We cannot overlook the importance of wild country as a source of inspiration, to which we give expression in writing, in poetry, drawing and painting, in mountaineering, or in just being there. — Olaus Murie

About the Fellowship

The Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Creative Writing and Journalism Fellowship is supported with generous funding from The Pattie and Earle Layser Memorial Fund. Open to writers and journalists, this fellowship seeks to intersect science, education, current events, and conservation to effectively communicate the Greater Yellowstone’s natural history and singular importance to society through creative and exceptional writing and subject communication.  

This annual prestigious fellowship of $3,500 will be awarded to a creative writer (poetry, fiction, nonfiction), or those in the field of journalism (writer, photojournalist, videographer, documentary filmmaker, online or print media) who demonstrate serious inquiry and dedication to the Greater Yellowstone region through their work.  Established and recognized authors are being sought, but emerging and mid-career writers are also encouraged to apply.

In addition, the fellowship recipient may elect to also receive a one to two week housing residency at one of the prearranged different locations within the Greater Yellowstone region, including, but not limited to, for example, the AMK Ranch, National Elk Refuge, or Taft-Nickolson Center. Such residency will be based on availability and will be negotiated with the fellowship recipient.

Goals

  1. Showcase writing and/or communication informed by an empathetic and knowledgeable relationship with the natural world; 
  2. Contribute to the understanding of the uniqueness of the Greater Yellowstone’s wild places and their intersection with and importance to our contemporary culture and world view; 
  3. Communicate the importance and value for finding common ground solutions for potential and critical ecological issues within the Greater Yellowstone region;
  4. Demonstrate a potential to effectively meld science, conservation, natural history, aesthetics, and art in a nontechnical manner, communicating significantly, eloquently, and convincingly, about the importance of nature, the natural world, wildlife and wild places, and the value of open spaces and public lands, within the Greater Yellowstone, and as a result, also for Wyoming and society in general.    


Eligibility

  • This is a national fellowship open to U.S. citizens or legal residents.
  • Must be at least 18 years of age at time of application.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or have legal resident status (proof of U.S. citizenship and/or resident status may be required).
  • May not be affiliated with the Wyoming Arts Council either as a board member or staff member, including their families, whether full-time, part-time or contractual.
  • May not be an employee of the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.
  • Can only receive a total of two Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Creative Writing and Journalism Fellowships in your lifetime.
  • Can receive one Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Creative Writing and Journalism Fellowship within a 5 year period.
  • You may enter the fellowship competition only once by the deadline.


Selection Criteria

  • Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of jurors selected by the Wyoming Arts Council. Jurors may be writers, publishers, or other notable experts in the field.
  • Submissions will be juried anonymously.
  • Jurors will evaluate submissions based on:
  1. The quality of the overall application.
  2. Quality and significance of the work sample(s) submitted.
  3. Applicant’s demonstrated publication history, future focus, knowledge of issues and expertise with the Greater Yellowstone region.
  4. Demonstrated quality and significance of the applicant’s previous publications or productions for the Greater Yellowstone region.
  5. Contemporary relevance of the applicant’s proposed project.


Submission Guidelines – Creative Writing

  • You may submit up to 20 pages of text, typed, single-spaced using a 12-point standard font; or short sample video/film excerpts or examples (see Journalism below).
  • Writing may have been previously published, but must be submitted in manuscript form – please don’t submit/attach reprints.
  • Pages must be numbered; include title of work and page number on each page.
  • For a book excerpt, you may provide a synopsis, but it must be included in the 20-page limit.
  • You may submit more than one piece, as long as you don’t exceed the 20-page limit.
  • Provide proposed publication information—e.g. was or will be published: name, title, date, anthology, journal, book, web address, etc. 
  • Your name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript or production.
  • If you submit more than the allowable page limits, extra pages will be removed.
  • Upload a resume that lists previous publications or productions, including any upcoming publications or works.
  • Sample work must have been created within the past 5 years.
  • All application material must be combined into one document and uploaded.
  • Include a statement not to exceed a one page document describing how the award will be applied to accomplish your goals. Describe intended readership. Describe how your work addresses the goals of the fellowship. Describe how the proposed work addresses and contributes to the public education, identification, appreciation, and protection of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem’s natural features.


Submission Guidelines – Journalism and other Communication Media

  • If submitting writing samples only, follow the guidelines for Creative Writing.
  • If submitting audio, video, or images you may submit up to 6 work samples. (.jpg, .tiff, .png, MP3, MP4, WAV, MOV, or WMV file formats accepted)
  • Upload a resume that includes previous publications or produced work, including any upcoming productions.
  • Provide publication or distribution information—e.g. was or will be published: name, title, date, anthology, journal, book, web address, etc. 
  • Works must have been created within the past 5 years.
  • Your name must not appear anywhere on the application or production.
  • Provide a one page document describing how the award will be applied to accomplish your goals and that of the Fellowship. Describe intended audience(s) and how you propose to reach those audiences. Describe how your work addresses the goals of the fellowship.       
    • See also Submission Guidelines for Creative Writing above.


    If you win the Fellowship

  • You’ll receive $3,500 up front.
  • The funding must be used toward creating a publishable or produced work. 
  • You’ll sign a contract that verifies you’re eligible to receive this award.
  • You must supply a short bio and a photograph for publicity.
  • The Wyoming Arts Council will retain a copy of submitted materials for possible use in excerpts for promotional purposes and Arts Council publications (print and electronic).
  • You will retain all rights to the work you submit with your application and the work you produce.
  • You must fill out a final report following the fellowship, which asks questions about how this award helped you and what you accomplished during the year you received it.
  • You may be requested and/or encouraged to make public presentation(s).
  • You must acknowledge or credit financial support in your work and presentations to the Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Creative Writing and Journalism Fellowship and the Wyoming Arts Council. 


This Year's Jurors

Susan Tweit will serve as a juror for the second year in a row. A plant ecologist by training, Susan began her career studying grizzly bear habitat—collecting and dissecting bear poop—mapping historic wildfires, and researching big sagebrush. She turned to writing after realizing that she loved the stories behind the data more than collecting those data. Tweit has written thirteen books on the nature of life and our place in it, along with hundreds of magazine articles, newspaper columns, and essays. Her latest book, Bless the Birds: Living With Love in a Time of Dying, won the Sarton Award for memoir and was a finalist for the Colorado Book Awards. Tweit has taught writing workshops around the country, coached writers, served as a juror for a variety of fellowships and awards, and reviewed manuscripts for publishers and agents. She feels fortunate to have been awarded fellowships and residencies at inspiring places, including The Mesa Refuge on the cliff above Tomales Bay in Point Reyes Station, California; a historic casita just off Canyon Road in Santa Fe thanks to Women’s International Study Center; and Carpenter Ranch in northwest Colorado with Colorado Art Ranch. Tweit’s work is driven by terraphilia, and her passion for healing and re-storying this earth, and we who share the planet.


Bebe Crouse is based in Bozeman, Montana.  Crouse spent more than 25 years as a working journalist before taking her position as Associate Director of Communications for The Nature Conservancy. Bebe spent a decade as Environment and Western Editor for NPR. She has reported and produced award-winning radio and television news stories and documentaries for national media networks including NPR, CBS, NBC, Wall Street Journal, BBC, and PBS. Her work has taken her across the United States, Europe, Mexico, Cuba, Kenya and Central America. She also spent time as a mountain and river guide and an environmental planner in Oregon and California. Her experience combined with her education in Environmental Science positions her well for her job with The Nature Conservancy where she continues to write about the things she values. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking and floating in kayak or raft.



The Frank Nelson Doubleday Writing Award of $1,000 is given for the best poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or script written by a woman writer.

This award is designed to bring attention to writers in Wyoming who have not yet received wide recognition for their work, and to support emerging writers at crucial times in their careers. Poets, fiction writers, essayists, and script writers who have published no more than one book in each genre and who are not students or faculty members are invited to apply by submitting manuscripts and an entry form by the deadline.


Guidelines for the 2023 Frank Nelson Doubleday Writing Award

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age at time of application.
  • Must not be a full-time student pursuing high school, college, or university art-related degrees.
  • Must not be full-time college faculty.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or have legal resident status (evidence of U.S. citizenship, resident status and state residency may be required).
  • May not be affiliated with the Wyoming Arts Council either as a board member or staff member, including their families, whether full-time, part-time or contractual.
  • May not be an employee of the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.
  • Must have been domiciled within the state borders for a total of 20 months in the previous two years.
  • Must remain a Wyoming resident for at least one year after award, living in the state for at least 10 months of the year.
  • Must not have received a Blanchan or Doubleday award in the last four years. You may apply for these awards if you received a 2022 (or previous year) creative writing fellowship.
  • You may not have received a 2023 (or current year) Arts Council creative writing fellowship.
  • You may enter if you have never published a book, if you’ve published only one full-length book of fiction, poetry or nonfiction, or if you have published no more than one book of poetry, one of fiction, and one of nonfiction (self-publication excluded).
  • You must be a woman. 


Manuscript guidelines:

  • Submit work in one genre only.
  • Writing may have been previously published. 
  • Manuscript must be consecutively page-numbered. Include title of work and page numbers on each page.
  • Your name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript.
  • If you submit more than the allowed page limits (see below), extra pages will be removed; you will not be notified.
  • If novel or play/film synopses are part of the manuscript (this is often helpful to the juror), include them in the total page number count.


Length requirements:

  • Poetry, maximum length: 10 pages. Type single-spaced using a 12-point standard font, with no more than one poem per page.
  • Fiction and creative nonfiction, maximum length: 25 pages. Type double-spaced using a 12-point standard font. 
  • Drama and screenplays, maximum length: 25 pages. Must be typed and presented in the standard, industry-accepted format for the type of script submitted.


Submission procedures:

  • You may enter the competition once only, by midnight MT on Tuesday, March 15, 2023.


After you submit your application:

  • Your name and credentials are not available to juror; all manuscripts are identified by number. Juror will not critique individual manuscripts.


If you win an award:

  • Winners will be notified by April 15, 2023.
  • You’ll receive $1,000. At the discretion of the juror, no award may be given.
  • You’ll sign a contract which verifies that you’re eligible to receive this award.
  •  You must remain a Wyoming resident for at least one year after award, living in the state for at least 10 months of the year. 
  • You’ll need to supply a bio and photograph for publicity, and the Arts Council will ask permission to publish some of your work in its publications.
  • You’ll retain the right of publication to the work you produce during the award period.
  • You must fill out a final report, due August 30, 2023, which asks questions about how this award helped you and what you accomplished during the year. There are no requirements regarding work you complete during the award period or how you use the funds.
  • You may receive an additional stipend to travel in the state to read your work.


The Juror


Laura Pritchett is the author of five novels and has two forthcoming from Penguin/Random House and Torrey House Press. She’s also the author of two nonfiction books, and editor of three environmental anthologies, and her work has been the recipient of the PEN USA Award, the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, the WILLA, the High Plains Book Award, several Colorado Book Awards, and others. Her best-known novel, Stars Go Blue, has been optioned for TV rights. She’s published over 300 essays and short stories in national venues, most recently in The Sun, Terrain, Camas, Orion, Creative Nonfiction, and others.

She directs the MFA in Nature Writing at Western Colorado University and holds a PhD from Purdue University. When not writing or teaching, she can be found sauntering around the West, especially her home state of Colorado; she particularly likes looking at clouds.

The Neltje Blanchan Memorial Writing Award, $1,000, is given annually for the best poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or script informed by a relationship with the natural world.

This award is designed to bring attention to writers in Wyoming who have not yet received wide recognition for their work, and to support emerging writers at crucial times in their careers. Poets, fiction writers, essayists, and script writers who have published no more than one book in each genre and who are not students or faculty members are invited to apply by submitting manuscripts and an entry form by the deadline.


Guidelines for the 2023 Neltje Blanchan Writing Award

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age at time of application.
  • Must not be a full-time student pursuing high school, college, or university art-related degrees.
  • Must not be full-time college faculty.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or have legal resident status (evidence of U.S. citizenship, resident status and state residency may be required).
  • May not be affiliated with the Wyoming Arts Council either as a board member or staff member, including their families, whether full-time, part-time or contractual.
  • May not be an employee of the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.
  • Must have been domiciled within the state borders for a total of 20 months in the previous two years.
  • Must remain a Wyoming resident for at least one year after award, living in the state for at least 10 months of the year.
  • Must not have received a Blanchan or Doubleday award in the last four years. You may apply for these awards if you received a 2022 (or previous year) creative writing fellowship.
  • You may not have received a 2023 (or current year) Arts Council creative writing fellowship.
  • You may enter if you have never published a book, if you’ve published only one full-length book of fiction, poetry or nonfiction, or if you have published no more than one book of poetry, one of fiction, and one of nonfiction (self-publication excluded).


Manuscript guidelines:

  • Submit work in one genre only.
  • Writing may have been previously published. 
  • Manuscript must be consecutively page-numbered. Include title of work and page numbers on each page.
  • Your name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript.
  • If you submit more than the allowed page limits (see below), extra pages will be removed; you will not be notified.
  • If novel or play/film synopses are part of the manuscript (this is often helpful to the juror), include them in the total page number count.


Length requirements:

  • Poetry, maximum length: 10 pages. Type single-spaced using a 12-point standard font, with no more than one poem per page.
  • Fiction and creative nonfiction, maximum length: 25 pages. Type double-spaced using a 12-point standard font. 
  • Drama and screenplays, maximum length: 25 pages. Must be typed and presented in the standard, industry-accepted format for the type of script submitted.


Submission procedures:

  • You may enter the competition once only, by midnight MT on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.


After you submit your application:

  • Your name and credentials are not available to juror; all manuscripts are identified by number. Juror will not critique individual manuscripts.


If you win an award:

  • Winners will be notified by April 15, 2023.
  • You’ll receive $1,000. At the discretion of the juror, no award may be given.
  • You’ll sign a contract which verifies that you’re eligible to receive this award.
  • You must remain a Wyoming resident for at least one year after award, living in the state for at least 10 months of the year.
  • You’ll retain the right of publication to the work you produce during the award period.
  • You must fill out a final report, due August 30, 2023, which asks questions about how this award helped you and what you accomplished during the year. There are no requirements regarding work you complete during the award period or how you use the funds.
  • You may receive an additional stipend to travel in the state to read your work.


The Juror

Laura Pritchett is the author of five novels and has two forthcoming from Penguin/Random House and Torrey House Press. She’s also the author of two nonfiction books, and editor of three environmental anthologies, and her work has been the recipient of the PEN USA Award, the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, the WILLA, the High Plains Book Award, several Colorado Book Awards, and others. Her best-known novel, Stars Go Blue, has been optioned for TV rights. She’s published over 300 essays and short stories in national venues, most recently in The Sun, Terrain, Camas, Orion, Creative Nonfiction, and others.

She directs the MFA in Nature Writing at Western Colorado University and holds a PhD from Purdue University. When not writing or teaching, she can be found sauntering around the West, especially her home state of Colorado; she particularly likes looking at clouds.
 

Wyoming Arts Council