Text that reads, “Emerging Voices Fellowship”

On Friday, December 4, PEN America issued a press release with an update on a new workshop series for emerging writers, as well as information about the Emerging Voices program.

The Emerging Voices Fellowship is a literary mentorship based in Los Angeles that has been providing underrepresented, marginalized writers with the tools they need to launch a professional literary career, since 1996. Examples of these communities include, but are not limited to, women, immigrants, people of color, older people, and those who are members of the LGBTQIA+ communities. Through curated one-on-one mentorship, and introductions to editors, agents, and publishers, in addition to editing, marketing, and web development workshops, the fellowship nurtures creative community, provides a professional skillset, and demystifies the path to publication, with the ultimate goal of diversifying the publishing and media industries.

In 2021, the fellowship will celebrate 25 years. In that time PEN has committed to adapting the fellowship components to meet the changing needs of writers and to reconsider the way we talk about the fellowship. In the past, we have pointed to our list of publications as proof the fellowship works, celebrating books published by alumni like Cynthia Bond, Natashia Deón, and Reyna Grande, among others. While this is a quantifiable measure of success, it fails to take into account those alumni who are still writing but have gone on to do meaningful work in other creative capacities. Alumni like Kima Jones, who founded Jack Jones Literary Arts, an organization that privileges narratives told by black women and women of color; and Victor Vazquez who founded X Casting, which supports projects from people of color, women, & queer creators; and Marytza Rubio, who founded Makara Center for the Arts, a nonprofit lending library & art center in the book desert of Santa Ana. These are just a few examples from a list that could be expanded upon to include professors, workshop instructors, teachers, mentors, and Ph.D. candidates. Please take a moment to look at the full list of fellows and mentors, and a select list of Author Evening hosts in order to better understand the breadth of this thing we call EV.