Logo for: North Carolina Writer's Network

Sally Buckner Emerging Writers’ Fellowship

Postmark deadline: June 30 (annual)
Submissions accepted: May 1 – June 30

The North Carolina Writers’ Network offers an annual Sally Buckner Emerging Writers’ Fellowship in honor of the late poet, editor, and educator. The Buckner Fellowship, in the amount of $500 awarded to one writer each year, supports North Carolina emerging writers whose work shows promise of excellence and commitment to a literary career.

The 2024 Buckner Fellowship will support an emerging writer. The 2024 genre will be announced at a later date.

In addition to the $500 cash award, recipients will receive—

  • A complimentary one-year membership in the NCWN
  • Full scholarship aid to attend the Network’s next Fall Conference, where they will be announced and recognized as the next year’s Buckner Fellow
  • Full scholarship aid to attend the Network’s Spring and Fall Conferences during their fellowship year
  • The opportunity to write about their fellowship year for the Network’s biannual newsletter, Writers’ Network News

Applicants must be in the early stages of their careers and will not have had yet the support needed to achieve major recognition for their work. No specific academic background is required or preferred. Each year the program will accept applications from writers working primarily in a specified genre, with genres rotated over a three-year cycle.

Fellowship recipients will use the $500 award to allay the costs associated with the business of writing: paper, printing, writing supplies, submission fees, research expenses, travel, conference registration fees, etc.

Applications will be accepted only by e-mail, from May 1 to June 30, annually.

Fellowship applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Writers must have established legal residence in North Carolina for at least one year prior to applying, and plan on residing in North Carolina through the Fellowship year.
  • Writers must be between the ages of 21 and 35, as of December 31 of the year in which they apply.
  • Students enrolled in degree-granting programs are not eligible to apply, even if the focus of study is not directly related to writing. (If at any point during the judging process an applicant accepts an offer to study in a degree-granting program, please alert NCWN immediately to have the application pulled from consideration.)
  • Fellowship recipients should “pay it forward.” Fellowship winners, in the course of their award year, are invited to help at least one other writer, in whatever fashion they see fit (mentoring, critiquing, providing a reference, etc.), carrying on Sally Buckner’s lifelong support of other writers. Buckner Fellows also will have the opportunity to meet with, and offer to mentor, the next Buckner Fellow at the NCWN Fall Conference.

Applicants are required to submit a completed application form and accompanying work sample, letter of interest, and vitae by June 30. (Click here for a sample vitae.)

This year, there is no cost to apply for the fellowship.

A committee appointed by the program administrator will review applications, and invite finalists to interview with committee members. The Fellowship winner will be formally introduced at the Network’s Fall Conference. At the end of the award year, recipients will be required to complete a brief report on writing progress made over the past year.

The Sally Buckner Emerging Writers’ Fellowship seeks to support North Carolina writers as they navigate the challenges (and expenses) of the literary world, honoring and continuing Sally Buckner’s devotion to North Carolina’s literary tradition and community.

The North Carolina Writers’ Network connects, promotes, and serves writers of this state, providing education in the craft and business of writing, opportunities for recognition and critique of literary work, resources for writers at all stages of development, support for and advocacy of the literary heritage of North Carolina, and a community for those who write.

For more information about the Sally Buckner Emerging Writers’ Fellowship, contact June Guralnick, Fellowship Program Coordinator, at juneguralnick@gmail.com.

Application Requirements

Your application should consist of a single PDF, sent as an attachment to mail@ncwriters.org, containing the following:

Application Form, available here.

The application form is available as a Word document. Please download the Word document, fill out the application form, and save it as a PDF.

Letter of Interest

Tell us about yourself and your writing journey. Discuss your writing goals for the coming year and how you see your work being advanced by the fellowship. Where do you see yourself in five years and why? Please also include your birth date, the number of years you have lived in North Carolina, and briefly identify your work sample and whether it is an excerpt from a larger work.

Resume/Curricula Vitae (Click here for a sample vitae.)

Work Samples

  • Submit work that best represents you as a writer. You may submit published work, unpublished work, excerpts from larger works, or works-in-progress. The entry must be submitted in English and must be your own original work. As the manuscripts will not be published/reprinted, the author retains all rights to the work(s). Multiple submissions from an author are not permitted.
  • Applicants should submit up to 5000 words, double-spaced, in 12-point standard font, from a single work, in that year’s specified genre(s). (Please note that finalists may be asked to submit an additional work sample.)
  • If the work sample has been previously published, please upload the manuscript as a Word document that has been converted into a PDF. Put another way: links to published work or work that has been formatted for publication will not be accepted.
  • Simultaneous submissions accepted.
  • At the top of every page, include the page number in the upper right corner and title of the work.

The file name of your PDF should include your Last Name, followed by an underscore and “BucknerApplication.” Example: “Wolfe_BucknerApplication.”

Past Winners

Winner:Sophia Stid, Wilmington, NC

No award given

Winner: Jasmine Kumalah, Durham, NC

Winner: Zachary Lunn, Raeford, NC