On the Radar—March 2018 Edition


Caldera. “Every winter from January through March, creative individuals, collaborations, and performing ensembles are awarded the gift of time and space at our beautiful Arts Center in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains near Sisters, Oregon, for 3.5 week residencies.” 

I loved my time at Caldera. I jogged every day, cooked, enjoyed the company of the other artists tremendously, went to a hot springs (I got naked in front of strangers!), worked on an essay and this story, and read Bret Hart’s autobiography. Apply. Deadline: March 15, 2018

Djerassi. “Each year, 70+ writers, artists, composers, choreographers, filmmakers and scientists are awarded the gift of time and space: a one-month residency on our 583-acre ranch in Northern California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. All at no cost to the artists.” Deadline: March 15

“The Kerouac Project provides four residencies a year to writers of any stripe or age, living anywhere in the world. In the past, we have accepted writers with no formal writing education alongside those with MFA’s and impressive résumés. You will be judged on the quality of the writing sample you submit. Each residency consists of approximately a three-month stay in the cottage where Jack Kerouac wrote his novel Dharma Bums. Utilities and a food stipend of $1,000 are included.”

I still dream about this house. I met such fantastic artists and generous, kind people here in Orlando. I worked diligently here. My husband even came down and we had 10 great days where I wrote in the morning while he rode a bike around Lake Adair. We sang Jack jingles. My Hedgebrook sis Carol visited and we talked so much and watched Stranger Things together. I read about Tainos, wrote about a boy hiding in Luperon’s mausoleum in Puerto Plata.I mourned the presidential election here, stuck it out through a thankfully not-bad huracan here. And more, and more. I left all that energy there so please apply and make your own memories and do good work.

Deadline: April 16



On the Radar—February 2018 Edition

“Creative Capital is an impact-driven arts organization that supports adventurous artists across the country through funding, counsel, and career development services. Our pioneering venture philanthropy approach helps artists working in all creative disciplines realize their visions and build sustainable practices. Creative Capital provides each funded project with up to $50,000 in direct funding and career development services valued at $45,000, for a total commitment of up to $95,000 per project.” Letters of Inquiry accepted Feb 1 through Feb 28

Lighthouse Works. “The program accepts artists working in a wide range of disciplines, but we are best able to accommodate visual artists and writers. Fellowships are six weeks in length, occur year round and provide fellows with housing, food, studio space, a $250 travel allowance and a $1,500 stipend.” Deadline: February 15

The Center for Fiction. “We will be selecting nine writers in 2018 and during the one-year fellowship period grantees will receive:

  • A grant of $5,000
  • The option to engage in a mentorship with a selected freelance editor
  • The opportunity to meet with agents who represent new writers
  • Free admission to all Center events for one year, including tickets to our First Novel Fete and benefit dinner as space allows
  • 30% discount on tuition at select writing workshops at the Center
  • Two public readings as part of our annual program of events and inclusion in an anthology distributed to industry professionals
  • A professional headshot with a photographer for personal publicity use”   Deadline: February 15

The Ucross Foundation provides living accommodations, individual work space, and uninterrupted time to approximately 85 individuals each year.  Typical residencies are one month in length but can vary from two to six weeks.  At any one time, there are up to ten individuals in residence, a mix of visual artists, writers and composers.  In most cases, studios are separate from living quarters.” Deadline: March 1

The Tulsa Artist Fellowship (TAF) provides an unrestricted award of $20,000 for visual and literary artists for one year. In addition to the unrestricted award, TAF provides free housing, studio space to visual artists and co-working space to literary artists in the heart of Tulsa’s vibrant arts and entertainment district.” Deadline: March 1

“The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts offers approximately 70 juried residencies per year to visual artists, writers, composers, and interdisciplinary artists from across the country and around the world.” Deadline: March 1

James Castle House. “Boise City invites national emerging and mid-career artists to apply for a 3-month residency at the historic James Castle House in Boise’s Collister Neighborhood.” Deadline: March 7

Caldera. “Every winter from January through March, creative individuals, collaborations, and performing ensembles are awarded the gift of time and space at our beautiful Arts Center in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains near Sisters, Oregon, for 3.5 week residencies.” Deadline: March 15, 2018

Djerassi. “Each year, 70+ writers, artists, composers, choreographers, filmmakers and scientists are awarded the gift of time and space: a one-month residency on our 583-acre ranch in Northern California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. All at no cost to the artists.” Deadline: March 15

On the Radar – Fall Edition

NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowships, awarded in fifteen different disciplines over a three-year period, are $7,000 cash awards made to individual originating artists living and working in the state of New York for unrestricted use. Deadline: January 24, 2018.

Fine Arts Work Center Fellowships are open to writers and visual artists in the emerging stages of their careers. Writing Fellowship Application Deadline: December 1, 2017

How to Get Accepted at an Artist Residency. I chatted with writer Alanna Schubach for this one. She culled together a Lifehacker article that is packed with good info.

Note: I’ll update this list with more solid opportunities coming up from now until the end of the year so make sure to check back every so often. This will never be comprehensive – it’s always been a list I create for myself and share. 

To be honest, I haven’t written at all this year. Picking out floor lamps and handtowels excites me more than writing these days and I don’t believe in continuing to do something if it makes me miserable. I am teaching fiction to a boisterous pack of 9 – 11-year-olds and you know what? They have fun. Their ideas excite them. They are unencumbered by things that lay outside of pure creation. No thoughts of legacy, or their parents, or saleability, or respectability, or agents, or publication, or even readers. 

This doesn’t feel fun anymore, it feels grueling. Right now, I am at peace saying that I am not writing and will not unless I can do it with the same thrill my kids do. Until I can be a kid alone in my room. And if I never feel that way again, then I never will. I’ve never been of the hyperbolic mindset that I would die if I couldn’t write. Writing has never been my lifeblood, it’s always felt more like one of the pathways to understanding myself, my loved ones, strangers. But other things have at different times been fulfilling pathways. Friendships. Meditation. Family. Cooking. Reading. 

But I’m not opposed to seeking out opportunities that will lead me to be that kid in her room, scribbling scenes for the joy of it. I’ll continue to share what I find.



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On The Radar – July Edition

The SFWP Awards Program is “looking for fiction and creative nonfiction of any length, genre, and subject matter.” Judge: Benjamin Percy. Submission deadline: July 22

Can Serrat International Art Residency opens the Residency Call for Writers. This Open Call is meant to support literary production and to offer a working and living space for writers. We will invite 1 writer for a full grant in addition to inviting 49 writers for a partial aid support stipend.” Application deadline: August 1st.

Yaddo is a retreat for artists located on a 400-acre estate in Saratoga Springs, New York. Its mission is to nurture the creative process by providing an opportunity for artists to work without interruption in a supportive environment.” Application deadline: August 1st.

Litro Magazine is accepting poetry, fiction, and essay about the “experience of boundaries, real and imagined, in a bold array of poetry, fiction, and essay” for their Latin America-themed issue. Submission deadline: August 23

American Short Fiction has published, and continues to seek, short fiction by some of the finest writers working in contemporary literature, whether they are established or new or lesser-known authors.” Submissions year-round

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On the Radar – May Edition

Boulevard strives to publish only the finest in fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.” Submission deadline May 1

Prairie Schooner publishes short stories, poems, imaginative essays of general interest, and reviews of current books of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.” Submission deadline May 1

Jack Jones Literary Arts is hosting its first annual writing retreat at SMU-in-Taos in Taos, New Mexico. This two-week retreat will be held October 12- 26, 2017, and is open exclusively to women of color.” Application deadline: May 1

The Emerging Voices Fellowship is a literary mentorship that aims to provide new writers who are isolated from the literary establishment with the tools, skills, and knowledge they need to launch a professional writing career.” Application period OPENS May 1. 

Poetic Duels: Sheyr Jangi
Poetic battles–called sheyr jangi in Afghanistan–have roots in the early medieval Asia. For this event, poets Majda Gama, Rami Karim, Aurora Masum-Javed, Sham-e-Ali Nayeem, and Purvi Shah will pay homage to this tradition. May 6 at 7:30 pm

“This summer, One Story will offer our annual writing conference for emerging writers, hosted in our home, the historic Old American Can Factory in Brooklyn.” Applications due May 10

The Emerging [Ploughshares] Writer’s Contest is open to writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry who have yet to publish or self-publish a book. The winner in each genre will be awarded $2,000.” Deadline May 15

“Published quarterly, the Gettysburg Review considers unsolicited submissions of poetry, fiction, and essays, from September 1 through May 31 (postmark dates).”

AGNI publishes poetry, short fiction, and essays.” Submission deadline May 31

Baltimore Review is accepting new submissions from through May 31.

New England Review is accepting new submissions from through May 31.

Apply for the July 2017 New Orleans Writers’ Residency. Application deadline: June 1

The [Headlands] Artist in Residence (AIR) program awards fully sponsored residencies to approximately 45 local, national, and international artists each year. Residencies of four to ten weeks include studio space, chef-prepared meals, comfortable housing, and travel and living stipends. Application deadline: June 2

The Baltic Writing Residency is extremely excited to announce the establishment of the Stormé DeLarverie writing residency, specifically aimed at under-represented writers.” Application deadline: June 15

The Marianne Russo Award, the Scotti Merrill Memorial Award, and the Cecelia Joyce Johnson Award recognize and support writers who possess exceptional talent and demonstrate potential for lasting literary careers.” Application deadline: June 30

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On the Radar – April Edition

Tin House will once again be awarding both full (includes room and board) and tuition scholarships for our Summer Workshop. For 2017, we are pleased to announce an expansion of the number of scholarships offered, from thirteen to fifteen. This was made possible by a private donation that was inspired by a talk given by Kiese Laymon during our 2016 Summer Workshop. As the focus of that lecture was a discussion on who is given access to literary institutions such as Tin House, this donation was intended to encourage writers of color to seek fellowships for the workshop.” (I was there for Kiese’s talk. It was a relief, an unburdening, and thoughtful. He said publicly what POC there were speaking to each other about privately. While I was disappointed that as usual a writer of color was the only one to bring up questions of accessibility, I am glad to see something came from it.Deadline for Scholarship applications: April 1

Australian Book Review welcomes entries in the 2017 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, one of the world’s leading prizes for an original short story.” (I got long-listed for this one last year.) Deadline: April 10

KSF Artists of Choice supports artists in the creation of new work by providing financial support (£10k / $10k)  and mentoring. Open to artists who have exciting, creative and unique projects across the genres of Musical Theater, Dance, Film and Theater.” Deadline: April 14

The MacDowell Colony provides time, space, and an inspiring environment to artists of exceptional talent.” Deadline for Fall 2017 residencies: April 15

“April 15 is the deadline to submit to the Kundiman Mentorship Program with Paisley Rekdal and Alexander Chee.”

SLICE magazine welcomes submissions for short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.” Reading period open from April 1 – June 1

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Other Side of the Desk

I’m reviewing applications for an artist residency program. I’m collecting my thoughts here as I go so others can benefit from my perspective for their own applications and for myself as I work on my own revisions. The most convincing case for ruthless editing is made by being a reader. Here goes:

-If you’re from a marginalized community, I am paying attention and want to score you highly. Just don’t Meek it up.

-If you’ve never been to a residency, I want to help you go.

-All I look for from a resume or CV is continual involvement, effort, and learning. Not publication in The New Yorker.

-That’s not totally true. Maybe that’s all I look for but I do notice if there are honors and publications I recognize. Too many of them and it does give me the feeling that this person is swimming along just fine and will do so with or without this residency. Too few and I wonder if it’s due to the quality of the writing.

-If your resume is full of sales and retail jobs, dates you attended universities but did not graduate, no universities at all, I give you serious consideration. I want to say yes to you even more than someone with an MFA.

-I switched to reading writing samples first. I was reading work plans and resumes first just because they appeared first in the package, but I think this it’s more impartial not to read those first.

-I’m not a grammatician or even a great copywriter, but if your grammar and spelling distract me – as in, I’m reading and thinking, “there should be a comma there,” or “that’s supposed to be plural,” then it’s hard to get past that and into the story.

-A writing sample is great if it can make me forget that I’m judging 43 applications and reading about 430 pages today and makes me want to keep reading this one.

-Less is more. Five adjectives to describe a thing and you’re killing me, Smalls. Pick the sharpest one. A building can be low-ceilinged, wood-framed, decrepit, newly-built, etc. but which one is the one the reader must absolutely know? Which one, if you leave it out will leave a hole in the reader’s understanding?

-Long descriptions of the setting, arbitrarily placed, make me aware that you’re world-building. Why here, why now, when it comes to descriptions of setting. If the character is getting from one physical place to another, I think that’s a good spot to slip in the setting. Or if they’re waiting. It does double-duty by marking the passage of time. Triple-duty would be if what’s being described is crucial to the plot or an understanding of the character.

Tangent: A good place to describe a doctor’s office would be as the characters are waiting to be called. Not when they go in to see the doctor about their test results. A patient who is a fashion editor will notice the Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Cosmo on the side table. She’ll notice the receptionist’s billowy chiffon blouse in last season’s emerald green. A physical trainer would notice the bit of jiggle in the receptionist’s arms through her sheer sleeves that he’d have her do shoulder presses for. He might notice the slimness of the white chairs, like something out of The Jetsons, and doubt the strength of the skinny chrome legs against his 275lbs body. He might notice the gray carpeting as he slides his gym bag under his seat. An electrician might notice the nest of cords in the corner. He might notice the receptionist’s desk where he would cut a hole no bigger than the bottom of a bottle of Heineken and use those tiny clamps he pocketed off the job site to run the cords through. A visual artist might notice the uninspired choice of Monet’s water lilies on the wall, the abundance of morning light coming through the windows, the museum white walls in this office. Now, if the receptionist plugs her cell phone in a power strip and a spark jumps and catches on her blouse…way better ways to do this, but you get the idea. I could have chosen instead to describe the flat screen blaring CNN, the white bookcases with no books, the decorative teal baskets on the shelves, the philodendron on the window sill. I chose not to because those details don’t do the double and triple-duty I want my sentences to do.

Another tangent. There’s something they teach in pro-wrestling. If an opponent has been “working” your knee for a minute, you can’t just get up on both feet as if you weren’t just getting hit. You limp. You scurry away to a corner of the ring to gather yourself. Later in the match, you wince when your leg is hit. Wrestlers have to remember their injuries for the story of the match. Same in fiction. If a henchman just came to collect a payment a character is short on and lets them off with a warning, the sense of worry and pressure can’t disappear when he leaves or another person enters. It has to keep pressing. Even as the next thing happens, that concern must lurk. The injury must be remembered.

-I’ve read 5 pages in an hour. My husband is randomly singing, asking if I want coffee, wondering aloud if we should get an under the door draft stopper. (We should.) I’m also getting hungry and would like to stop reading. There’s a TV on in the background with Italians singing Jesus Christ Superstar. You’re not competing with other writers, you’re competing with the real world around the reviewer.

Bewertungs-set, vektor smileys

-There’s nothing better than a character backed into a corner who makes a move to get out of it that turns out to be the wrong move. That shit never gets old.

-Actually, the only thing better is a character that makes a “bad” decision involving money.

-As a reviewer, I completely ignore reference letters and references.

-The question I grapple with when looking at something with a great premise and uneven execution is: can they make something good great? Not even this piece in particular. Can they become the type of writer that can do that? Catch where their story is weak and strengthen it. (I’m still learning that myself.)

-A great artist statement tells a story. Themes and theories and contextualizing and synthesizing…oh sorry. Fell asleep. Because it’s deadly boring.

-A great work plan is plain and direct. It says this is what I’m working on, this is where I am right now, this is where I want it to go, and this is what I need from you to keep working on it. Boom. The more quantifiable, the more I believe you got this. Of course, there are some things you’re not sure about. Maybe you have some ideas and you need time to try them out, toss them out, try others. That’s fine. Tell me. And of course, even if you have a plan it could completely change. Mine has at every residency. That’s fine too. Rarely are artists asked for deliverables. My responsibility as a reviewer is to make suggestions on who I believe would best make use of the gift of a month of time to write based on their intent. Have strong intention.

-Writing samples from people with MFAs are like the super perky kids that sit in the front row, not a hair outta place, pencils sharpened to even lengths. Like alright, I get it. Relax, b.

-Writing samples from people without MFAs are like that kid that wows with great, fresh ideas, but then their term papers look like they were in Saw 15, there’s so much red scribbled across it. And you’re like dammit, Kenneth, you know what? Go sit with Margaret in the front row and learn how she doesn’t do these things you do. (Full disclosure: I am a Kenneth.)

-If I look up to check what page I’m on, I stop reading. No matter how much I’d like to read everyone’s full sample. #wastehertime was a 2016 hashtag, thanks.

-I wonder how shocked this White lady lawyer who lives in Harlem now whose application is the first one I rated “superior” as opposed to “competent” would be if I met her. I don’t say this as a reflection of her, maybe she wouldn’t be shocked at all. It’s a reflection of how everything I do, even this, is affected by my race, class, ethnicity. By how those things are interpreted.

-The more submissions I read, the quicker I can tell if the submission has “it.” As Nas only needs one mic, I only need one page.

-I forgot how hard this can be. To make the best decisions for the writers and the organization. Also, how many hours this can take. I’m always glad to have contributed my time at the end, but I always forget how much time will be required when I begin.