Writing Residencies Abroad & Funding Ideas

  Aegean Arts Circle

Dates: July 6th-July 13 2012

Cost: 3,000 U.S. Includes stay on island, breakfast, dinner, round-trip ferry tickets, and workshop fees.

Submit: Writing Sample & Description of a writing project you want to work on while in Andros.

Once Accepted: You must read the book "From Where You Dream," by Robert Olen Butler

For Address & More Information email info@aegeanartscircle.com

No Scholarships Available

Creative Writer's Workshop Ireland

The following information is from the Creative Writing Workshop Website


  • Feb Sat 9 & Sun 10 Memoir Writing, Wicklow
  • April Sat 27 & Sun 28 Memoir Writing, Sligo Town, Co. Sligo
  • May Sun 19 to Thurs 23 Travel Writing & Photography, Markree Castle, Co. Sligo
  • Jun Mon 10 to Fri 14 Fiction Writing on Aran Island, Inis Mór Island, Co. Galway
  • July Fri 5 to Fri 12 Mythical Island Workshop / Myth | Writing | Yoga | Music, Clare Island/Mayo & Inis Mór, Aran Island/Galway
  • Aug Mon 19 to Thurs 22 Memoir Writing, Markree Castle, Co Sligo
  • Sept Sun 8 to Thu 12 Travel Writing & Photography, Kinvara/Galway & Burren/Clare - Details coming soon!

Price: Between 330-1098 dollars. Does not include travel fees.

Apply here: http://www.thecreativewritersworkshop.com/?p=writing-courses-online-application

Paris Cafe Retreat

The following information is from the Paris Cafe Website

Dates: June 16-22 2013; June 30-July 6 2013; November 17-23 2013; December 1-7 2013

Cost: 1,250

Included: Welcome package, Orientation, 3 breakfast, 4 dinners, 1 walking tour, 1 jazz concert, 5 writing seminars, 1 personal writing session.

Not included: dirt or land transportation; housing; other meals; travel insurance.

Register here: http://www.ParisCafeWriting.com/Site/Register.html

Acme Studios International Residencies Programme

Open to visual artists, curators, and arts writers. Artists require 5 years professional experience. 1, 2 or 3 month residencies available.

Fee includes: Letters of support for funding applications; Assistance in finding working and living accommodation; individually-tailored residency development; welcome & orientation; individual session with the IRP Manager; individual mentoring with distinguished professionals; gallery visits, intro to artists, arts professionals & organizations; invitations to private views, events, and networking opportunities; small scale presentation; opportunities for larger projects.

Does not include: living costs, travel, visa

Cost: Starts at 5,500 dollars for one month

How to get funding:

First double check with the residency to see if they have any extra funds for residents. If they say no you can contact the embassy in your home country to see if there is any assistance there. You could apply for Grants. Every one loves grants. Check out some of the places below for funding or funding ideas

Creative Capital    

A national nonprofit organization that provides financial support for artists. How cool is that!

Artists Communities 

Gives advocacy and support for Artists Residency Programs. You can find residencies, jobs, services, and support. Woohoo!

Foundation Center

A research grant program & funding website that will help you find funders. Finally!

Grant Space

Funding for individual artists.

Women Arts

Funding list for various projects.

Fund for the Arts

Programs, funding, grants, scholarships, community centers, yes, yes, yes!

Artists Help Network

Grants and funding in alphabetical order.

Funding Sources for Public Art

Training, projects, and resources for artists.

Writers and Editors

A list of funding sources.


Applying to the MFA with Novel Excerpts

If you’re a fiction writer you probably have written, or are writing, a novel. Or maybe short stories just aren’t you’re thing; you’re too verbose or your ideas are too complicated to confine to 3,000 words. Or maybe you’re street savvy and you know there’s potential money in novels, and not much in short stories. Either way, you might have this question. Can I submit a novel excerpt as my writing sample for the MFA?

I’ve seen this question time and time again and in a field as subjective as writing, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might like it to be.

Of course you can submit excerpts from a novel, very few schools I know of forbid it and many school websites mention that you can submit short stories and/or novels. But is submitting parts of a novel really the best idea?

No, but also, yes.

You’ve probably heard it before, but you always want to submit your best work. If you (and others, ask for some opinions!) feel your novel is your strongest piece of writing, submit it! But if you’re unsure, you might want to go the short story route. Short stories have the benefit of allowing admission committees to see you carry a narrative arc all the way through. Also, at many schools, the workshop experience is better suited to short stories.

If you do decide to submit excerpts from a novel (which is fine, if it is your best work), keep some guidelines in mind.

1. Make sure whatever section(s) you chose from your novel can somewhat stand-alone. It should have conflict and some sort of narrative arc. 2. Provide a synopsis only if you feel the excerpts need one. Or, if the school requires it, which some will. Keep the synopsis short. 3. Mention in the title, that these are excerpts, chapters, etc. from a novel. 4. Don’t just submit a novel excerpt. Writing is subjective and only one person on the admission committee might be reading your application. If, for whatever reasons, your novel doesn’t interest them, then you’re out. But, if you pair your novel excerpt with a short story, you don’t put all of your eggs in one basket and get the best of both worlds. You can show the admission committee your best work (your novel), but you can also show them that you have mastered the narrative arc and the act of story telling with the short story. This has an added bonus of helping you meet different page requirements for the writing sample. Ideally, a 7-10 page short story will allow you sufficient pages for your novel, whether the page limit is 20, 25, 30 or higher. Novel excerpts are great because you can add or remove pages to fit under requirements.

In short, if you have a novel you are really passionate about, of course you should use parts of it in your writing sample. I applied last year with excerpts from a novel, as well as a short story and was successful in many applications.

So start editing those novels!


by Michelle Donahue

How To Prepare To Teach Your First Class

Teaching is scary. I thought that I was going to pass out in front of my class the first day I taught, but I didn't. I swear! Below are some things I learned on my first day. 1. Do your reading. It seems obvious, but we all know that doesn't always happen. Try to stay at least 1 day ahead of your students. If possible, two days. If not, it's okay. Every other teacher feels your pain. Just make sure you know what you are talking about. Students are like dogs: they can smell BS. So don't BS them. Be honest. Do your readings. It's just nice.

2. Remember. Remember what it was like when you were an undergraduate? What were some things you liked? Some things you didn't? For me, I liked free writing exercises, occasional group work (as long as it didn't count grade-wise because the 3 other people in the group don't do anything...) and movie day. Who doesn't love movie day? Try to prepare a class that you would want to attend. I'm bringing breakfast bars because I remember the eating habits of 18-year-old me and let's just say that I would have died without a breakfast bar.

3. Note it. Take notes when preparing a reading, book, or lesson. It'll keep you on track and help remind you what you read. If it helps, you can even print out a little sheet of what you are going to talk about each day of class.

4. Don't panic. This should be number one. Don't panic! I repeat: DON'T PANIC. I promise, (kind of) that you aren't going to do any of the following:

  • Throw up in front of your students.
  • Forget what an ellipses is.
  • End up having to teach History instead of English.
  • Lose your books before you have to teach. Really...you won't.
  • Be expected to remember EVERY NAME on the FIRST DAY.
  • Be expected to remember EVERY NAME in the FIRST WEEK.

5. You might look stupid occasionally, you might not remember the author of that one book you wanted to talk about, and you might forget the name of the girl who sits in the front row, but it's okay!

6. Breathe. 

7. Ask questions. Like any good student, a good teacher will also ask questions. If you feel uncomfortable about something, run it by a colleague or a professor. It can't hurt.

8. Pay Attention. If a student is asking for help, please give it to them...then ask yourself, "Is it wrong to buy a chicken burrito and not work out because you performed like a Olympian in class?" The answer is no, it's never wrong.

9. Treat yoself day. At least that's what I'm planning on doing. But I'm also a self-indulgent aHole. Just kidding. But really...after my first day of teaching, I'm going to eat a freakin' ice cream cone. That's right. Gimmie that chocolate covered chocolate covered in chocolate.


How to Stay Organized During the MFA Application Process

The MFA application process can be a chaotic, stressful experience, so you’ll want to do everything you can to minimize stress. The best way to do this is to keep as organized as possible. This is important not only for yourself but for your letter of recommendation (LOR) writers. Your former professors, bosses, etc. have been kind enough to agree to help you out, so you’ll want to make the process as easy on them as you can. Now, if you’re anything like me, you might not be the most organized person (honestly, I live 98% of my life in utter disorder). Personally, I’m not a fan of lists and I don’t like spending a ton of time arranging anything. But, I knew I was applying to 15 schools and I knew I would miss a deadline or forget to submit a required document if I didn’t become organized and fast.

So here are my tips on the best and easiest ways to organize so that you can conquer the wild beast that is the MFA application.

1. Make a Spreadsheet:

Once you pick your list of schools, pop open a word document or excel spreadsheet and arrange your schools by application due date.

I included a lot of information in my spreadsheet like:

-Due date (obviously)

-Application fee (applying is pricey so it’s nice to keep track of your costs)

-GRE requirement (include the school GRE code if the school does require scores)

-Transcripts (how many are required and what form: hard copy or digital)

-Letter of recommendations (how many and how to submit them)

-Page limit for the writing sample (I was fiction, so this was in page numbers, but number of poems works too!)

-Other required documents (expository writing samples, personal statements, etc.)

Personally, I had an overall excel spreadsheet and then a word document with further information where I copied and pasted exact information from school’s websites. And BOOM, I had all the information I needed all in one place and I didn’t have to go hunting for it. This saved me a lot of time, because believe it or not, school’s websites sometimes are very disorganized and information is hidden all over the place. It’s like they expect us writers to be treasure hunters or something.

2. Make a Spreadsheet for your LOR Writers

This spreadsheet is pretty simple. Include school name, due date (I bolded this, just so it really jumped out), and exactly how to submit the letter. Some schools require letters to be emailed, while others require it be uploaded on the school’s applications. Others require a mailed hard copy, which brings me to my next point…

3. Mail a Packet for your LOR Writers

Even if you just have one school that requires a hard copy letter to be mailed, give your LOR writers a packet, because it’s really not nice to make them provide their own stamps/envelopes. I sent my LOR writers a manila envelope with pre-addressed, stamped envelopes and a short explanatory and thank you letter. Make sure you make the due dates very visible and specify if it’s a received by date or a postmarked by date. Also, make sure to email your LOR writers a few days before each deadline to (nicely) remind them.

3. Set Your Own Deadlines and Keep Them

You NEVER want to leave applications to the last minute. At least not if you don’t want to induce mind-numbing stress and possibly blow some hard earned cash. I  pretended all applications were due 15 days before their actual deadlines. This gave me a nice cushion, in case I realized the deadline was a received by date rather than a send by date, or found out that I had forgotten a certain document. And believe me, if you’re applying to a lot of schools (which a lot of applicants do) you probably will miss something. I knew so many people who were forced to overnight a needed document and that sure isn’t cheap.

I know you’re probably really busy, but seriously, don’t procrastinate on these applications. You don’t want to do that to yourself; MFA application season is already full of such doubt and anxiety that you really don’t want to make it worse.

I had a pretty smooth MFA application season with relatively minimal organization and effort. So just put some time in at the beginning to get your information straight and you should be fine!


by Michelle Donahue

MFA Application Process: What you Need and When you Need it

It can be really confusing to keep track of every school and what they want. So I created a list of schools and what they want. My suggestion would be to do the same with your specific school choices and highlight the parts that overlap. So if two schools want 10-15 pages of poetry, highlight those. Label each highlight 1, 2, 3, or 4. Then write each thing down on a piece of paper like this: Poetry Sample 1: Adelphi, Wichita State, Iowa. Poetry Sample 2: Syracuse, University of Delaware. Statement of Purpose 1: Wichita State, University of New Mexico etc. This way, when you go back to review your list, you can easily identify what every school needs and hopefully, many of those things will overlap. Adelphi University: Garden City, New York:  ROLLING ADMISSIONS

the following information is from the Adelphi University Admissions Website.

  • Essay/Personal Statement

"Tell us something about your writing life and what you hope to accomplish during the program. Tell us what you have read, are now reading and what you intend to read. Describe your current literary interests, your current or future challenges, and your literary goals. Please limit your essay to 1,000 words."

  • Writing  Sample

"Submit the manuscript only in the genre to which you are applying. Choose one of the following:

  • Poetry: 10–15 pages (approximately a dozen poems)
  • Fiction: maximum of 30 pages, double-spaced, which can consist of one or more stories or part of a novel
  • Dramatic Writing: maximum of 50 pages, double-spaced, which can consist of a monologue, a one-act play, or a scene from a full-length play or screenplay or television script. If an excerpt from a longer work is submitted, please include a one-paragraph description of the work as a whole."
  • Students must submit:
  • Completed application form
  • College transcript
  • Two letters of reference from people familiar with your writing
  • Personal statement
  • Manuscript in one genre only


Boston University: Deadline-- March 1st

The following information is from the Boston University Admissions Website

  • Essay/Personal Statement:

A personal statement (2-4 pages in length)

  • Writing Sample:

 Poetry- 1o poems

Fiction- no more than 40 double-spaced pages (stories are preferred)

  • Recommendations

  3 letters of recommendation

Recommenders can upload their letters online or send hard copies of their letters.

  • Transcripts

Transcripts from any college or university that you have previously attended (even if no degree was earned.)

  • GRE scores

Examination scores from the GRE General Test

Please send anything that must be mailed, including your transcripts and GRE scores, to:

Admissions Office Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Boston University 705 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 112 Boston, MA 02215


City University of Hong Kong: Deadline: March 31

This information was taken from the City University of Hong Kong's admission website.

  • Essay/Personal Statement


3-5 pages on the applicant's desire to be a writer & include a creative philosophy.

  • Writing Sample


Poetry- 10 pages

Non-fiction or fiction: 25 pages

  • Critical Essay

A critical essay of 3-5 pages on some aspect of writing craft.

  • Recommendations

2 letters of recommendation from writing teachers, editors, established writers, former professors in any academic discipline or professional associates who can attest to the candidate's written ability. E-mail letters directly to mfawriting@cityu.edu.hk with the candidate's name in the subject line.




When applying to multiple schools, I would suggest doing something like this for each one of them. Create one document with all of the information you need. Then create the list. Remember to number similar items. Once all of the items are numbered, you can start printing, sorting, and packaging.


It can be helpful to create envelopes for each school. Write the address on the front and then add a sticky note to each envelope with directions on what you need to put inside. For example, you could address the envelope to the City University of Hong Kong and then put "personal essay, critical essay, 2 letters of recommendations, and writing sample" on the sticky note. As you place each article in the envelope, cross it off the sticky note. This way, you will be able to keep track of everything.


If you have any suggestions feel free to email me at telltellpoetry@gmail.com