Open City: Call for 2013-2014 Creative Nonfiction Fellows (NY, NY)

Deadline: April 8, 2013
Fellowship starts: April 30, 2013

Breaking news: We're excited to announce this year's judges for our Open City Fellowship: Das Racist hypeman Ashok Kondabolu, former Newsweek International editor-in-chief Tunku Varadarajan, and award-winning memoirist Kao Kalia Yang, who famously challenged Radiolab's account of the Hmong Rain, along with members of the Workshop editorial staff.

Open City, an online magazine published by the Asian American Writers' Workshop, documents the pulse of metropolitan Asian America as it's being lived on the streets of New York right now. Covered by the Wall Street Journal and NPR, a collaborative partner with the New Museum and the Museum of Chinese in America, Open City grants a $5,000 fellowship, career guidance, and publishing opportunities to five Creative Nonfiction Fellows to write and produce both short-form and long-form editorial content on the vibrant immigrant communities of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. If you're an emerging creative nonfiction writer looking for financial support, a place to publish and career mentorship, apply to become a Creative Nonfiction Fellow.

Applications are due on April 8, 2013.


Who We're Looking For
We're looking for talented Asian American emerging writers looking to hone their creative nonfiction skills by engaging directly with contemporary New York. The ideal fellow:
  • Demonstrates excellent literary/journalistic merit. You are emerging writers who would benefit from the fellowship.
  • Possesses a deep interest in Asian American issues, social issues, social justice, low-income populations, race, culture, immigration, gentrification, urban landscapes, neighborhood and hyperlocal reporting.
  • Can produce creative work around these themes, while offering sharp commentary and analysis.
  • Is a curious, self-motivated go-getter that can re-imagine a neighborhood in innovative ways, while generating creative story ideas and ways to tell those stories.
  • Represents a diverse set of interests, backgrounds and experiential contexts.


What You'll Get
  • A one-year stipend of $5,000;
  • Access to space at the Asian American Writers' Workshop to write in;
  • Private career lunch/dinner sessions with notable literary, journalism or publishing industry professionals. In the past, career speakers have included Siddhartha Deb, author and a contributor to The Nation and the New York Review of Books; Kirby Kim, a literary agent at William Morris Endeavor featured on the cover of Poets & Writers as a "Breakthrough Agent"; and Verso Editor Andrew Hsiao.
  • A personal critique and editing session so that you exit the fellowship with a strong portfolio of work;
  • Free membership to the Asian American Writers' Workshop and free access to its events (value $45);
  • Unlimited writing workshop access at the Asian American Writers' Workshop for a year (value up to $1200);
  • Opportunities to pitch stories to all of the Workshop's new online magazines;
  • Opportunity to have your feature story nominated for New America Media Award (the Pulitzer of ethnic press);
  • Opportunity to have your work featured at an AAWW-sponsored reading or event themed around Open City. Past Open City Fellows participated in readings at the New Museum Festival of Ideas of the New City, the Museum of Chinese in America, and PAGE TURNER: The Asian American Literary Festival;
  • Consistent exposure, editing and mentorship.
  • We will also be applying for grants for colony time for fellows, so there is the possibility of greater benefits.


  1. Do I need to be journalist?
    No, you don't need to be a journalist. Past fellows have been teachers, lawyers, and professors; some have only done creative writing. You simply have to have stories you want to tell that fit in with Open City.
  2. Do I have to write about the neighborhood or be from it?
    No, you don't. Naturally, it helps to know a neighborhood well, but the point of the fellowship is to not only publish writing, but to help writers cultivate an area of expertise.
  3. Do I only write about this area?
    Definitely not. If you have a good story idea, Open City wants to hear it.


Interested? See full application below:


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