Derrick Austin Jamel Brinkley

Natalie Eilbert Sarah Fuchs

Marcela Fuentes Barrett Swanson

2016-17 FELLOWS: Derrick Austin, Jamel Brinkley, Natalie Eilbert, Sarah Fuchs, Marcela Fuentes, Barrett Swanson

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 Administrator 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 2017-2018 Fellows

Our 2017-18 Fiction & Poetry Fellows. Pictured left-to-right: Oliver Baez Bendorf,
Leila Chatti, Tia Clark, Tiana Clark, & Marta Evans.

The 2017-2018 Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellows

Oliver Baez Bendorf (MFA, MLIS: U. of Wisconsin) is the 2017-2018 Halls Emerging Artist Fellow. His first book, The Spectral Wilderness (Kent State U.), was selected by Mark Doty for the Stan & Tom Wick Poetry Prize. He has received fellowships from the Lambda Literary Foundation and Vermont Studio Center, and has taught workshops for all ages at colleges, libraries, and community centers. His work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Blackbird, diode, Indiana Review, jubilat, Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, and elsewhere. Born and raised in Iowa, he currently lives and works on the road in a teardrop camper.

Leila Chatti (MFA: North Carolina State) is the 2017-2018 Ron Wallace Poetry Fellow. A Tunisian-American poet, she was a 2016-2017 poetry fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and has received scholarships from the Tin House Writers’ Workshop and Dickinson House. Her poems have been awarded prizes from Ploughshares’ Emerging Writer’s Contest, Narrative Magazine’s 30 Below Contest, and the Academy of American Poets, and have appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, New England Review, The Georgia Review, The Missouri Review, West Branch, Narrative, The Rumpus, and elsewhere.

Tia Clark (MFA: Indiana University) is the 2017-2018 Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellow. She has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the OMI International Arts Center. Her work has appeared in The Offing, American Short Fiction, Day One, No Tokens Journal, Fourteen Hills, and elsewhere. She is originally from New York.

Tiana Clark (MFA: Vanderbilt U.) is the 2017-2018 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow. She is the author of Equilibrium, selected by Afaa Michael Weaver for the 2016 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. She is the winner of the 2017 Furious Flower’s Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize, 2016 Academy of American Poets University Prize, and 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize. Tiana is currently an MFA candidate at Vanderbilt University where she serves as Poetry Editor for Nashville Review. Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from the New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Best New Poets 2015, Crab Orchard Review, Southern Indiana Review, Muzzle Magazine, Thrush, The Journal, and elsewhere. Find her online at

Marta Evans (MFA: Washington University in St. Louis) is the 2017-18 James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow. Her stories have appeared in The Iowa Review, Joyland, Fence, and Tin House Flash Fridays. She was a scholarship recipient at Squaw Valley Community of Writers and her work was included in the Wigleaf Top 50 Short Fictions of 2016.

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 near-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 offers up to five nine-month fellowships each year, including the new 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 stipend of at least $38,000 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 March 1.

The current director of the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing is Amaud Jamaul Johnson. Please read this page and the application page in detail before contacting the Director with questions.

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 for Creative Writing 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 March 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 2018 we will be considering HEAF applications in fiction 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.