Becoming a Fellow

If you are a serious-minded, committed writer with a solid grounding in the fundamentals of fictional craft, you should consider applying to become a Kimbilio Fellow.

Applications for new Fellowships open in January of each year. Interested writers submit a sample of their fiction writing and a short essay about why they are interested in becoming a Kimbilio Fellow. Applications are juried by outside evaluators who are themselves accomplished fiction writers.

New Fellows are announced in the spring, along with final arrangements for the summer retreat.

Fellows’ participation in the annual retreat is underwritten through the generous support of our partners at SMU. Additional support for the 2022 retreat has been provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

The following fellowships have been established and funded by donors to Kimbilio:

A woman with glasses smiles beautifully for an outdoor photo.

The Figueroa Sisters Fellowship

The Figueroa Sisters Fellowship has been established and seeded with funds by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa. She writes: 

“As a Kimbilio alumna, I am pleased to offer a fellowship, named after three Afro-Puerto Rican women who were, in their very quiet, very private way, role models for me and other women in our family. My mother Carmen, and her sisters, Betty and Cani, were my first storytellers and, unbeknownst to them, started me on my long journey to being a published writer. I can almost hear them cheering as they stand at my back, delighting in the narratives, many based on their own stories, that I now share with my readers. I am equally sure, that they rejoice in knowing that this modest fellowship will help propel another woman in her journey on the road to becoming a storyteller in her own right. Women of color, 50 years and over, are encouraged to apply. We need to tell our own, authentic stories, in our own authentic voices.”

Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa is a novelist, author of “Daughters of the Stone” (Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa, 2019) and “A Woman of Endurance” (Amistad, 2022)

A black and white photo of a lady named Tiffany wears sunglasses and a beaded necklace. She is smiling for an outdoor photo.

The Tiffany Austin Fellowship

The Tiffany Austin Fellowship honors the teacher, writer, activist, and Kimbilio Fellow, who passed away in 2018. 

Dr. Austin taught at Florida Memorial University, Mississippi Valley State University, and most recently at the University of The Bahamas. She was also a widely published poet, with her chapbook Étude appearing in 2013. Of this volume, her mentor Sterling Plumpp noted, “Austin’s genius is her unusual gift for metaphor and allusion.” Others recognized Tiffany’s genius too, with her poems appearing in such prestigious outlets as Callaloo, Obsidian III, African American Review, Coloring Book: An Anthology of Poetry and Fiction by Multicultural Writers, Warpland, pluck!, The Journal of Affrilachian Arts and Culture, Valley Voices, Auburn Avenue, TriQuarterly, Sycorax’s Daughters, and Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters. 

Before her passing, Dr. Austin organized a panel of Kimbilio Fellows of Caribbean descent for a writing conference at the University of the Bahamas. The Tiffany Austin Fellowship intends to preserve Dr. Austin’s vision of supporting diaspora writing from a region that she loved. It was established and seeded by an anonymous donor.

Kimbilio welcomes your support of these fellowships.  To contribute, please find our donation portal at this link: DONATE TO KIMBILIO. If you are interested in establishing a new fellowship, please contact us via email.

Additional one-time scholarships are donated annually in varying amounts, supporting writers from a range of backgrounds. Past scholarships have included:

  • The Kathleen Collins Scholarship: For single mothers raising young children
  • The Faith Ringgold Scholarship: For writers of books for younger readers
  • The Kamilah Aisha Moon Scholarship: For LGBTQ-identified writers

We encourage you to consider donating a scholarship in honor of someone who has made a difference in your life. 

The selection process for fellowships and scholarships is announced at the time of the application process.

KIMBILIO FELLOWS

Fellows are listed by year of first selection and may not appear in the class photo.

Your support helps to secure the future of this vital organization.

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