In a nationally unique innovation, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards has partnered with the Cleveland State University Poetry Center to create a fellowship aimed at the lack of diversity in publishing. The Anisfield-Wolf Fellowship in Writing & Publishing is a two-year post-graduate position for an emerging writer. It will encompass time to work toward a first or second book and an opportunity to learn editing, publishing, literary programming, and community outreach.
Through the creation of this fellowship, Anisfield-Wolf and the CSU Poetry Center hope to support writers from historically underrepresented communities. The Cleveland Foundation awarded $71,000 over two years to support the salary and benefits of the fellow at the poetry center’s literary press.
“The publishing industry is 89 percent staffed by whites,” said Karen R. Long, manager of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. “Here is an opportunity to dent that bulwark, one fellowship at a time. We are honored to partner with Cleveland State and its distinguished poetry center to create a new on-ramp into this vital arena, and to improve Cleveland’s literary scene in the process.”
Poet Adrian Matejka, who won an Anisfield-Wolf award in 2014, will serve on the fellowship advisory board. So will poets Hayan Charara and Prageeta Sharma; publicist and poet Kima Jones and author Janice Lee.
The Poetry Center is an independent nonprofit press that publishes three to five books of contemporary poetry, prose, and translation each year. It hosts the Lighthouse Reading Series and serves as a teaching lab for undergraduate and graduate students at Cleveland State University and within the Northeast Ohio MFA program. The fellow will have the opportunity to review submissions, attend editorial meetings, and assist with Center contests.
In addition, this individual will be able to create her or his own outreach program, with the possibility of developing an anthology; organize community writing workshops; develop reading series to engage previously underserved communities; or work with a local organization involved in education, social justice, and the literary arts.
Interested candidates can find full details on the fellowship here. Applications are due February 1, 2018.