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 2014-2015 Fellows

Our 2014-15 Fiction & Poetry Fellows. Pictured left-to-right: Brian Booker, Ben Hoffman, Lauren Russell, Walter B. Thompson, & Meg Wade. News Regarding the Playwriting Fellowship will be announced in June.

Congratulations to our Current Poetry & Fiction Fellows!

The Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing is pleased to have welcomed current fiction fellows Brian Booker, Ben Hoffman, and Ben Thompson, as well as current poetry fellows Lauren Russell and Meg Wade! These applicants were selected after much deliberation over the nearly 950 applications we received in February, 2014. Read about our winners, and see our lists of finalists in each genre, below.

Brian Booker (MFA: Iowa Writers’ Workshop) is the 2014-15 James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow. His stories have appeared in Conjunctions, Epoch, New England Review, One Story, Tin House, and other magazines. He has been a Fiction Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and an Iowa Arts Fellow at the University of Iowa. Booker holds a Ph.D. in English from New York University. He grew up in Bethesda, Maryland.

Ben Hoffman (MFA: U. of North Carolina–Wilmington) is the 2014-15 Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellow. His stories have received awards from Zoetrope: All-Story and River Styx and have appeared or are forthcoming in The Missouri Review, Fugue, Tin House online, and elsewhere. His chapbook Together, Apart won the 2012 Origami Zoo Press Contest.

Lauren Russell (MFA: U. of Pittsburgh) is the 2014-15 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow. Her latest chapbook is Dream-Clung, Gone (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2012), and her poems have appeared in various print and online publications, including The Brooklyn Rail, Eleven Eleven, jubilat, Lemon Hound, and Ping Pong, among others. Her reviews may be found in Aster(ix) Journal, Jacket2, The Volta, and The Poetry Project Newsletter, among others. From 2013-14, she was Co-Editor-in-Chief of Hot Metal Bridge.

Walter B. Thompson (MFA: U. of Wisconsin) is the 2014-15 Halls Emerging Artist Fellow. He is a native of Nashville, TN. His work has appeared in The Bicycle Review and is forthcoming in Carolina Quarterly.

Meg Wade (MFA: U. of Arizona) is the 2014-15 Diane Middlebook Poetry Fellow. She has been the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, and has worked as Poetry Editor for Sonora Review. Meg is currently Assistant Editor for an anthology of contemporary, rural American poetry titled, Hick Poetics, forthcoming from Lost Roads Press. Her recent poems have appeared in CutBank, The Feminist Wire, Phantom Limb, and The Dictionary Project. She also has new work forthcoming in two anthologies set to be released from Locked Horn Press in 2014.

2014 FICTION FINALISTS: Lesley Nneka Arimah (MFA: Minnesota State U.), Brendon Barnes (MFA: U. of Central Florida), Philip Brunst (MFA: The New School), Stephanie Carpenter (PhD: U. of Missouri / MFA: Syracuse U.), Christa Fraser (MFA: Iowa Writers’ Workshop), Goldie Goldbloom (MFA: Warren Wilson College), Janet Ha (MFA: Indiana U.), Onyinye Ihezukwu (MFA: U. of Virginia), Claire Jimenez (MFA: Vanderbilt U.), T. L. Khleif (MFA: U. of Michigan), Andrew Payton (MFA: Iowa State U.), Ivelisse Rodriguez (PhD: U. of Illinois at Chicago / MFA: Emerson College), Tegan Swanson (MFA: Iowa State U.), Chris Harding Thornton (PhD: U. of Nebraska at Lincoln / MFA U. of Washington), Snowden Wright (MFA: Columbia U.)

2014 POETRY FINALISTS: Jia Oak Baker (MFA: Bennington College), Chuck Carlise (PhD: U. of Houston / MA: U. of California at Davis), Katy Didden (PhD: U. of Missouri / MFA: U. of Maryland), Miriam Bird Greenberg (MFA: Michener Center for Writers), Sarah Holland-Batt (MFA: NYU), Blair Johnson (MFA: Washington U.), Bridget Lowe (MFA: Syracuse U.), Katherine Nichol (MFA: U. of Arkansas), Georgia Pearle (MFA: Lesley U.), Darby Price (MFA: George Mason U.), Rachel Richardson (MFA: U. of Michigan), Kristin Robertson (PhD: Georgia State U. / MFA: U. of New Orleans), Michael Rutherglen (MFA: Iowa Writers' Workshop), Jim Whiteside (MFA: U. of North Carolina at Greensboro), Tobias Wray (MFA: U. of Arkansas)

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. Since 2012, we have also considered applicants who have published only one full-length collection of creative writing prior to the application deadline, although unpublished authors remain eligible, and quality of writing remains the nearly exclusive criterion for selection. Altogether, our poetry and fiction fellows have published over ninety full-length collections and novels, many of them winning major national honors.

At present, the Institute annually offers up to five year-long fellowships. Typically there are two fiction fellowships (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), 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 $30,000 stipend ($27,000 plus a $3,000 prize paid in August), 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 between January 15 and February 28.

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 Halls and Middlebrook Poetry
Fellowships & the McCreight and
Houck 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 February 28 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 2015 we will be considering HEAF applications in poetry only. We will consider fiction applications in February 2016.

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.