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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Writing

(This news courtesy of Rhonda Browning White)

About the Jean Ritchie Fellowship

Through literature, a region tells stories to its citizens and the world. The Jean Ritchie Fellowship seeks to support, encourage and honor writers from the Southern Appalachians.
The fellowship is the first of its kind for the region's writers, and is committed to Appalachian voices.

Jean Ritchie of Viper, Kentucky, and Port Washington, New York, is a musician, author of prose and poetry, social activist, teacher, historian and folk music collector. The fellowship strives to support artists who, like Ritchie, create works of beauty and social relevance, while honoring traditional heritage and forging a new path.

Find out more about Jean Ritchie at

Award amount: $1,500

Fellowship Guidelines:

Poetry: Submit no more than ten pages.

Prose (Fiction and Nonfiction): Submit no more than twenty pages.

All work samples must be double-side printed and page numbered.

Previously published material will not be accepted.

No collaborative work samples or joint applications, please.

Include a very brief, one page cover letter. To ensure an anonymous reading process, please do not put your name on any application materials excepting the cover letter.

For all genres, include a statement of purpose—no more than two pages—summarizing:
1. What Appalachia means to you (for example: identity, culture, sense of place, values, economics, environment).
2. What does writing mean in your life?
3. Your current writing project.
4. How would you utilize the fellowship funding?
Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.

If awarded a fellowship, you will not be eligible to apply for another five years.

Please consult the map found at to determine if the county and state in which you live, or are originally from, is eligible as defined by the fellowship requirements. Indicate your county and state in the cover letter.

Fee: Ten dollars per submission. You may apply in more than one genre. For each genre in which you apply, there is an additional five dollar reading fee.

A check or money order should be made out to LMU, Jean Ritchie Fellowship. No cash.
Submissions will be accepted between March 1 and May 1, 2010.

Postmarked deadlines are firm. Early, late, ineligible and incomplete applications will be rejected.

Manuscripts will not be returned but will be recycled.

Fellowship winner will be announced at the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival, Saturday, June 12, 2010, and posted on this website within the following week. Email notification will be sent to contest entrants if a working email address is included with your submission. Contest results will only be announced online and by email; please do not send a SASE for results.

Please do not seek information on the status of your application before the announcement date listed above.

The winner of the 2008 Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Writing was Mindy Beth Miller from Hazard, Kentucky.

The winner of the 2009 Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Writing was Larry Bingham of Portland, Oregon.

Submissions for the Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Writing come from literally every state in the region, as well as from natives who live in various states across the country. Our judges are consistently impressed by the quality of the manuscripts and the purpose statements of our applicants. The judging process for the fellowship is strictly blind—not one judge ever sees one name attached to the submissions.

Please mail your submission to:
The Jean Ritchie Fellowship
c/o Silas House
Lincoln Memorial University
P.O. Box 2005
Harrogate, Tennessee 37752
If you have questions, email: (replace (at) with @)