Emerging Voices Fellowship Hero Image With Text

Illustration by María Lavezzo

The Emerging Voices Fellowship provides a five-month immersive mentorship program for early-career writers from communities that are traditionally underrepresented in the publishing world. The program is committed to cultivating the careers of Black writers, and serves writers who identify as Indigenous, persons of color, LGBTQIA+, immigrants, writers with disabilities, and those living outside of urban centers. Through curated one-on-one mentorship and introductions to editors, agents, and publishers, in addition to workshops on editing, marketing, and creating a platform, the five-month fellowship nurtures creative community, provides a professional skill-set, and demystifies the path to publication—with the ultimate goal of diversifying the publishing and media industries.

The Emerging Voices Fellowship grew out of PEN America Los Angeles’s forum “Writing the Immigrant Experience,” held at the Los Angeles Central Library in March 1994, which explored the experiences of first- and second-generation immigrant writers. In 1996, PEN America Los Angeles initiated Emerging Voices as a mentorship program designed to provide professional resources to writers seeking financial and creative support to pursue their craft professionally. In 2021, virtually accessible programs and an expanded cohort of fellows will further the goal of diversifying the publishing and media industries by enabling participation from writers across the country.

Apply for the 2021 Emerging Voices Fellowship

Applications for this year’s fellowship are open through March 17, 2021.

Fellowship Benefits and Components

Hardcover Books Stock Photo 450x350

Mentorship and Knowledge of the Business of Books

  • Five months of guidance from a professional mentor on their current writing project
  • Insider knowledge about publishers and literary agencies through panels and Q&As
Emerging Voices Lambda Litfest 2019


  • Writing and craft conversations with accomplished visiting authors
  • Two public events featuring reading of new work by current fellows
  • A one-year membership in PEN America
Unsplash Writing In Journal 450x350

A Writer’s Toolkit

  • Guidance from a leading literary agent on developing a professional bio and logline (a short summation of a project in progress)
  • A professional headshot
  • Deals and discounts for classes and programs from partner organizations
Person Using Laptop Avel Chuklanov Unsplash 450x350


  • A submission guide for literary journals, agents, residencies, and fellowships
  • Masterclasses and workshops in genre, reading and voice technique, copyediting, and other relevant topics 

Guidelines and Eligibility

A limited number of application fee waivers are available for the 2021 fellowship cycle on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, please write to Emerging Voices at [email protected].

Learn More About the Emerging Voices Fellowship


See a complete list of Emerging Voices Fellowship winners.


See a complete list of Emerging Voices mentors.

Visiting Authors

See a select list of visiting authors, formerly known as Author Evening hosts.

Alumni Accomplishments

See a select list of publications, honors, and awards.

Support for the Emerging Voices Fellowship

Yvonne & Michael Marsh Family Foundation
The Muriel Pollia Foundation
Jamie Wolf

Previous Updates

Fellowship Archive Materials

Join us for the 2021 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony at 7pm ET/4pm PT!

Hosted by off-Broadway phenomenon Kara Young, the ceremony will include the live announcement of our book awards winners; the presentation of PEN America’s career achievement awards; and special guest presenters, including Lydia Davis, Jeremy O. Harris, Laurie Anderson, and Ruben Santiago-Hudson.