Lannan Foundation: Grants for Creative Writing

OVERVIEW: Lannan has distributed quite a bit of money around the literary world. It has supported over 150 nonprofit literary organizations nationwide since their grant making program was established in 1987, and it has also awarded hundreds of writers and poets a variety of fellowships and awards over the past two decades.

IP TAKE: Lannan funding can be difficult to secure for individual poets or writers who are not already connected. Its grants exclusively support organizations and federally recognized tribes. It does not accept unsolicited proposals, but accepts letters of inquiries. Grantseekers might also be able to get in as an individual if someone else nominates them for a fellowship.

PROFILE: The Lannan Foundation seeks to promote “cultural freedom, diversity and creativity through projects which support exceptional contemporary artists and writers, as well as inspired native activists in rural indigenous communities.” Its Literary Program supports English language poets and writers and offers literary grants primarily to support publishers, distributors, literary journals, residency programs, educational programs, and literary centers.

The literary program is divided into several sub-programs: the Awards and Fellowships, the Literary Grants and the Residency Program. More than $13 million has been distributed to 173 writers and poets in the past 20 years through the Awards and Fellowship program. Past recipients include fiction writer Sara Baume and poet Philip Metres. The Literary Grants program has supported more than 150 organizations nationwide since 1987 including the Academy of American Poets and Cave Canem. Grants and awards range from between $25,000 and $150,000.

The Residency Program Foundation provides uninterrupted writing time for poets, writers, essayists, translators, scholars, curators, as well as indigenous, environmental and social justice activists in Marfa, Texas. Residency durations are usually from four to six weeks. Since 2000, more than 250 writers have held Lannan residencies in Marfa.

Funding is by nomination only and grantseekers cannot self-nominate. Nominations are made to the Foundation by recommendations from an anonymous network of writers, literary scholars, publishers, and editors from around the country and final determinations are made by the Foundation’s own literary committee. This is a definite case of "who you know," but a little digging and backtracking through the awards of past years can be enlightening about which path past recipients may have taken (hint: also take a look at the publishers who have received Lannan grants). Likewise, the foundation selects all candidates for the residency program internally and unsolicited applications are not accepted, though taking a look at the bios of people who Lannan has helped in the past may give you some ideas of a road in. It does not accept unsolicited proposals, but accepts letters of inquiries.

It is also always good for grantseekers to become involved in the organization, so take a look at the events and sign up for the newsletter.


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