Founded in 1922, PEN America champions the freedom to write, recognizes the power of the word to transform the world, and works to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.
To that end, the organization is accepting applications for the PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship, which seeks to harness the power of writers and writing in being witness to the societal consequences of mass incarceration by capturing and sharing the stories of incarcerated individuals, their families, communities, and the wider impact of the criminal justice system.
Proposed projects may include but are not limited to fictional stories, works of literary or long-form journalism, theatrical scripts, memoirs, poetry collections, or multimedia projects. The proposed project should engage issues of reform, fuel public debate, crystallize concepts of reform, and facilitate the possibility of societal change.
Through the program, fellows will receive an honorarium of up to $10,000, and expense budget requests up to $2,500 will be considered. Fellows also will be paired with a mentor, and the entire cohort will convene in person twice during the course of the fellowship. In addition, PEN America will offer assistance in the areas of publication and dissemination of fellows' work, with opportunities for sharing work organized in New York City at the PEN World Voices Festival, in the fellow's home community, and possibly in other locations.
Eligible applicants must be 21 year of age or older and a resident of the United States. Currently and formerly incarcerated writers are encouraged to apply, and special provisions will be made for incarcerated writers to participate through alternative methods.
See the PEN America website for complete program guidelines and application instructions.