A few resources for women writers

A few weeks ago, I posted about the plight of the woman writer.  I suggested that more grants to supplement the shrinking supply of book advances would really make an impact on the lives of many young women writers. Since then, I have done some digging and have come up with three resources that you should know about if you are a young woman writer who is looking for ways to get funding.

  1. The National Endowment for the Arts: Creative Writing Fellowships – These are grants from the federal government that award 25,000 dollars to individuals who want to take the time out to write, research or simply advance their career. The specifics for the 2011-2012 grant cycle will be posted in a month. But the deadline will be in early March. The Hitch? Well, for non-fiction writers, you must have 5 publications in memoir or personal essay. But since the deadline is about 5 months away, and online publications can count for some of them, it’s not too bad of a deal if you have a head start. See additional guidelines for eligibility here.
  2. La Muse writers’ and artists’ retreat in Southern France – This is a tranquil writing space designed for folks at all levels of their professional development. Their take on what writers need to do the good work they do is so alluring: “What we offer is quite specific: time and space to create among peers; access to nature, culture and good food; and an opportunity to focus solely on your creative pursuits.” This was created by two 20-something American writers who recognized that writers don’t just need time to write but a low to no-cost space that will promote creativity. Check out the guidelines here. The only hitch is that it only lasts a month and it seems that you would have to be in France to live in the space. However, they have plans for expansion if you are looking for grants further into the future.
  3. Your University. I know this doesn’t apply to many women but if you are enrolled, it is something that you should look into. As a graduate student, I am encouraged by the Hopwood Awards which offers $175,000 in prizes every year to young aspiring writers at the University of Michigan. I am certain that other schools have similar programs and, if you are a current student or an alum, it is something you should look into.

I know that people can be reluctant to share contest sightings, because the odds of winning may decrease when the pool widens. However, I always try to share these sightings because I think it’s important to get the word out to young women writers  about resources that they can take advantage of with some work and persistence.

So how about you? Do you know of ways women writers can meet the eligibility requirements for the NEA Literature Fellowship in March? Do you know of low-cost residence spaces in the US that writers can take advantage of? What contests are you applying to this year?

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