The Grotto Fellowship Program

The Grotto Fellowship

Our fellowship program is dedicated to fostering emerging writers in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is open to writers of every genre, including fiction, nonfiction, memoir, journalism, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, et cetera. Writers who have demonstrated a commitment to their craft but who are not yet widely published are eligible. We particularly encourage writers of color, ethnic minorities, those who identify as LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, and other members of communities historically underrepresented by the literary community to apply.

Up to six people will be selected for a fellowship term of twelve months. Fellows are offered unlimited access to no-cost open desk space at the Grotto and are considered full members during the duration of their fellowship.

In addition to working at the Grotto, fellows will also be paired with mentors to help with their transition into the Grotto community. Mentors will work with their fellows to identify goals for their works-in-progress and opportunities to explore during their time at the Grotto. These might include project check-ins with their mentor, volunteering for Grotto committees, participating in Grotto craft groups (e.g., journalism, short fiction, book publicity), or attending Grotto events (readings, lunches, etc.). At the end of the year, fellows will be invited to do a public reading at the Grotto to present the work they’ve done during their term.

Each fellow will be invited to apply to join the Grotto as a full-time member after successful completion of their fellowship.

Due to continuing effects of the pandemic, the Grotto fellowship application will reopen in 2023. Thank you for your interest.

Frequently asked questions

What constitutes a demonstrated commitment to writing?

Commitment to writing comes in many forms. You do not need to have an MFA. Publications or internships in your field of interest show dedication to your craft, as well as a history of involvement with the writing community—including attending writing conferences, participation in writing workshops, running a journal, organizing a reading series, or reading at local events.

What are you looking for?

We’re looking for excellent writing and interesting and focused projects. These might include a group of poems, the beginning of a novel manuscript, or the completion of a play or movie script. You should have a clear idea of the trajectory of your project before you apply, and it should be already underway.

How much does it cost?

The Grotto fellowship and membership to the Grotto during that time is free.

What is the application process?

Be prepared to submit a sample of recent work (ten pages of prose or up to ten poems) as well as a brief statement explaining your background, your particular project, and what you hope to gain from working at the Grotto.

Please note that the fellowship supports emerging writers. If you have published a book (or have one under contract), a full-length collection of poetry or regularly write for national magazines/newspapers, your application is unlikely to be approved. However, you can submit an Expression of Interest form, indicating your interest in becoming a Grotto member, at this link.

If you are currently in an MFA program, please apply after you have completed the program.

What do you mean by not yet widely published?

Fellows may be published, but need not be in order to apply. The goal of this fellowship is to offer up-and-coming writers access to free workspace and membership to a community of professional writers.

You can find a list of past and current Grotto Fellows here.

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