The Fellowship provides institutional, intellectual and artistic support to writers who face personal danger, oppression, and/or threats to their livelihood in nations throughout the world. Each academic year, the fellowship is granted to one writer who is unable to practice free expression in his or her homeland. Deeply practical in nature and intention, the academic-year fellowship covers the costs of relocation and the writer's living expenses in the U.S., and also provides an office on the campus of Brown University for ten months.
International Writers Project founder Robert Coover points out that while the Literary Arts Program at Brown has been providing freedom-to-write fellowships since 1989 and has a long history of engagement in freedom of expression issues, "not in recent history has the basic principle of free expression been under such worldwide threat as right now, making fellowships like this one a top priority for any writing program or university. Not only does the fellowship provide needed support and sanctuary to an individual wrier, it also signals a commitment to the principle of freedom of expression and, through its association with cultural programs, seeks to heighten awareness of that principle's vulnerability and the need for international solidarity in its protection."
The IWP Fellow for 2009 - 10 will take up residence at Brown once the writer is able to leave a current location. Until that time, the fellow's identity is being kept in confidence.
Past IWP Fellows have included Burmese novelist Thida; Zimbabwean novelist Chenjerai Hove; Iranian novelists Moniro Ravanipour, Shahryar Mandanipour, and Shahrnush Parsipur; and Congolese playwright Pierre Mumbere Mujomba.
The IWP Fellowship was established with support from the William H. Donner Foundation and is open to established creative writers (fiction writers, poets, or playwrights) who are persecuted in their home countries or who are actively prevented from pursuing free expression in their literary art. Writers interested in applying for the fellowship should send a case history, providing publishing history and explaining need; a writing sample; and a resume to the Graduate Program in Literary Arts, Box 1923, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, or they may email materials to email@example.com. Persons wishing to make the IWP aware of a writer in need, or wishing to nominate a candidate, should also contact the program as noted above. The IWP will be accepting applications until February 15, 2010. More information about the Fellowship is available on the Literary Arts Program website (click on IWP).