2020 Literary Guidelines

➔ Nonfiction Literature
➔ Poetry

Application Deadline: Wednesday, January 22, 2020 11:59 PM EST

NYFA only accepts applications submitted online at apply.nyfa.org/submit


Nonfiction Literature

This category accepts work in all varieties and genres of nonfiction prose, including essays, criticism, journalism, autobiography, biography, memoir, monographs, graphic nonfiction, and experimental forms. Academic papers are not appropriate.


This category accepts original work in all forms of poetry, for either the page, the stage or lyrics for a music composition.


When Submitting an application to all LITERARY categories you will need to complete:

Artist Statement – up to 100 words
Work Statement – up to 100 words
Work Samples – up to 20 page double spaced PDF manuscript

Optional written statements:
Excerpt Explanation – up to 400 words
Cultural Statement – up to 400 words


Manuscript of your Literary work

Work samples are a representation of your artistic work created within the last five years. This is the most important part of your application, as it will be the primary point of review.

Work Sample Inventory:

Applicants can submit up to 20 pages from a manuscript that best represents their practice. Please also include a 1 page title page in your PDF in addition to the 20 page manuscript (21 pages in total). The title page should include the title of the piece and the date of completion, but not the name of the author. If your work sample includes a combination of excerpts from larger works, you are strongly advised to include substantial portions from each larger work, rather than small fragments.

Do not include publication and/or production information anywhere on your manuscript. Do not include your artistic résumé in your .pdf. Materials can be previously published or not. If published, scanned excerpts from books or periodicals, in published form, will be ineligible. Manuscripts must be in English, but can be translated into English by someone other than the artist

Work Sample Descriptions:

Before you upload the .pdf file to your application, you will need to name your file. Do not label your work sample with your name. Instead, label it with the title of your work.

After your work sample has uploaded, you will be able to provide a description (metadata) including title, date the work was completed, intended medium (i.e. stage, screen, television), if applicable, and additional information. Do not include production or publication history.

File Format:

  • File name: label your manuscript with the title of the work, ex. Landscape.pdf
  • Length: Up to 20 pages. Nonfiction – must be 12 point font and double spaced. Poetry – spacing and page formatting at the discretion of the artist
  • Title Page: one page title page with the title of the work(s), and year of completion, but not the name of the author/applicant.
  • Language: English
  • File format: .pdf


Written Statement About Your Artistic Practice

Support statements are available to the panelists in the later rounds of review.

Artist Statement: A short concise statement giving an overview of your artistic practice. This statement should give a brief introduction to ideas, themes and methods in your practice. This is not an Artist’s Bio. Up to 100 words.

Work Statement: A statement explaining your artistic vision as directly related to your submitted work samples. This is not an artist statement, but should instead reflect only the ideas and inspiration relevant ONLY to the work submitted. Up to 100 words.

Questions to consider for your Work Statement: Referencing only the submitted Work Samples

1. What is your submitted work about?

2. How does this work represent the primary concerns and intentions of your artistic practice as described in your artist statement?

Excerpt Explanation (Optional): A supplemental statement further explains the context, concept, and execution of your work sample(s). This statement should explain how the excerpted work sample relates to the entire original piece. Within the Excerpt Explanation you can itemize each submitted work sample(s) and discuss about them individually. Up to 400 words.

Questions to consider for your Excerpt Explanation: Referencing only the submitted Work Samples

1. How does your work sample(s) relate to the full work?

2. What information is needed to give context to your work samples?

Cultural Statement (Optional): A supplemental statement describing how your work is rooted in a specific cultural technique, tradition or community. Up to 400 words.

Write a Cultural Statement if: Referencing only the submitted Work Samples

1. Your practice stems from a specific and/or unique cultural tradition.

2. The understanding of your work is dependent on the context of a cult.


How Are Applications Reviewed?

Literary applications are reviewed over the course of 3 elimination rounds. All applications will be pre-reviewed by panelists. In the pre-review round, panelists are directed to review only your work samples and corresponding descriptions. During pre-review, all applications are assigned a number and are reviewed anonymously.

Your supplementary statements will be reviewed alongside your work samples in later rounds.

Please note, panelists will not look at websites of any kind during the application review process. Submitting any work that has been awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in the past will automatically disqualify your application.

Once submitted, you will no longer be able to make changes to your application!

You will receive an automatic confirmation notification from Submittable once your application has been successfully submitted. If you do not see this confirmation, please contact [email protected].

Applications submitted after the stated deadline will not be accepted and no exceptions will be made. We highly recommend completing your application before the deadline to allow time for work samples to upload and to avoid potential technical problems.