Emerging Writer Fellowship Program

Emerging Writer Fellowship graphicAbout the Emerging Writer Fellowship Program

The Emerging Writer Fellowship is a program of Straw Dog Writers Guild designed to support women of color and gender expansive writers of color based in Western Massachusetts at the early stages of their career. The Fellowship was created to help emerging writers negotiate barriers that may prevent them from accessing mentorship and pursuing publication of their work. In 2022-23, the second cycle of the Emerging Writers Fellowship Program, the genre will be FICTION.

Program Benefits

  • $3000 grant from SDWG to be used for writing-related expenses.
  • Membership in SDWG during the membership year and the following year.
  • Access to mentors who can offer assistance with craft, revision, publishing, promotion, or other writing needs identified by the Fellow.
  • Chance to promote self/work through SDWG mailing list and social media.
  • Professional website designed by Valley of Writers and hosted for three years.
  • Opportunity to help shape the artistic vision of SDWG as we grow.
  • The Fellow will have opportunities to read her work at Guild events.
  • The Fellow will have the opportunity to teach or co-teach a SDWG workshop or program.


  • The Fellow will be expected to communicate regularly with SDWG about the progress of work.
  • The Fellow will address, in person or virtually, the SDWG annual meeting.
  • The Fellow will write one blog for the SDWG newsletter
  • At the end of the fellowship, the Fellow will give feedback about the experience.

Applicant Criteria

  • The applicant will be 18 or older, self-identify as a woman or gender expansive person of color, and not yet have published a book (or have one under contract).
  • The applicant will have a demonstrated passion for writing fiction.
  • The applicant should live in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, or Hampden County.

Program Timeline

  • Applications must be completed, and writing sample submitted between November 1 and December 30, 2021.  APPLY HERE.
  • Finalists will be asked to participate in an interview.
  • The selection committee decision will be announced by March 1, 2022.
  • The fellowship term will run May 2022 – May 2023.

Complete the online application.

If you have questions, contact Ellen Meeropol at ellenmeeropol@gmail.com. 

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Amina Jordan-Mendez, Poet Performer (2020 Fellow)

Writing poetry since childhood and called to perform by community, family, and their ancestors, Amina Nia “illypsis” Jordan-Mendez lives for passion & healing. Born and raised in a predominantly white college town of western MA, Amina grew up a rebel: Black, fat, queer and existing. Inviting the challenge, she chose to live out loud—swim with her hair out, throw her weight around, question and confront. Now a focused poet performer, their hands are busy rooting themselves in intergenerational healing of their lineage, embracing the pain, hostility, pleasure and pride of blossoming into a poet she can look up to. Amina Nia “illypsis” Jordan-Mendez is tender, grateful, angry, loving and growing. They are currently attending workshops as they come and fitting art within their busy schedule of work and self-care, addressing mental health and traumas. Born to a first-generation Panamanian mother, and an “army brat” southern Black American father, she is exploring and defining ‘home’ in her body, in her life and in this world. 


To donate to the Emerging Writers Fellowship Fund, please visit here