The Grotto Fellowship
Our fellowship program is dedicated to fostering emerging writers. It is open to writers of every genre, including fiction, nonfiction, memoir, journalism, poetry, dramatic writing, et cetera. Writers who have demonstrated a commitment to their craft but who are not yet widely published are invited to apply.
Fellows are offered no-cost work spaces here at the Grotto on a part-time basis (up to eight days a month) for a six-month period, beginning in either January or July. Fellows are members of the Grotto during the duration of their fellowship.
In addition to working at the Grotto, fellows will get a chance to meet with established writers in their field. Fellows are invited to all Grotto events (including lunches, which are usually a communal occasion frequented by visiting writers, editors, filmmakers and other artists). Once a year, fellows are invited to do a public reading at the Grotto to present the work they’ve done on fellowship. Fellows will also be given mentors to help with their transition into the Grotto community.
The 2018 application period has ended. Please watch this page for information about the 2019 application period.
Frequently asked questions
What constitutes a demonstrated commitment to writing?
Commitment to writing comes in many forms. You don’t need to have an MFA, though that would be an example of a demonstrated commitment. Internships in your field of interest, a history of attending writing conferences, publications, participation in writing workshops, or activism in the writing community (running a journal, organizing a reading series, or reading at local events) all show dedication to your craft.
Why only eight fellows per year?
The Grotto has limited space and can only accommodate a few new people at a time. We’ve set aside space for emerging writers because new voices enrich our community.
What are you looking for?
We’re looking for excellent writing and interesting and focused projects. 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 is free.
What is the application process?
Applications for our 2019 fellowships were accepted only during a two-week period, August 15 to 31, 2018. If you wish to apply for the 2020 fellowships, please watch the page for the submission schedule for 2019. 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 https://www.sfgrotto.org/contact/joining/.
If you are currently in an MFA program, please apply after you have completed the program.
Questions? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note this account is not checked outside of the submission period.
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 a working environment among professionals in which to learn and thrive.
You can find a list of past and current Grotto Fellows here.