Stanford University

Wallace Stegner Fellowship

Unique among writing programs, Stanford University offers 10 two-year fellowships each year, 5 in fiction and 5 in poetry. All the fellows in each genre convene weekly in a 3-hour workshop with faculty.

Stegner Fellows are regarded as working artists, intent upon practicing and perfecting their craft. The only requirements are writing and workshop attendance. The fellowship offers no degree. We view it as more of an artist-in-residence opportunity for promising writers to spend two years developing their writing in the company of peers and under the guidance of Stanford faculty.

In awarding fellowships, we consider the quality of the candidate’s creative work, potential for growth, and ability to contribute to and profit from our writing workshops. Our fellows are diverse in style and experience, with talent and seriousness the true common denominators.

To be a Stegner Fellow:

  • We do not require any degrees or tests for admission
  • No school of writing is favored over any other
  • At least 18 years old

The Stegner Fellowship is a full-time academic commitment and is not intended to be pursued concurrently with another degree program. The fellowship includes a living stipend, and a fellow's tuition and health insurance are paid for by the Creative Writing Program. A fellow must live close enough to Stanford in order to attend workshops, readings, and events.

 

At a Glance

  • 2-year fellowship; admissions are staggered so there are 10 first year fellows and 10 second year fellows at Stanford at any given time
  • Fellows must write and attend a 3-hour weekly workshop
  • Workshop coincides with Stanford’s academic calendar; fellows have the summer off to work, write, or travel
  • Though similar in some ways to a MFA program, the fellowship does not offer a degree
  • Includes a $50,000 living stipend
  • Applications are available to all who are interested; all applicants are notified of fellowship decisions in April

Application window: opens on September 1 and closes on December 1 at 11:59 pm (PST)

How to apply

 

Eligibility

 

Anyone interested in the Stegner Fellowship is welcome to apply! Prior book publication is not required, but please note: prior publication may suggest a career that has advanced beyond the point when the fellowship’s instruction and workshop critique are most useful in a writer's development.

I’m not a U.S. citizen. Can I still apply?

Yes. Anyone may apply, regardless of nationality. If accepted, you’re considered at Stanford to be a non-matriculated graduate student for visa purposes. We’ll work with you to obtain a J-1 visa.

What is the age requirement?

Fellows must be 18 years old when they start the fellowship. Historically, we have accepted people as young as 22 and as old as 75.

 

Responsibilities

 

Primarily, Stegner Fellows are required to attend weekly, faculty-led workshops and to write, revise, and then write again, with the goal of a finished manuscript ready for publication.

However, to enrich one’s fellowship experience, we encourage all fellows to attend various reading events and lecture series hosted by our program. In the past, we’ve enjoyed the presence of guest speakers such as Maggie Nelson, Kevin Young, Layli Long Soldier, Zadie Smith, and David Treuer. We also host public readings and colloquiums for our annual visiting poets-in-residence and visiting writers-in-residence.

During the first year of their fellowship, the fellows participate in our Stegner Fellow Reading series, where they give a public reading of their work. It’s also possible for fellows to TA undergraduate courses, facilitate writing workshops, and offer special tutorials and independent studies to our undergraduate students.

Is residency required?

Yes, one must live close enough to the Stanford main campus to attend weekly workshops, as well as readings and lectures by the program's visiting poets and writers.

Can I keep my full-time job during the fellowship?

The purpose of the fellowship is to give writers as much time as possible to work on their writing, free from the time constraints of full-time employment. Holding a full-time job during the fellowship runs counter to the intention of the fellowship.

 

Financials

 

The fellowship is a 2-year program and includes a living stipend of $50,000 per academic year. Our program also pays for each fellow’s tuition and health insurance.

Is it possible to live on the fellowship?

The Bay Area is a very expensive place to live. Realistically, an individual needs some form of supplemental income, which commonly means working during the summer.

Is there an opportunity for me to teach to supplement my income?

Sometimes. Teaching appointments are not guaranteed, as priority goes to Ph.D. students who need the experience for their degree.

 

If you have questions about our fellowship, there are several ways to get answers:

  • Peruse our Application FAQ page

  • Email us at creative1 [at] stanford.edu

  • Or visit us in our main office: Margaret Jacks Hall (Building 460), Room 223

Thank you for your interest in the Wallace Stegner Fellowship!

Linda A. Cicero | Stanford News Service

Looking to the Future

Once the fellowship is over, what comes next?

In typical circumstances, all fellows have the opportunity to apply for a 2-year lectureship teaching undergraduate fiction or poetry at Stanford. Due to the pandemic, positions may not be available in the next few years.

But "life after the Stegner" is filled with a variety of career moves: some go on to graduate programs or other fellowship opportunities, some are independently successful as writers, and some move forward with adjunct or tenure-track university teaching positions.