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South Arts Presents the Southern Prize and State Fellowships for Literary Arts (Deadline: August 4)

South Arts is pleased to announce and launch the start of a new series of programs supporting the literary arts community of the Southeastern US. Now accepting applications, the Southern Prize and State Fellowships for Literary Arts centers critical support around writers among the region (AL, FL, GA, KY, LA , MS, NC, SC, and TN). The program aims to recognize a variety of literary art genres, annually awarding writers $80,000 in total awards to writers: nine State Fellowship awards of $5,000, with the Southern Prize winner and finalist receiving an additional $25,000 and $10,000 respectively. This inaugural cycle will support fiction authors, with cycles in future years rotating through genres including drama/playwriting, poetry, creative nonfiction, and young adult fiction.

Modeled after South Arts’ flagship visual arts program—Southern Prize and State Fellowships for Visual Arts—this new literary arts fellowship program was created in acknowledgment of a discrepancy in regional funding for writers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual wages of writers living and working among the Southeastern region have historically ranged 50% lower in comparison to that of the Northeast and Western regions.

Through this new program, South Arts is emphasizing the important role that these artists play in the wellbeing of a region’s culture—one that has inspired literary icons like Maya Angelou, Valerie Boyd, Judith Ortiz Cofer, William Faulkner, bell hooks, Zora Neale Hurston, Harper Lee, Kalamu Salaam, Celestine Sibley, David Sedaris, Natasha Tretheway, and Margaret Walker, among many others.

During the current application cycle, which is open through August 4, 2023, Fiction writers may submit published, unpublished, or works-in-progress created since January 2016 for consideration. A national jury will select nine State Fellows for Literary Arts—one per state in South Arts’ region—based on artistic excellence that reflects the diversity of the region. Each of the nine state fellowship winners will be awarded $5,000 and will compete for the Southern Prize for Literary Arts. A second jury will review the State Fellows to determine the Southern Prize winner, who will receive an additional $25,000, and a finalist who will receive an additional $10,000. Additionally, both Southern Prize awardees will receive a two-week residency at The Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. The inaugural recipients of the Southern Prize and State Fellowship for Literary Arts are planned to be announced in early 2024.

In addition to the Southern Prize and State Fellowships for Literary Arts, South Arts will also begin offering dedicated funding programs for literary arts projects later this year, and anticipates hosting convenings in the near future.

Applications for the 2024 Southern Prize and State Fellowships for Literary Artsare due August 4, 2023. Visit our website to review the guidelines and apply today.