Wyoming Arts Council

Creative Writing Fellowships and Awards

The Wyoming Arts Council’s Creative Fellowships program was created in 1986 and is based on a writer’s body of work, and honoring Wyoming’s literary artists whose work reflects exceptional writing. One fellowship is awarded in each category of Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, and Fiction, for a total of three fellowships.

Since 1989, 50+ talented writers have received either the The Neltje Blanchan or Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Writing Awards.

The Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Creative Writing and Journalism Fellowship was established in 2019 and is an annual prestigious fellowship open to creative writers and journalists who demonstrate serious inquiry and dedication to the Greater Yellowstone region through their work.


Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Creative Writing and Journalism FellowshipNeltje Blanchan and Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Writing Awards • Creative Writing Fellowship (Poetry) • Creative Writing Fellowship (Fiction) • Creative Writing Fellowship (Nonfiction)


Creative Writing Fellowships

Poetry • Fiction • Nonfiction

The Creative Writing Fellowships are awards of merit, based on a writer’s body of work, and honoring Wyoming’s literary artists whose work demonstrates exceptional writing. One fellowship will be awarded in each category of Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, and Fiction, for a total of up to three fellowships. Applications are juried by noted authors, literary agents, or writing professionals from outside the state. Jurors may award honorable mentions.

Recipients of the Creative Writing fellowships share their work at one of the three Wyoming literary conferences.

2024 Creative Writing Fellowship Info

2024 Application Window: April 10 – June 10, 2024

Click here for the online application:

Apply for the Creative Writing Fellowship Here

ELIGIBILITY
  • Must be at least 18 years of age at time of application.
  • Must not be a full-time student pursuing high school, college, or university art-related degrees.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or have legal resident status (evidence of U.S. citizenship, resident status and state residency may be required).
  • May not be affiliated with the Wyoming Arts Council either as a board member or staff member, including their families, whether full-time, part-time or contractual.
  • May not be an employee of the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.
  • Must have been domiciled within the state borders for a total of 20 months in the previous two years.
  • Must remain a Wyoming resident for at least one year after award, living in the state for at least 10 months of the year.
  • Applicants must register or update their information in the Wyoming Arts Council’s Artists & Venues Directory.
  • Must not have received a Creative Writing fellowship within the last four years.
  • May receive a total of two fellowship awards in your lifetime.
  • You may not receive a Blanchan or Doubleday writing award in the same year as this award, but you may enter this competition if you were a previous Blanchan or Doubleday winner.
  • You may enter the competition only once by the deadline.
  • You may only enter the competition in one category (Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, Fiction).

 

WHAT IF YOU WIN AN AWARD?
  • You’ll receive $5,000 up front.
  • You will receive an honorarium/travel stipend, if applicable, to present your work at a fellowship reading at your choice of literary conference: the Casper College Literary Conference (November, 2023), Wyoming Writers Conference (June, 2024), or the Jackson Hole Writer’s Conference (June, 2024).
  • You’ll sign a contract that verifies you’re eligible to receive this award.
  • You’ll need to supply a resume, bio, and a photograph for publicity.
  • The Arts Council will retain your manuscript for possible use in excerpts for promotional purposes and Arts Council publications (print and electronic).
  • You will retain all rights to this work and the work you produce during the grant period.
  • You must create an impact statement, due August 31, 2025, sharing how this award helped you and what you accomplished during the year you received it.

 

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES (All CATEGORIES)
  • You may submit up to 25 pages of writing, typed, double-spaced using a 12-point standard font.
  • If submitting poetry, only one poem is allowed per page and the double-spaced requirement is waived. We welcome longer poems of multiple pages, if applicable.
  • For a book excerpt, you may provide a synopsis, but it will be included in the 25-page limit.
  • You may submit more than one piece of writing, as long as you don’t exceed the 25-page limit.
  • Writing may have been previously published, but don’t submit reprints.
  • Work must have been created within the past 5 years.
  • Pages must be numbered; include title of work and page number on each page.
  • Your name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript.
  • If you submit more than the allowable page limits, extra pages will be removed.
  • Do not send supplementary materials (letters, resumes, etc.)
  • All work must be combined into one document and uploaded.

 

Meet the 2024 Jurors

Poetry Juror

Julie Carr is the author of 12 books of poetry and prose, including Climate, co-written with Lisa Olstein (Essay Press 2022), Real Life: An Installation (Omindawn 2018),Objects from a Borrowed Confession (Ahsahta 2017), and Someone Shot my Book (University of Michigan Press 2018). Earlier books include 100 Notes on Violence (Ahsahta 2010), RAG (Omnidawn, 2014), and Think Tank (Solid Objects 2015). With Jeffrey Robinson she is the co-editor of Active Romanticism (University of Alabama Press 2015). Her co-translation of Leslie Kaplan’s Excess-The Factory was published by Commune Editions in 2018. Mud, Blood, and Ghosts: Populism, Eugenics, and Spiritualism in the American West was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2023. The Underscore, a book of poems, is forthcoming from Omnidawn in 2024. Overflow, a trilogy, will be published sequentially over subsequent years.

Fiction Juror

Vauhini Vara is the author of This is Salvaged, which was longlisted for the Story Prize and named a notable book of 2023 by Publisher’s Weekly, The New Yorker and others, and The Immortal King Rao, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and was the winner of the Colorado Book Award. Her third book, an essay collection called Searches, will be published in 2025. That collection includes the essay “Ghosts,” which was anthologized in The Best American Essays 2022; Vara has adapted “Ghosts” into a play, “Ghost Variations,” selected for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’s Colorado New Play Summit in 2024. Vara is also a journalist, writing for Wired and others, and an editor, most recently at The New York Times Magazine. Vara’s fiction has been honored by the Canada Council for the Arts, the the Rona Jaffe Foundation, Yaddo and MacDowell. Her journalism has won honors from the Asian American Journalists Association, the South Asian Journalists Association, the International Center for Journalists, and the McGraw Center for Business Journalism. She teaches at Colorado State University as a 2023-24 Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s Book Project. She is also the secretary of Periplus, a mentorship collective serving writers of color.

Creative Nonfiction Juror

Erika Krouse is a writer of fiction and nonfiction, most recently Save Me, Stranger, which will be published by Flatiron Books in January of 2025. Her recent memoir, Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation, is a New York Times Editors’ Choice and won the Edgar Award, the Colorado Book Award, and the Housatonic Book Award. Erika’s novel, Contenders, was a finalist for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. Her previous short story collection, Come Up and See Me Sometime, won the Paterson Fiction Award, was a New York Times Notable Book of the year, and is translated into six languages. Erika’s short fiction has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Esquire.com, Ploughshares, One Story, and elsewhere. Her stories have been shortlisted for Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and the Pushcart Prize. Erika went to middle school and high school in Japan, earned her B.A. from Grinnell College, and earned her masters degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she also taught creative writing classes. She teaches and mentors for the Lighthouse Book Project at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver and at the Regis Mile High MFA program. Erika is a winner of the Lighthouse Beacon Award for Teaching Excellence.


2023 Creative Writing Fellowship Recipients

Poetry: Rod Miller, Cheyenne: “The Dog’s Pancake”

Rod MillerRod Miller was raised on his family’s cow outfit north of Rawlins, and graduated from Rawlins High School. He was the Outstanding Wrestler for the Outlaws in “68.

He has been variously a working cowboy, a staff member for two Wyoming governors, a bookseller, a real estate wheeler-dealer and is now retired in Cheyenne. Miller has four sons and three grandchildren.

Miller had the good fortune to study under Jo McFadden at Rawlins Junior High, Margaret Demorest at Casper College, and Tommy Thompson at the University of Northern Colorado.

His volume of Poetry, “The Dog’s Pancake”, was published by High Plains Press in 2023.

Fiction: Janna Urschel, Laramie: “Saltworks: a selection”

Janna UrschelJanna Urschel is a sometime wedding harpist, dog musher, and linguist turned writer, teacher, and horse trainer. She lives in Laramie, Wyoming with a motley crew of horses, dogs, chickens, goats, and daughters. Janna teaches writing at Laramie County Community College and volunteers with Mountain Shadows Equine Revival, a local, nonprofit horse rescue.

Her work has appeared in Mamalode Magazine, Ladybug, Trolley, and “Stranged Writing,” a collection by The Gravity of the Thing. She was a finalist for the Montana Prize for Fiction, judged by Rick Bass, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and placed in the 2023 Wyoming Writers, Inc. contests for adults and young adults.

Visit Janna’s website here.

Nonfiction: Jennifer Kocher, Gillette: “In Search for Irene”

Jennifer Kocher

Jennifer Kocher is a freelance journalist living in northeast Wyoming. Originally from Ohio, she has lived out West for the past three decades and now calls Wyoming home. Jennifer has reported in Wyoming for more than a decade, and her byline has appeared in numerous regional publications and has won multiple state and national awards for her work. She’s also a ghostwriter and has completed four published books to date. Jennifer holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from Miami University in Ohio and master’s degrees in writing from the University of Colorado and University of Montana.

She’s currently at work on a first-person account involving her reporting of several missing person cases throughout the state, where she’s participated in ground searches and worked closely with private investigators and the families of the missing to help bring their loved ones home.

Read Jennifer’s articles here.


Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Creative Writing and Journalism Fellowship

This annual prestigious fellowship of $3,500 is a national call open to creative writers (poetry, fiction, nonfiction) and journalists (writer, photojournalist, videographer, documentary filmmaker, online or print media) who demonstrate serious inquiry and dedication to the Greater Yellowstone region through their work. This fellowship seeks to intersect science, education, current events, and conservation to effectively communicate the Greater Yellowstone’s natural history and singular importance to society through creative and exceptional writing and subject communication.

The fellowship recipient will be expected to create or complete a relevant publishable or produced work and may be requested or encouraged to make public presentations. In addition to the financial award, the fellowship recipient may elect to also receive a one week housing residency at one of several prearranged different locations within the Greater Yellowstone region. Such residency will be based on availability and will be negotiated with the fellowship recipient. Established and recognized authors are being sought, but emerging and mid-career writers are also encouraged to apply.

2024 Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Creative Writing and Journalism Fellowship Recipient

Todd Burritt of Livingston Montana is the recipient of the Wyoming Arts Council’s 2024 Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Creative Writing & Journalism Fellowship for his submission Fantastic Adversary.

Before settling down, Todd Burritt worked in five different wilderness areas across the Greater Yellowstone. Now he’s a full-time dad and part-time everything else in Livingston, Montana. The author of Outside Ourselves: Landscape and Meaning in the Greater Yellowstone, his writing also appears in Voices of Yellowstone’s Capstone, The Artist’s Field Guide to Yellowstone, and on mountainjournal.com.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Anne Marie Wells (Warrenton, VA): The Poet’s Field Guide to Yellowstone
  • Nicholas Mott (Livingston, MT): The Wide Open Season One
  • Kevin Grange (Jackson, WY): Grizzly Confidential

Meet the 2024 Pattie Layser Jurors

Bebe Crouse will serve as a juror for the second year in a row. Crouse spent more than 25 years as a working journalist before taking her position as Associate Director of Communications for The Nature Conservancy. Bebe spent a decade as Environment and Western Editor for NPR. She has reported and produced award-winning radio and television news stories and documentaries for national media networks including NPR, CBS, NBC, Wall Street Journal, BBC, and PBS. Her work has taken her across the United States, Europe, Mexico, Cuba, Kenya and Central America. She also spent time as a mountain and river guide and an environmental planner in Oregon and California. Her experience combined with her education in Environmental Science positions her well for her job with The Nature Conservancy where she continues to write about the things she values. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking and floating in kayak or raft.

Kelsey K. Sather will join Bebe as juror this year. Sather was born and raised in Bozeman, Montana. She’s the author of “Birth of the Anima,” and is a finalist for the National Indie Excellence Award. Her stories, both real and imagined, explore the complexities of human-nature relations. She attended the University of Utah on fellowship and graduated with an MA in Environmental Humanities. After teaching at the college level, Kelsey co-founded a writers’ collective, where she facilitated creative writing workshops for all ages. She’s worked with hundreds of writers on projects ranging from bestselling nonfiction to short stories and school papers. Today, she continues teaching at outdoor writing retreats while working on the second book in her eco-fantasy series, “Ancient Language of the Earth.” She is also an avid rock climber and coaches the Bozeman Climbing Team. At the core of her vocation as an author and teacher is the hopeful intention to help people live with deeper connections to self, nature, and each other. Sather’s photo is by Blair Speed.


Neltje Blanchan and Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Writing Awards

The Frank Nelson Doubleday Award of $1,000 is given for the best poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or script written by a woman writer. The Neltje Blanchan Award, also $1,000, is given annually for the best poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or script informed by a relationship with the natural world.

Both awards are designed to bring attention to writers in Wyoming who have not yet received wide recognition for their work, and to support emerging writers at crucial times in their careers. Poets, fiction writers, essayists, and script writers who have published no more than one book in each genre and who are not full-time students or faculty members are invited to apply by submitting manuscripts and an entry form by the deadline.

The Neltje Blanchan Memorial Writing Award and the Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Writing Award are made possible through the generosity of a private donor.

2024 Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Writing Award Recipient

Cady Favazzo received the Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Writing Award for the entry, “Even Parts I Promised Myself.” This award is given for the best poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or script written by a woman writer. Honorable mentions were awarded to Reatha Thomas Oakley of Gillette and Callie Plaxco of Laramie for the Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Writing Award.

Favazzo is a poet and teacher from Rock Springs, Wyoming. She earned her MFA from the University of Idaho. Her recent work can be found published in “Nimrod,” “Cimarron Review,” “Phoebe” and elsewhere.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Callie Plaxco: One Hundred Kinds of Light
  • Reatha Thomas Oakley: The Truth About Blind Girls

2024 Neltje Blanchan Memorial Writing Award Recipient

Callie Plaxco won the Neltje Blanchan Writing Award for the entry, “I Gather in the Tree Tops to Sing and Stare Wildly at the Dark Sky.” The award is given annually for the best poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or script informed by a relationship with the natural world. Renee Meador of Sheridan and William Owens of Lander received honorable mentions for the Neltje Blanchan Writing Award.

As her grandmother once said, Callie Plaxco flew the coop when she left South Carolina to journey west to the University of Wyoming for her MFA in Creative Writing. Still in Wyoming, Callie lives with her husband, two small boys, and two big dogs. She works as a Youth Services Specialist at the Albany County Public Library where she enjoys reading to young children and getting lost in the shelves of picture books. Her chapbook, “Dear Person” is available at Dancing Girl Press and individual poems have appeared in “Carve Magazine,” “Tinderbox,” “Gingerbread House,” and “Sugar House Review.”

Honorable Mentions:

  • Renee Meador: Feathers Petals and Stars
  • William Owens: Murakami

Meet the 2024 Juror

Karen Auvinen is a poet, writer, mountain woman, outlier, and life-long westerner, and the author of the memoir Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living (Scribner), finalist for the Colorado Book Award and the Willa Award.

Her work has appeared in “The New York Times,” “LitHub,” “Real Simple,” “Westword,” as well as “High Desert Journal,” “Ascent Magazine,” “Cold Mountain Review,” and “The Columbia Review,” among others. Her fiction has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and her poetry has won two Academy of American Poets Awards.

She is on the Graduate Faculty in Nature Writing at Western Colorado University and also teaches at CU-Boulder and for Lighthouse Writers and Fishtrap Writes. Karen lives with her partner, the artist Greg Marquez, at 8600 feet within the Roosevelt National Forest with River the dog and Dottie the cat. Currently, she is working on an intergenerational novel based on the life of her Grand Aunt Nina who was institutionalized in 1933 at the age of 21 and also publishes a weekly Substack: “A Woman’s Place is in the Wild.” A collection of short stories about outliers in the American West, The Porn Star of Pine Creek, is forthcoming.


Previous Creative Writing Fellowship Recipients

2023: Jennifer Kocher, Gillette (Creative Nonfiction), Janna Urschel, Laramie (Fiction), Rod Miller, Cheyenne (Poetry)

2022: Kate Northrop, Laramie (Poetry), David Zoby, Casper (Creative Nonfiction), Francesca King, Laramie (Fiction)

2021: Lori Howe, Laramie (Poetry), Taylor Gordon, Laramie (Fiction), Tina Welling, Jackson (Creative Nonfiction)

2020: Betsy Bernfeld, Wilson (Poetry), Susan Marsh, Jackson (Fiction), Shreve Stockton, Ten Sleep (Creative Nonfiction)

2019: Jason Stenar Clark, Laramie (Poetry ) Chad Hanson, Casper (Creative Nonfiction) Erin Jones, Laramie (Fiction)

2018: David Romtvedt, Portland (Fiction); Kate O’Hara, Kansas (Creative Nonfiction); Catherine Reeves, Casper

2017: Cara Rodriguez, Casper (Poetry); Ben Wener, Cody (Fiction); Carly Fraysier, Clearmont (Creative Nonfiction)

2016: Stephen S. Lottridge, Jackson (Creative Nonfiction); Connie Wieneke, Wilson (Poetry);  Michael Sudmeier, Wilson (Fiction)

2015: Carol Deering, Riverton; Constance Brewer, Gillette; Kathleen Smith, Gillette

2014: Shawn Klomparens, Jackson; Estella Soto, Laramie

2013: Chad Hanson, Casper; Mary Beth Baptiste, Laramie; Heather Jensen, Cheyenne

2012: Claudia Mauro, Jackson; Matt Daly, Jackson; W. Dale Nelson, Laramie

2011: Kathy Bjornestad, Sundance; Samuel Western, Sheridan; Stefani Farris, Lander

2010: Joel Burdess, Casper; Jayme Feary, Jackson; and Pam Galbreath, Laramie

2009: Sam Renken, Laramie; Lori Van Pelt, Saratoga; and David Zoby, Casper

2008: Kevin Holdsworth, Green River; Doug Reitinger, Sheridan; and Valerie Pexton, Laramie

2007: John Sutton of Sheridan, John D. Nesbitt of Torrington, Chavawn Kelley of Laramie

2006: Jane Wohl, Sheridan; Myra L. Peak, Green River; and Jeffe Kennedy, Laramie

2005: John English, Casper; Alyson Hagy, Laramie; Geneen Marie Haugen, Kelly

2004: Heather LaVonne Jensen, Cheyenne; Laura Bell, Cody; and Vicki Lindner, Casper

2003: W. Dale Nelson, Laramie; Page Lambert, Sundance; and Michael Harkin, Laramie

2002: Diane Panozzo, Tie Siding; Ted Kerasote, Jackson; Ann McCutchan, Laramie; Connie Wieneke, Wilson

2001: Rodney Gene Mahaffey, Casper; Paisley Rekdal, Laramie; Chavawn Kelley, Laramie; Bo Moore, Green River

2000: Robert Druchniak, Evanston; Charles Levendosky, Casper; Stefani Farris, Laramie; Geoff Peterson, Green River

1999: Mark Spragg, Cody; Alyson Hagy, Laramie; Sam Western, Sheridan; Martha Clark Cummings, Thermopolis

1998: Carol Deering, Riverton; Christy Stillwell, Laramie; William Hoagland, Powell; Lisa Vice, Thermopolis

1997: Dainis Hazners, Story; Jon Billman, Kemmerer; Julia Hoagland, Powell; Maija Rhee Devine, Laramie

1996: Laura Bell, Shell; Bob McKee, Douglas; Diane LeBlanc, Laramie; David Romtvedt, Buffalo

1995: C.L. Rawlins, Laramie; Suzanne Tyler, Jackson; Jane Wohl, Sheridan; Ron Franscell, Gillette

1994: Janell Hanson, Laramie; Craig Johnson, Ucross; Marie J. Carvalho, Rock Springs; Stephanie Buehler, Sheridan

1993: Tim McGee, Worland; Hannah Hinchman, Dubois; Rodney Mahaffey, Casper; and Lawrence Sullenger, Story

1992: Leslie (Bridewell) McMillan, Rock Springs; Scott Hagel, Cody; Mark Jenkins, Laramie; Page Lambert, Sundance

1991: C.J. Box, Cheyenne; Len Edgerly, Casper; Dainis Hazners, Story; Julia Hoagland, Powell

1990: Vicki Lindner, Laramie; Michael Riley, Cody; Geoff O’Gara, Lander

1989: Rick Kempa, Rock Springs; Jennifer McMullin, Casper; Barbara Smith, Rock Springs; Dan Whipple, Casper

1988: B.J. Buckley, Arvada; David Mouat, Worland; Mark Spragg, Wapiti; Geoff Peterson; Green River

1987: Sandra Dorr; Story, Mark Jenkins; Laramie, John Nesbitt; Torrington, Tim Sandlin; Jackson

1986: Tilly Warnock; Laramie, Len Sherwin; Douglas, Kirk Keller; Moran, Mary Alice Gunderson; Casper

 

Previous Layser Fellowship Recipients

2023: Austin Kirchhoff, Bozeman, Montana; Honorable Mentions: Jeffrey Lockwood, Laramie; Gregory Nickerson, Laramie;  Julie Rubini of Toledo, Ohio

2022: Katie Christiansen, Evergreen, CO

2021: Hannah Habermann | Jackson, WY

2020: Sarah Keller | Bozeman, MT

2019: Melodie Edwards | Laramie, WY

 

Previous Blanchan and Doubleday Award Recipients

2023: Ann Stebner Steele, Laramie (Frank Nelson Doubleday Award); India Hayford, Casper (Neltje Blanchan Award)

  • Honorable Mentions – Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Writing Award: Sarah Hamilton, Casper; Catherine Reeves, Cheyenne; Amy Hollon, Laramie
  • Honorable Mentions – Neltje Blanchan Memorial Writing Award: Pamela Galbreath, Laramie; Callie Plaxco of Laramie; Kathleen Smith of Gillette

Since 1989, 50+ talented writers have received Blanchan/Doubleday awards:

Hollie Sambrooks, Brandon McQuade, Stefani Farris, Dakota Richardson, Linda Baker, sid sibo, Liberty Lausterer, Lyndi Waters, Jayme Feary, Erin Jones, Geoffrey O’Gara, Betsy Orient Bernfeld, Hannah Hinchman, David Mouat, Sheila Roberts, Scott Hagel, Holly Skinner, C.L. Rawlins, Marcia Saum, Dainis Hazners, Barbara Gilbert, William Hoagland, Diane LeBlanc, Tina Willis, Maija Rhee Devine, Mary Beth Baptiste, Julene Bair, Chavawn Kelley, Geneen Marie Haugen, Janell Hanson, Mark Spragg, Karol Griffin, Stefani Farris, Laura Bell, Darcy Lipp-Acord, Jack Clinton, Tina Welling, Susan Marsh, Myra L. Peak, Marcia Hensley, Jeffe Kennedy, Melodie Edwards, Bo Moore, Barbara Smith, Alisan Peters, Lou O. Madison, Christine B. Nelson, W. Dale Nelson, Nina S. McConigley, Patricia Frolander, Edith Cook, George Vlastos, Christine Fadden, Yvette Ward-Horner, Matt Daly and Marylee White.


Grant Information

Deadline: Varies
Amount: $3,000 and $1,000
Contact: Kimberly Mittelstadt

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