Autumn on Madison's east side. Photo © Oliver Bendorf, 2011-13 MFA.

Winter in the UW-Madison arboretum. Photo © University of Wisconsin-Madison Board of Regents.

Contact Us

Institute Coordinator Sean Bishop
Program in Creative Writing
Department of English
600 N. Park St, H.C. White Rm 6195
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI 53706

phone: 206-491-1505
fax: 608-263-3374

PHOTO: Our 2013-2014 Fellows

Our 2013-14 Institute Fellows. Pictured left-to-right: Jesse Damiani, Patricia Grace King,
Jennifer Luebbers, Bonnie Metzgar, Matthew Modica, D. J. Thielke, and Timothy Daniel Welch.

The Fellowships

Since 1986, the University of Wisconsin's Institute for Creative Writing has provided time, space, and an intellectual community for writers working on a first book of poetry or fiction. Beginning this year, we will also consider applicants who have published only one full-length collection of creative writing prior to the application deadline, although unpublished authors will remain eligible as well. Altogether, our poetry and fiction fellows have published over ninety full-length collections and novels, many of them winning major national honors. Since 2008, the Institute has also awarded a fellowship for playwrights.

At present, the Institute annually offers up to seven year-long fellowships. Typically there are three fiction fellowships (the Carl Djerassi Fiction Fellowship, the James C. McCreight Fiction Fellowship, and the Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellowship), two poetry fellowships (the Jay C. and Ruth Halls Fellowship and the Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellowship), one playwriting fellowship (the Carl Djerassi Playwriting Fellowship), and one fellowship in either fiction or poetry for a graduate of the University's MFA Program in Creative Writing (the Halls Emerging Artist Fellowship).

Each of these fellowships carries with it a $27,000 stipend, generous health benefits, and a one-course-per-semester teaching assignment in intermediate or advanced undergraduate creative writing. Fiction and poetry fellows are asked to give one public reading during the fellowship year. Additionally, all fellows participate in determining the recipients of the annual Brittingham and Felix Pollak Prizes in Poetry, as well as the Program in Creative Writing's undergraduate writing contests. Along with faculty, fellows also serve on the committees selecting the following year's Institute fellows.

Details and frequently asked questions regarding the fellowships can be found on the applications page of this website. Applications to the poetry, fiction, and HEAF fellowships must be submitted online in the month of February. Applications to the Djerassi Playwriting Fellowship must be postmarked by April 20, and should be submitted by mail.

The current director of the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing is Amaud Jamaul Johnson. For questions about the fellowship program not answered below please contact the Creative Writing Program Administrator, Sean Bishop, at

The Djerassi Fellowship
in Playwriting

The Carl Djerassi Fellowship in Playwriting was established by scientist and author Carl Djerassi to encourage beginning-to-mid-career playwrights whose work is not only performed, but also has intrinsic literary value. To realize Dr. Djerassi's vision, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Program in Creative Writing annually awards a fellowship to a playwright whose whose plays can be read and discussed as works on the page as well as performed on the stage. Playwrights whose works have been published as well as performed are especially of interest. Applications must be postmarked by April 20. Details and frequently asked questions regarding the fellowship can be found on the application page of this website.

The Halls and Middlebrook Poetry
Fellowships & the Djerassi,
McCreight, and Smith
Fiction Fellowships

Poets and fiction writers who have completed or will have completed an MFA or a PhD in creative writing by August 15th of the fellowship year are eligible to apply for a Wisconsin Institute poetry or fiction fellowship, provided they have not yet published more than one full-length book of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or other creative work by the extended March 3 application deadline. Details and frequently asked questions regarding these fellowships can be found on the fellowship applications page of this website. The HEAF is the only Institute fellowship for which graduates of the UW MFA program are eligible to apply.

The Halls Emerging
Artist Fellowship

The Halls Emerging Artist Fellowship (the HEAF) is awarded to a graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Creative Writing MFA program who has either published one book of fiction, poetry or other creative work, or who has not yet published a book in any of those genres. Poets and fiction writers will be eligible for the HEAF in alternating years. In February 2014 we will be considering HEAF applications from fiction-writers only. We will consider poetry applications in February 2015.

The recipient of the HEAF will be determined by an outside judge. The name of this judge will be withheld until the HEAF has been announced. Applications should arrive during the month of February. Details and frequently asked questions regarding these fellowships can be found on the fellowship applications page of this website. The Institute may decline to give the HEAF award in any year it deems appropriate.