The Institute Fellows Jordan Jacks






Josh Kalscheur Karyna McGlynn






Mika Taylor Mark Wagenaar








2015-16 FELLOWS: Jordan Jacks, Josh Kalscheur, Karyna McGlynn, Mika Taylor, and Mark Wagenaar

Brian Booker Ben Hoffman






Lauren Russell Walter B. Thompson






Meg Wade D. J. Thielke








Jennifer Luebbers Ari Banias








Jaquira Diaz Mehdi Okasi








Laura Eve Engel Andrew Mortazavi








Lydia Fitzpatrick John Murillo








Michael Sheehan Emma Straub








Traci Brimhall Kevin Gonzalez








Nick Lantz Danielle Evans








Laleh Khadivi Rebecca Dunham








A FEW WICW FELLOWS FROM THE PAST DECADE: Brian Booker, Ben Hoffman, Lauren Russell, Walter B. Thompson, Meg Wade, D. J. Thielke, Jennifer Luebbers, Ari Banias, Jaquira Diaz, Mehdi Okasi, Laura Eve Engel, Andrew Mortazavi, Lydia Fitzpatrick, John Murillo, Michael Sheehan, Emma Straub, Traci Brimhall, Kevin Gonzalez, Nick Lantz, Danielle Evans, Laleh Khadivi, and Rebecca Dunham.


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

PHOTO: Our 2015-2016 Fellows




Our incoming 2016-17 Fiction & Poetry Fellows. Pictured left-to-right: Derrick Austin,
Jamel Brinkley, Natalie Eilbert, Marcela Fuentes, Sarah Fuchs, and Barrett Swanson.


The 2016-2017 Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellows

Derrick Austin (MFA: U. of Michigan) is the 2016-2017 Ron Wallace Poetry Fellow. A Cave Canem fellow, he is the author of Trouble the Water (BOA Editions), selected by Mary Szybist for the 2015 A Poulin Jr Prize. His work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2015, Image: A Journal of Arts and Religion, New England Review, Callaloo, Nimrod, Puerto Del Sol, and elsewhere. He is the Social Media Coordinator for The Offing.

Jamel Brinkley (MFA: Iowa Writers Workshop) is the 2016-17 Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellow. He is also a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and has been awarded scholarships from the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, the Tin House Writers’ Workshop, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. His fiction has appeared in A Public Space and received a Special Mention in the 2016 Pushcart Prize anthology. His debut collection, A Lucky Man and Other Stories, is forthcoming in Spring 2018 from Graywolf Press.

Natalie Eilbert (MFA: Columbia U.) is the 2016–17 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow. Her first book, Swan Feast, debuted in 2015 from Bloof Books. Her poems have recently appeared in The New Yorker, jubilat, The Boston Review, The Kenyon Review, West Branch, and the Academy of American Poet’s Poem-a-Day. A New York native, she is the founding editor and publisher of The Atlas Review / TAR Chapbook Series.

Sarah Fuchs (MFA: NYU Low-Residency in Paris) is the 2016-2017 Carl Djerassi Fiction Fellow. She began her teaching career at Castlemont High School in Oakland, California before co-founding the School of Social Justice and Community Development, a college prep high school for students who had dropped or been pushed out of the system. For the past eleven years she had been teaching and leading professional development in international schools in Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Togo.

Marcela Fuentes (PhD: Georgia State U / MFA: Iowa Writers Workshop) is the 2016-2017 James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow. Her stories have appeared in the Indiana Review, The Stoneslide Corrective, Vestal Review, and Juked, among others, and anthologized in Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton), Best of the Web (Dzanc Books), and New Stories from the Southwest (U Ohio/Swallow Press). A native of south Texas, she is currently the Virginia Spencer Carr Fellow in Fiction at Georgia State University.

Barrett Swanson (MFA: U. of Wisconsin) is the 2016-2017 Halls Emerging Artist Fellow. He is the winner of a 2015 Pushcart Prize, and his short fiction and essays have been distinguished as “notable” in The Best American Nonrequired Reading and The Best American Essays. His work has appeared most recently in The New Republic, American Short Fiction, The Point, Ninth Letter, and Mississippi Review.


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 more than a hundred full-length collections and novels, many of them winning major national honors.

At present, the Institute annually offers up to five year-long fellowships, including for the first time ever this year, the Ron Wallace Poetry Fellowship, named in honor of the founder of the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and the Program in Creative Writing at UW-Madison. 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 now the Ron Wallace 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 paid in 9 equal installments beginning October 1, generous health benefits, and a one-course-per-semester teaching assignment in undergraduate creative writing. Since this is a residential fellowship, we expect fellows to live in the Madison area, to hold no other teaching, graduate study or fellowship obligations, and to participate fully in the life of the Madison writing community during the fellowship period.

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 December 1 and February 1.

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 institutemail@english.wisc.edu.


The Halls and Wallace 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 1 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 2017 we will be considering HEAF applications in poetry only

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.