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.
- Showcase writing and/or communication informed by an empathetic and knowledgeable relationship with the natural world;
- 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;
- Communicate the importance and value for finding common ground solutions for potential and critical ecological issues within the Greater Yellowstone region;
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- The quality of the overall application.
- Quality and significance of the work sample(s) submitted.
- Applicant’s demonstrated publication history, future focus, knowledge of issues and expertise with the Greater Yellowstone region.
- Demonstrated quality and significance of the applicant’s previous publications or productions for the Greater Yellowstone region.
- 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
Celebrated journalist Todd Wilkinson, based in Bozeman, Montana, is known for his stories and analysis about issues shaping the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. His work has appeared in publications ranging from National Geographic to The Guardian, Washington Post. He is the author of books on subjects as diverse as scientific whistleblowers, the life of "eco-capitalist" Ted Turner, and Jackson Hole Grizzly 399, a famous bear in the Greater Yellowstone. Wilkinson is the founder of Mountain Journal (mountainjournal.org ), a public interest journalism site exploring the intersection between humans and nature in Greater Yellowstone and the larger West.
Susan Marsh is based in Jackson, Wyoming. With degrees in geology and landscape architecture and a lifelong interest in creative writing, she has combined her interests into a body of work that explores the relationship of humans to the wild. Her work has appeared in journals that include Orion, North American Review, and Fourth Genre, and in many anthologies. Her books include the award-winning novel War Creek and non-fiction books A Hunger for High Country, Cache Creek: A Trailside Guide to Jackson Hole’s Backyard Wilderness, and Saving Wyoming’s Hoback, winner of the Wallace Stegner Prize in Environmental Humanities. She writes a column “Back to Nature” for Mountain Journal.