Thank you for your interest in PEN America’s Emerging Voices Fellowship. Given that the Fellowship has traditionally taken place in-person in Los Angeles, the 2021 Emerging Voices application has not been opened at this time as we assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our programming and what offerings will be possible.

PEN America is firmly committed to sustaining support for emerging writers from historically-excluded communities, and is taking the time to monitor evolving circumstances and carefully examine how we can best fulfill this goal in light of them. We plan to post a substantive update here in August 2020, so please check back then.

In the meantime, we hope you can join us on July 28 for The Final Reading of the 2020 Emerging Voices Fellows, which will be held virtually in partnership with the Hammer Museum. For further information, please contact Michelle Franke, Executive Director, PEN America, Los Angeles at [email protected].


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 LGBTQI+ 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.

Meet the 2020 Emerging Voices Fellows
and Their Mentors

2020 Emerging Voices Mentors

More about the fellows and mentors »