  • Guidance from AAWW Editorial Director Jyothi Natarajan, who will also meet with you at the beginning and end of the fellowship to discuss your career goals and how AAWW can help you meet them.

The Margins Fellowship does not privilege any specific aesthetic style and we are open to a wide range of styles from both the traditional to the experimental. Written submissions do not need to concern “Asian American” “issues.” While we of course often hold events and publish work on these themes, we want you to develop as a creative writer who can write about whatever you want, with the same permission that non-minority writers have. We do recommend that applicants take a look at the AAWW website and The Margins to have a sense of the organization as a whole.

Special Requirements/Qualifications: Eligible candidates are Asian American and Asian diasporic writers who reside in New York City.

  • “Asian American” is defined broadly to include not just, say, Chinese and Indian Americans, but also Asian American adoptee and multiracial writers, Indo-Caribbean writers, and West Asians, such as Iranians and Arab Americans. The ideal candidate for The Margins Fellowship is an Asian American and/or a Muslim, Arab, or South Asian writer.
  • All applicants must reside in New York City at the time of the fellowship.
  • Margins Fellowship applicants must be 30 years or younger and should not be enrolled in any academic, conservatory, college, or degree granting training program during the fellowship term.

We define “emerging writer” broadly to describe a creative writer in an early or transitional stage of their career, one who has not yet had the support, resources, guidance, or network they need to move to the next level. An emerging writer may have a publication record, but would not have yet published a book-length work in the genre in which they are applying. Others may not have a robust publication record, but demonstrate ability in their work samples and the formation of a body of work. While some publication record is preferred, the strength of the work is more important than its home. Unpublished writers will be given equal consideration with a strong writing sample. The fellowship is designed to support not-yet-established writers looking to build their publication portfolio.

We are especially interested in writers who can thoughtfully articulate their own career and creative goals, and take the most advantage of using AAWW’s initiatives and institutional platform (e.g., access to workshops, space, and publication opportunities) to grow as a writer and build a network.

Estimated Salary: Special – see above.

Deadline: September 12, 2018

Apply Here:
Asian American Writers’ Workshop


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