Emerging Voices is a literary fellowship that aims to provide new writers, who lack access, with the tools they will need to launch a professional writing career. During the eight month fellowship, each Emerging Voices Fellow participates in a professional mentorship, hosted Q & A evenings with prominent local authors, a series of master classes focused on genre, a voice class, a volunteer project, and several public readings. The fellowship includes a $1,000 stipend.
The Emerging Voices Fellowship runs from January to July. Participants need not be published, but the fellowship is directed toward poets and writers of fiction and creative nonfiction with clear ideas of what they hope to accomplish through their writing.
For more info, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn about the Emerging Voices alumni and their publishing credits.
Brandon Brown was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and raised in the South. He moved to California to pursue his MA in theology and currently lives in Los Angeles, where he works at a nonprofit transitional housing organization and is writing his first collection of poetry, Viking Ships in Los Angeles.
Photography by Casey Curry.
Leslie Brody is the author of Red Star Sister, which was awarded a PEN Center USA award, Irrepressible: The Life and Times of Jessica Mitford, and A Motel of the Mind, a collection of essays. She’s held international writing fellowships at the Camargo Foundation (2005) in France and at Hawthornden (2004) in Scotland. In the U.S. she’s been an artist in residence or fellow at the McDowell Colony, Centrum, Yaddo, Red Cinder Colony, Ragdale, and the Virginia Center for the Arts. Originally from New York, she now lives in Southern California, where she is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Redlands.
Trinie Dalton's books include Wide Eyed (Akashic), Dear New Girl or Whatever Your Name Is (McSweeney's: co-edited with Eli Horowitz and Lisa Wagner), Mythtym (Picturebox), Sweet Tomb (Madras Press), and Baby Geisha (Two Dollar Radio). Trinie’s books alternate between art projects and fiction, and sometimes combine the two. She teaches fiction and critical writing at University of Southern California, School of Visual Arts, Art Center College of Design, and Vermont College of Fine Arts. Visit her at sweettomb.com
Douglas Kearney’s first full-length collection of poems, Fear, Some, was published in 2006 by Red Hen Press. His second manuscript, The Black Automaton, was chosen by Catherine Wagner for the National Poetry Series and published by Fence Books in 2009. It was also a finalist for the PEN Center USA Award in 2010. His chapbook-as-broadsides-as-LP, Quantum Spit, was released by Corollary Press in 2010. His newest chapbook, SkinMag (A5/Deadly Chaps), is now available. He has received a Whiting Writers Award, a Coat Hanger award, and fellowships at Idyllwild and Cave Canem. Kearney has performed his poetry at the Public Theatre, the Orpheum, The World Stage, and others. His poems have appeared in journals such as Callaloo, jubilat, Ploughshares, nocturnes, Ninth Letter, miPoesias, Southampton Review, Washington Square, and Tidal Basin Review. He has been commissioned to compose poetry in response to art by the Weisman Museum in the Twin Cities, the Studio Museum in Harlem, FOCA, and SFMOMA. Performances of Kearney’s libretti have been featured in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Europe and he has been invited to speak on poetics in New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Malmö, Sweden. Born in Brooklyn, and raised in Altadena, California, he lives with his family in California’s Santa Clarita Valley. He teaches at CalArts and Antioch.
James Meetze is the author of Dayglo, which was selected by Terrance Hayes as winner of the 2010 Sawtooth Poetry Prize and published by Ahsahta Press, and I Have Designed This For You. He is editor, with Simon Pettet, of Other Flowers: Uncollected Poems by James Schuyler. James is assistant professor of English at Ashford University and lives in San Diego. A new chapbook, Dark Art I-XII, was published in December.
Melanie Thorne is the author of Hand Me Down, a debut novel in the tradition of Dorothy Allison and Janet Fitch. A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2012 and a 2013 ALA Alex Award nominee, Hand Me Down has been highly praised by media, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Daily Candy, the Associated Press, and People. Melanie earned her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Californa, Davis, and has been awarded the Alva Englund Fellowship, the Maurice Prize in Fiction, and a residency at the Hedgebrook Writers’ Retreat. She lives in Los Angeles. Find her online at www.melaniethorne.com.
Hector Tobar is a Los-Angeles-born writer. He is the author of three books. Most recently the novel The Barbarian Nurseries, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux was named a New York Times Notable Book. The Barbarian Nurseries, translated into French, German and other languages, also won the California Book Award Gold Medal for Fiction. For two decades, he's worked for the Los Angeles Times: as a city reporter, national and foreign correspondent (on assignments from Alaska to Patagonia, and from East Los Angeles to Iraq), and was part of the reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1992 L.A. riots. He was The Times bureau chief in Buenos Aires and Mexico City. For several years he wrote a column for the Los Angeles Times, and has also worked as Features Editor at the LA Weekly and as editor of the bilingual San Francisco magazine El Tecolote. He has a Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of California, Irvine, and studied at University of California, Santa Cruz and at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City. He is also the author of Translation Nation: Defining a New American Identity in the Spanish-Speaking United States, and The Tattooed Soldier, A Novel. He's married, the father of three children and the son of Guatemalan immigrants.
Emerging Voices serves writers who lack access to financial and/or creative support.
People ineligible for the Emerging Voices program:
Emerging Voices is a rigorous fellowship program based in Los Angeles with weekly meetings and an intense reading and writing schedule. With this in mind, participants must be willing and able to make an enthusiastic commitment to the fellowship and to their involvement as members of a group. If you are not a resident of Los Angeles and you are awarded the fellowship you will need to relocate for the eight-month period. Housing is not provided.
MENTORS: Mentors are carefully chosen from PEN’s membership of professional writers based on shared writing interests with each fellow. The mentor-fellow relationship is expected to challenge the fellow's work and compel significant creative progress. Over the course of the program, EVs and mentors should meet three times in person, and be in contact at least once a month. In these meetings, mentors will offer feedback on the EV fellows’ work in progress.
UCLA EXTENSION WRITERS’ PROGRAM: Participants will attend two free courses at UCLA Extension, donated by the Writers’ Program. Program and PEN staff will assist EV fellows with course selection. Fellows will also have access to the UCLA libraries.
AUTHOR EVENINGS: A schedule of Q & A evenings with prominent authors, poets, editors, agents, and publishers will be distributed at the first EV orientation meeting. Fellows must read each visiting author's book before the evening.
MASTER CLASSES: After completing the UCLA Extension courses, EV fellows will enroll in a PEN master class. The master class is a four-session, genre-specific workshop with a professional writer that affords fellows the opportunity to exchange feedback on their works in progress.
VOLUNTEER PROJECT: All fellows are expected to complete a 25-hour volunteer project that is relevant to the literary community.
VOICE CLASS: The fellowship will provide a one-day workshop with a professional voice actor. The EV fellows will read their work in a recording studio and receive instruction on reading their work publicly.
FINAL READING: The program culminates in a public reading to showcase the progress each fellow has made in his or her work.
SPECIAL EVENTS: PEN Center USA provides complimentary admission to select events throughout the fellowship.
The Emerging Voices Fellowship originated as a mentorship project. The project grew out of PEN Center USA’s forum “Writing the Immigrant Experience,” held at the Los Angeles Central Library in March 1994, which explored the issues and challenges faced by first and second generation immigrant writers. It was evident from the forum that many of the culturally diverse communities of writers in Southern California were often isolated from the literary establishment. In the fall of 1995, PEN Center USA initiated Emerging Voices as a literary mentorship program designed to launch potential professional writers from minority, immigrant and other underrepresented communities. The program has now evolved into an eight-month writing fellowship for writers who lack access to a traditional writing education and seek financial and creative support.
The Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation was established in 1948 by my parents, a young businessman and his fashion-editor wife, who clearly had a great deal of confidence in their eventual financial success as well as a genuine desire to contribute to the world outside themselves. As my father formulated it in the beginning, “Individuals fortunate enough to receive unusual benefits from a society have the distinct obligation to return meaningful, tangible support to that society—in the form of creative energy as well as funding.”
What this has meant over the years is a pattern of rewarding excellence and accomplishment by giving awards in the fields of medicine, art and literature. In the last several decades, as the younger generation has begun to have more of a say, the goal has modulated into an emphasis on more directly encouraging excellence and accomplishment—by funding programs as well as awards, thus concentrating on setting up structures for achievement, and utilizing the multiplier effect.
– Jamie Wolf
The Emerging Voices application period is currently closed.
Can I personally hand-in my application to the PEN Center USA offices?
No, all applications must be sent to the listed mailing address.