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Apply for One of Two Open City Fellowship for Fall 2018

The deadline for submission has been extended to July 23, 2018. Both the Neighborhoods Fellowship and the Muslim Communities Fellowship start on September 18, 2018.

By The Asian American Writers' Workshop

The Asian American Writers’ Workshop is now accepting applications for two Open City Fellowships –  the Neighborhoods Fellowship and the Muslim Communities Fellowship.

The Neighborhoods Fellowship is a unique opportunity for emerging Asian American writers to publish narrative nonfiction over the span of six months on the vibrant Asian American communities of New York City.

The 2016 Spring Fellows. From left: Liz Chow, Rong Xiaoqing, Yichen Tu, Thanu Yakupitiyage, Jai Dulani and Rahima Nasa

The Muslim Communities Fellowship is a six-month opportunity for emerging writers of color from communities under attack from Islamophobia to publish narrative nonfiction about Muslim communities in New York City. We see this as a fellowship for writers of color based in NYC from Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and North and East African communities.

For the Fall 2018 fellowships, both these fellowships will offer a $2,500 grant, skill-building workshops, and publishing opportunities to writers to write about the vibrant Asian immigrant and Muslim American communities of New York City.

The fellowships will start in September 2018 and will end in March 2019. The deadline for submission of applications has been extended to July 23, 2018.

For the Neighborhood Fellowship, we are looking for writers eager to work on neighborhood-based stories in Sunset Park, Bay Ridge, Midwood, and Boerum Hill in Brooklyn; Manhattan’s Chinatown; Astoria, Flushing, Jackson Heights and Richmond Hill in Queens; and other growing Asian immigrant communities across New York City, including those in Staten Island and The Bronx.

Apply for the Fellowships if you:

  • are a strong, voice-driven storyteller who cares about social justice movements and wants to transport readers to places like Flushing, Queens, and Sunset Park, Brooklyn;
  • have an entrepreneurial spirit and understand that building a career as a writer includes building a social media presence;
  • can demonstrate nonfiction writing experience and a dedication to developing a writing career; and
  • are excited about getting your hands dirty in “the field” and cultivating trust and sources in your neighborhood.


The 2016 Fall Fellows. From left: Sarah Khan. April Xu, Mike Hong, Rong Xioaqing and Sowmiya Ashok

Open City documents the pulse of metropolitan Asian America as it’s being lived on the streets of New York right now. We’re looking for writers to create deft, engaging narratives that bring the face, name, place, and heart of the community to issues like gentrification, immigration, Islamophobia, community policing and racial and gender discrimination.

For the Muslim Communities Fellowship, we are looking for writers who:

  • are willing to spend time reporting on Muslim neighborhoods and talking to people about their lives, hopes and fears;
  • understand the urgency in writing stories that depict how it is to be a Muslim in today’s America;
  • are committed to social justice, dedicated to helping promote efforts by the community to fight anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiments and actions;
  • strong, voice-driven storytellers who care about social justice movements and transporting readers to places like Jackson Heights and Astoria in Queens; Bay Ridge and Boerum Hill in Brooklyn; and Mott Haven and Parkchester in The Bronx.


AAWW recognizes the heterogeneity of the Muslim community in New York City, and we are looking to create a home for writers from Arab American, West Asian, Central Asian, Iranian, Afghan, East and North African, Black Muslim, South Asian, and Southeast Asian communities in New York City. Please note that applicants for the Fellowship need not be Asian American but must be persons of color.

The 2017 Fall Fellows. From left: Sumaya Awad, Raad Rahman, Humera Afridi and Roja Heydarpour

Previous Open City Fellows have gone on to write and report for Granta, Al Jazeera America, the American Prospect and Slate, among other outlets. Their works during their time as Fellows have been picked up by NPR, The Atlantic Cities, and the New York Times.

For more info about the Open City Fellowships, please click this link for the Neighborhoods Fellowship, and this link for the Muslim Communities Fellowship.


The Fellowships duration is six months, starting in September 2018 and ending in March 2019.


All applicants must carefully read our FAQ before applying to determine whether or not they are eligible. The Neighborhoods Fellowship is open to emerging Asian American writers who reside in New York City. The Muslim Communities Fellowship is open to New York City-based Muslim American writers.

To be considered, you must apply by filling out the forms for the Neighborhoods Fellowship and the Muslim Communities Fellowship. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us at opencitymag [at] gmail [dot] com.

  1. Read our  FAQ.
  2. Get to know Open City.
  3. Fill out the application form and submit by 11:59 pm on July 9, 2018. There is no application fee. We do not accept handwritten documents, letters of recommendation, or support materials.


The current Open City Fellows. From left, front row: Sarah Muawad and Roshan Abraham. Back row: Julianne HIng, Aber Kawas, Huiying Chan, Pearl Bhatnagar, Open City Editor Noel Pangilinan and Humera Afridi.

All Open City Fellowship applicants must submit story proposals that comprise pitches and outlines of the stories they plan to write for Open City over the span of the six-month fellowship period. Please read the FAQ for more details on how to structure the proposal.

Current Fellows may apply for a second round of Fellowship funding if they have completed all the requirements of their current Fellowship. Fellows will need to wait a year after their second six-month Fellowship to apply again. Past Open City Fellows prior to 2018 may apply for six-month Open City Fellowships.