The Mark is a rigorous manuscript finishing school for Emerging Voices alumni. Each year the program offers two cycles, one for Fiction/Nonfiction and one for Poetry. Three to four applicants are chosen for each cycle. Project Defense, Mid-Project Review, and Final Review are all mandatory components of the program.
Visit the Mark Blog for an in-depth look at the program.
The next application period will open in the spring of 2014.
The Mark is seeking program applicants whose manuscripts are either completed or near completion.
Please note: Full manuscript will be required for faculty review before interview date.
Alan Watt is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and publisher. The 90-Day Novel, Watt’s nonfiction guide to writing, was published in 2010. His novel Diamond Dogs (Little, Brown) was a Los Angeles Times bestseller and was recognized in the New York Times list of “New and Notable Books.” Diamond Dogs has won numerous awards, including France’s 2004 Prix Printemps. Watt recently adapted Diamond Dogs for the French film company Quad. In 2002, Watt founded LA Writers’ Lab to help writers of all levels unlock the story within. His 90-Day Novel workshops in Los Angeles are now taught online to writers worldwide. Writers Tribe Books, his publishing venture, will release four works of literary fiction in the winter of 2012.
Anna Journey is the author of the collection, If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting (University of Georgia Press, 2009), selected by Thomas Lux for the National Poetry Series. Her poems are published in American Poetry Review, FIELD, Kenyon Review, and Shenandoah, and her essays appear in At Length, Blackbird, Notes on Contemporary Literature, Parnassus, and Plath Profiles. Journey holds a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Houston, and she currently teaches creative writing at the University of Southern California. She recently received a fellowship in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The application period for the next Fiction/Nonfiction cycle is now closed.
Mehnaz Turner was born in Pakistan and raised in Southern California. She holds degrees from the University of Arizona, The University of Texas at Austin, and UC Santa Barbara. She is a 2009 Emerging Voices Fellow in Poetry. Her short story, "The Alphabet Workbook," appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications such as The Journal of Pakistan Studies, The Pedestal Magazine, and An Anthology of California Poets. An English teacher, she lives in Southern California.
A note on the Poetry cycle: The Mark will not offer a Poetry cycle this year, as we are planning some exciting changes in that genre.
Elle Brooks, a Toronto native and Squaw Valley Community of Writers alum, has studied at UCI and UCLA Extension Writers' Programs. Her story, For As Long As I Live, appeared in San Diego CityBeat Fiction 101 contest in 2011. Elle is the host of "Wake Up & Write!" in San Diego, where she lives with her husband.
Ramona Ausubel’s novel, No One is Here Except All of Us, was published by Riverhead Books in 2012. It was a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice and was named a Best Book of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle and the Huffington Post. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review Daily, One Story, and The Best American Fantasy and shortlisted in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Non-Required Reading. Ausubel’s short-story collection, A Guide to Being Born, will be published by Riverhead in 2013.
Cecil Castellucci is the author of books and graphic novels for young adults including The Year of the Beasts, Boy Proof, The Plain Janes, and First Day on Earth. She is the YA editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books and Children’s Correspondence Coordinator for The Rumpus. For more information, go to www.misscecil.com
Meghan Daum has been an opinion columnist at The Los Angeles Times since 2005. She has written for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, Harper's, and Vogue, and is the author of three books, most recently the memoir Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House.
Ben Loory's fables and tales have appeared in The New Yorker, on NPR's This American Life, and have been presented live at Selected Shorts. His book, Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day (Penguin, 2011), was selected by the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Program and won the Nobbie Award for Best Book of the Year. He is currently working on a picture book for children to be published by Dial Books for Young Readers.
Harryette Mullen is the author of several poetry collections including Recyclopedia, winner of a PEN Beyond Margins Award, and Sleeping with the Dictionary, a finalist for a National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her poems have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Polish, German, Swedish, Danish, Turkish, and Bulgarian. She teaches American poetry, African American literature, and creative writing at UCLA. A collection of her essays and interviews, The Cracks Between What We Are and What We Are Supposed to Be, was published by University of Alabama Press in 2012. Her Tanka Diary is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2013.
Widely known for his award-winning 1986 memoir Iron and Silk and for his starring role in the film of the same name, Mark Salzman is the author of three other memoirs: The Man In The Empty Boat, Lost in Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia, and True Notebooks. He is also the author of three novels, The Laughing Sutra, The Soloist, and Lying Awake. A formerly devoted cellist, Salzman played on the soundtrack to several films and performed with Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emanuel Ax at Lincoln Center.
People ineligible for the Emerging Voices program:
Emerging Voices is a rigorous fellowship program based in Los Angeles with weekly meetings and an intense reading and writing schedule. Participants should be willing and able to make an enthusiastic commitment to the program and to their involvement as members of a group. If you are not a resident of Los Angeles and you are awarded the fellowship you will need to relocate for the eight-month program. Housing is not provided.
If offered a place in the fellowship, you may not defer acceptance for another year. If you are not awarded a fellowship, we encourage you to reapply if interested.
MENTORS: Mentors are carefully chosen from PEN’s membership of professional writers based on shared writing interests with each fellow. The mentor-fellow relationship is expected to challenge the fellow's work and compel significant creative progress. Over the course of the program, EVs and mentors should meet three times in person, and be in contact at least once a month. In these meetings, mentors will offer feedback on the EV fellows’ work in progress.
UCLA EXTENSION WRITERS’ PROGRAM: Participants will attend two free courses at UCLA Extension, donated by the Writers’ Program. Program and PEN staff will assist EV fellows with course selection. Fellows will also have access to the UCLA libraries.
AUTHOR EVENINGS: A schedule of Q & A evenings with prominent authors, poets, editors, agents, and publishers will be distributed at the first EV orientation meeting. Fellows must read each visiting author's book before the evening.
MASTER CLASSES: After completing the UCLA Extension courses, EV fellows will enroll in a PEN master class. The master class is a four-session, genre-specific workshop with a professional writer that affords fellows the opportunity to exchange feedback on their works in progress.
VOLUNTEER PROJECT: All fellows are expected to complete a 25-hour volunteer project that is relevant to the literary community.
VOICE CLASS: The fellowship will provide a one-day workshop with a professional voice actor. The EV fellows will read their work in a recording studio and receive instruction on reading their work publicly.
FINAL READING: The program culminates in a public reading to showcase the progress each fellow has made in his or her work.
SPECIAL EVENTS: PEN Center USA provides complimentary admission to select events throughout the fellowship.
The Emerging Voices Fellowship originated as a mentorship project. The project grew out of PEN Center USA’s forum “Writing the Immigrant Experience,” held at the Los Angeles Central Library in March 1994, which explored the issues and challenges faced by first and second generation immigrant writers. It was evident from the forum that many of the culturally diverse communities of writers in Southern California were often isolated from the literary establishment. In the fall of 1995, PEN Center USA initiated Emerging Voices as a literary mentorship program designed to launch potential professional writers from minority, immigrant and other underrepresented communities. The program has now evolved into an eight-month writing fellowship for writers who lack access to a traditional writing education and seek financial and creative support.
The Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation was established in 1948 by my parents, a young businessman and his fashion-editor wife, who clearly had a great deal of confidence in their eventual financial success as well as a genuine desire to contribute to the world outside themselves. As my father formulated it in the beginning, “Individuals fortunate enough to receive unusual benefits from a society have the distinct obligation to return meaningful, tangible support to that society—in the form of creative energy as well as funding.”
What this has meant over the years is a pattern of rewarding excellence and accomplishment by giving awards in the fields of medicine, art and literature. In the last several decades, as the younger generation has begun to have more of a say, the goal has modulated into an emphasis on more directly encouraging excellence and accomplishment—by funding programs as well as awards, thus concentrating on setting up structures for achievement, and utilizing the multiplier effect.
– Jamie Wolf
I write screenplays/graphic novels/children's books. Am I eligible?
The accepted genres for the Emerging Voices Fellowship are fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. All classes, mentors, and programming for the fellowship are based on one of these three genres. Many alumni have gone on to pursue careers in graphic novels, performance art, and screenwriting, but concentrated on either prose or poetry for the duration of the fellowship.
Emerging Voices Alumni, totaling 119 writers to date, continue to make their mark in the literary world. Below is a sampling of where their work has appeared, honors they have received, and events/venues where they have read or had their work performed.
PEN Center USA is proud to announce the release of Strange Cargo, an Emerging Voices Anthology. This book includes stories, poems and nonfiction pieces by Emerging Voices Fellows from 1997 to 2010, and a foreword by Janet Fitch.
On September 12 at Skylight Books, we released Strange Cargo, an Emerging Voices Anthology, PEN USA's first collection of stories, poems and nonfiction pieces by EV Fellows from 1997 to 2010.