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 they've also awarded hundreds of writers and poets a variety of fellowships and awards over the past two decades.

IP TAKE: Lannan funds can be hard to come by if you're an individual poet or writer who isn't already connected, as its grants go exclusively to organizations and federally recognized tribes. It does not accept unsolicited proposals, but accepts letters of inquiries. You might also be able to get in as an individual if someone else nominates you for a fellowship.

PROFILE: The Lannan Foundation's Literary Program has been around since 1987. The 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 programs: the Awards and Fellowships, the Literary Grants and the Residency Program. More than $13 million have been distributed to 173 writers and poets in the past 20 years through the Awards and Fellowship program. Recent recipient 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.

It should be noted that you may not apply for an award or fellowship yourself. Nominations are made to the Foundation by recommendation 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's also always good to see how you can involve yourself in the organization, so take a look at the events and sign up for the newsletter. Foundations like Lannan can be hard to crack, but you have to start somewhere.

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