Emerging Writers Fellowship Program

About the Emerging Writers Fellowship Program

Straw Dog Writers Guild’s Emerging Writers Fellowship is intended to support women and gender nonbinary writers of color based in Western Massachusetts at the early stages of their career.  Hosted biennially, this program was created to help emerging writers negotiate barriers that often prevent them from pursuing publication and public access to their work. 

The Emerging Writers Fellowship Program was created by local performance poet and playwright, Nicole M. Young, with generous support from members of Straw Dog Writers Guild and our Pioneer Valley community.

Program Benefits

  • Complimentary Straw Dog Writers Guild membership during the fellowship year 
  • $2,500 stipend, which can be used to subsidize travel throughout Western Massachusetts to writing events, meetings with mentors, etc; competition entry fees
  • Up to 5-day writing retreat paid for and arranged by Straw Dog Writers Guild (at a facility found through AirBNB; specifics will be arranged at the appropriate time)
  • Featured reader at a Straw Dog Writers Guild event
  • Access to mentors throughout the year, selected from a pool of those available who can offer insight on craft, branding/publicity, and the business of publishing – all needs determined by the fellow

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