Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers


for U.S. Writers

for Worldwide Writers

U.S. Writing Contests

For free | Non-Fiction |
DEADLINE 15th January 2012 Sunday  
PRIZE $ 2,000

Devoted to creative nonfiction work about the desert

…in the desert there is everything and there is nothing. Stay curious. Know where you are—your biological address. Get to know your neighbors—plants, creatures, who lives there, who died there, who is blessed, cursed, what is absent or in danger or in need of your help. Pay attention to the weather, to what breaks your heart, to what lifts your heart. Write it down. ~E.M. November 2004

Established in 2005 to honor the memory of Ellen Meloy, the Fund provides support to writers whose work reflects the spirit and passions embodied in Ellen’s writing and her commitment to a “deep map of place.” Ellen’s own map-in-progress was of the desert country she called home.
Grant Guidelines & Review Criteria (updated for 2012)

The Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers grants one $2,000 award in the spring of each year. Only literary or creative nonfiction proposals will be considered. No fiction or poetry proposals will be reviewed.


The Fund supports writing that combines an engaging individual voice, literary sensibility, imagination and intellectual rigor to bring new perspectives and deeper meaning to the body of desert literature. All applications will be reviewed through a peer-panel process.

Considerations in the selection process will be:

the writing sample’s artistic excellence and desert literacy,
the proposal’s strength,
the biography’s ability to demonstrate a history and future of writing and desert experience.

We encourage emerging, mid-career or established writers in the field of literary nonfiction to apply.

Financial and other kinds of need, the body of past work, geographic location of the applicant, academic career, professional reputation, etcetera, are not criteria for receipt of a grant.

We do NOT fund:

Individuals who have received an Ellen Meloy Grant within the last five years
Poetry or fiction proposals
Children's literature


Applications can be submitted beginning November 1, 2011 through January 15, 2012. When your application materials are ready, fill out the online registration form. When you submit this form, you'll be taken to a page with an email address set up for submissions only. PLEASE FOLLOW THIS PROCESS TO ENSURE YOUR APPLICATION IS SELECTED FOR REVIEW BY OUR SELECTION COMMITTEE.

To be considered for the a Ellen Meloy Fund Desert Writers Award, please submit only the following documents via e-mail by January 15, 2012. Send your proposal in the order listed below in MS Word (doc or docx) OR Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format. If converting your document to Adobe Acrobat presents an obstacle, contact the fund for assistance. Any extra materials sent with the application (and not requested in these guidelines) will not be reviewed. Again, ONLY creative nonfiction proposals will be reviewed; please no poetry, fiction or juvenile literature.

Step 1. Register Online to Apply - fill out this online registration form

Applicant’s name, address, phone, email address and website (if applicable)
Project Title (should match the Project Description you submit as part of your application)
Mention where/how you learned about the Fund. The more specific you are, the more helpful it will be to us in spreading the word about the Fund.

Step 2. E-mail the following attachment in ONE Word or Acrobat file:

1. Biographical Statement (No more than one page; double-spaced, 12-point type, 1” margins)
In addition to basic biographical background, answer these questions:

IMPORTANT: Do not include your name on this page.
Why are you interested in working in the desert?
How will an Ellen Meloy Fund grant benefit your work?
Describe your desert experience(s)
Demonstrate a commitment to adding to a deep map of place

2. Project Description (No more than one page; double-spaced, 12-point type, 1” margins)
Please note that neither the particular desert region to be visited nor the length of time to be spent there are specified by the Fund. Budget information is not required in the description..

IMPORTANT: Do not include your name on the page.
Include Project Title here that was entered on your registration form.
Describe your writing project.
Where, in the desert, will you go to research your project?
What is your plan for field work?

Please explain specifically how the project will:

Add new perspectives to the body of desert literature
Lead to deeper understandings
Advance desert literacy

3. Writing Sample (No more than 10 pages, double-spaced, 12-point type, 1” margins)

IMPORTANT: Do not include your name.
You may submit published, unpublished, or work in progress. The work must be that for which you have sole artistic ownership and responsibility.

Application Submission Deadline JANUARY 15, 2012
Applications must be received via email on or before JANUARY 15, 2012. Be sure to fill out the registration form and then email your application as instructed.) An e-mail acknowledgement will be sent upon receipt. The award will be announced in the spring.

Award recipients will be asked to agree to the following:

At the time the award is accepted, recipients will be asked to submit a photograph and grant permission for information submitted in the application to be used for publicity purposes.
Fund recipients must grant permission for the Fund to publicize the award.
Fund recipient must be open to visits and/or interviews by the Fund board and staff.
Accepting the Ellen Meloy Fund award obliges the recipient to provide a brief project evaluation due by the end of the year of the award.
Recipients will be asked to acknowledge the Fund in any publications generated from the award project; language will be provided.
While not required, the Fund would appreciate receiving a sample of the writing generated as part of the project to post on the Ellen Meloy Fund website.

For more information, send an email to fund at ellenmeloy.com.


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Last Modified 9th January 2012 Monday

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