Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 26, 2016

Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant


Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant

In recent years the literary industry has seen a boom in creative nonfiction from extraordinary writers who are perfecting and extending the form: Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead, Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams, Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: A Lyric, and Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, to name just a few examples.

Recognizing that the creation of such exemplary works of literature—springing from the realm of the imagination as well as from diligent research and reporting—requires a wealth of time and resources, the Whiting Foundation ( is pleased to announce the formation of a new program, the Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant, which will offer allocations of $35,000 to as many as three works in progress to enable authors to complete their books. Its chief objective is to foster original, ambitious projects that bring writing to the highest possible standard.

All creative nonfiction writers under contract with a publisher and at least two years into their contract are encouraged to apply by May 1, 2016. Whiting welcomes submissions for works of history, cultural or political reportage, biography, memoir, the sciences, philosophy, criticism, food or travel writing, and personal essays, among other categories.

Courtney Hodell, Director of Writers’ Programs, comments, “Support at the right moment can not only help an author complete a project, but can also make the difference between a well-conceived book and a brilliantly executed one. The goal, as is the case with the Whiting Awards, is to help superb writers produce important work. But we also hope the prize will focus attention on a vital form, encourage publishers to support their writers through sometimes lengthy, unpredictable writing processes, and alert other institutions to the need in the genre.”

To apply for the Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant, writers should submit their original proposal that led to the contract, as many as three sample chapters, a budget, and a schedule for completion; a letter of support from their publisher or editor; and two other letters of support (not to come from their agent). Writers can submit their applications online at

Each project under submission will have two first-round readers who will evaluate for substance and execution. Fifteen finalists will be considered by a panel of five judges, who will evaluate for content and for need as they choose as many as three grantees. Readers and judges will consist of experts in the field, and will serve anonymously to shield them from any external pressures. The grantees will be announced in the fall.

The Whiting Foundation has supported literature and the humanities for more than forty years. Its program in literature include the Whiting Awards, which annually present ten emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama with $50,000. The new Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant is part of the Foundation’s efforts to support the ecosystem in which writers do their work.

Link to grant application:

If you have any questions about the eligibility of your project, or the submission process, please contact the Whiting Foundation at

Talk tomorrow,


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