2017 Fishtrap Fellowship Program

FellowFishtrap is pleased to announce three Fellowships for the 2017 Summer Fishtrap Gathering held July 10-16 at Wallowa Lake, Oregon.

Fishtrap Fellowships recognize and encourage writers who show promise at an early stage in their career. The primary benefit of this award is an opportunity to attend the 30th Summer Fishtrap Gathering. In addition, Fellows receive advance workshop registration, a featured reading during a Summer Fishtrap program, and their work distributed to Fishtrap faculty. Fellows are also highlighted in Fishtrap promotional materials, press releases, and on the Fishtrap website.

A Fishtrap Fellowship covers the cost of the seven-day retreat including a five-day writing workshop, readings, activities, panel discussions, and open mics. Fishtrap Fellows receive meals and lodging for the week, and a $150 travel stipend. A Fishtrap Fellowship is valued at more than $1200. But more than that, it is an opportunity for emerging writers to build new friendships and a renewed sense of creative potential in an atmosphere of mentorship and community.

 Application Process

 Applications are accepted November 15 through December 15, 2016 (11:59 pm PST). Submissions must be provided as TWO (2) PDF documents with the following elements for consideration. There is a $25 fee for submission.

PDF #1 – Cover Letter and Résumé (two pages total)AlyssaMaya
Please title your PDF file as follows:
Last Name_First Name_Fellowship App (ex: Dove_Rita_Fellowship App)

  • One-Page Cover Letter
    • At the top of your letter be sure to include the following: your name, contact information, genre for which you are applying, and the title(s) of your writing sample(s).
    • In this cover letter, you should explain: why you are a good fit for the Fellowship program; how you and/or your work lines up with the mission of Fishtrap as a whole; your history with writing; and how this Fellowship creates a new opportunity for you at this juncture in your writing life.
  • One-Page Résumé or CV

PDF #2 – Writing Sample
Please title your PDF file as follows:
Genre_Fellowship_Writing Sample (ex: Poetry_Fellowship_Writing Sample)

  • Do not exceed 5 pages of poetry or 1,500 words of prose.
  • Please DO NOT include your name or contact information on this document (all submissions will be judged blindly).
  • IMPORTANT: Please format your materials as .PDF files. Applications submitted in any other format WILL NOT be considered.

Judging Process and Eligibility

Fishtrap Fellowships support emerging writers whose work shows promise of excellence. Applicants can be of any age, but must be in the early stages of their careers as writers and will not have had the support needed to achieve major recognition for their work. We define “emerging writer” as someone who has not yet published a book by a literary publisher, and who is also not currently under contract to a publisher for a book. Eligible applicants may have been published in magazines, and in print or online literary journals, but this is not a requirement.

Selection is based primarily on a writing submission in the genre of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. In keeping with Fishtrap’s mission, “To promote good writing and clear thinking in and about the West,” applicants should live in the West or write about the West. Your cover letter and résumé will help us make that determination.

Applications are screened for completeness and eligibility, and then are reviewed by preliminary judges comprised of former Fishtrap Fellows who select 3-5 finalists from each genre. Finalists are then forwarded to the final judge who selects the 2017 Fishtrap Fellows.

Notifications for the 2017 Fellowship awards will arrive by January 30, 2017.


In return for a Fishtrap Fellowship award, we ask recipients to fully engage in the entire 2016 Summer Fishtrap program, enroll in a writing workshop, give a reading of their work, stay in the provided on-site housing, eat meals at the community-style cafeteria with other participants, and attend readings and panel discussions throughout the week.

In addition, we ask that Fellows list their Fishtrap Fellowship award on their CVs and promotional materials, in print, and on the web whenever possible.


2017 Fellows Judge – Joe Wilkins

Joe Wilkins is the author of a memoir, The Mountain and the Fathers: Wilkins, JoeGrowing up on the Big Dry, which won the 2014 GLCA New Writers Award, and two full-length poetry collections, Notes from the Journey Westward, Killing the Murnion Dogs, and When We Were Birds.

Wilkins is a Pushcart Prize winner, National Magazine Award finalist, and his essays, poems, and stories have appeared in The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, Harvard Review, The Sun, Orion, and Slate, among other publications. As the winner of the Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency from PEN Northwest, Wilkins and his family spent the summer of 2015 living in a remote cabin along the Rogue River in the Klamath Mountains. Wilkins serves as the Nonfiction Editor at The High Desert Journal and teaches writing at Lindfield College. Joe has a close connection to Fishtrap. He was awarded a Fishtrap Fellowship in 2004 and returned in 2016 to teach at Summer Fishtrap. He lives with his wife, son, and daughter in McMinnville, Oregon.

Fishtrap Fellowship History

More than 100 Fellowships have been awarded since 1990, and many Fellows have gone on to important publication and full-time careers as writers and teachers. Previous Fishtrap Fellows include novelists Natalie Serber, Eliot Treichel, and Robert Stubblefield; poets Charles Goodrich, Marilyn Johnston, and Angela Peñaredondo; short fiction writers Kelly Mager, Kelly Luce, and Geronimo Tagatac; and non-fiction writers Joe Wilkins, Ceiridwen Terrill and Christine Colasurdo.

Past Fellows

1993: William Johnson, Bill Joseph, David Koehn, Laura Lee Newman, Lola Ready

1994: Bette Husted, Brenda Jaeger, Kate Joost, Evelyn Sharenov, Kelly Sievers

1995: Molly Cook, Leigh Hancock, Cathy Jontos-Putnam, Linda Leslie, Colleen Birch Maile

1996: Charles Goodrich, David Halpern, David Reimer, Rachel Hoffman, Leslie Ovard

1997: Toni Kennedy, Pam Steele, Eric Ottem, Ellie Mathews, Lisa Norris

1998: Maurine Barnett, Scott Sadil, Ellen Waterston, Geri Digiorno, Pat Cason

1999: John Sangster, Vicente Guzman-Orozco, Jennifer Kocher, Suze Burns, Eileen Thiel

2000: Mary Tanguay Webb, Burky Achilles, Ann Nelson, Geronimo Tagatac, Kamala Bremer

2001: Kurt Caswell, M.E. Hope, Marily Johnston, Steven Krolak, Ann Selby

2002: Patsy Kullberg, Marj Casswell, Dean Metcalf, Merna Ann Hect, David Drury

2003: Kristen Wares, John Moreland, Doug Miller, Jennifer Glick, Wayne Harrison

2004: Abigail Keller, Coy King, Eden Kruger, Dick Cass, and Joe Wilkins

2005: Kelly Magee, Michael Schiavone, Jeff Stautz; Michael FitzGerald, Deborah Bernhardt

2006: Kristine Anderson, Tom Boswell, Robert Drummond, Eric Shaffer, Gail Wells

2007: Wendy Call, Henrietta Goodman, Natalie Serber

2008: Judith Groudine Finkel, Lorraine Healy, Beverly Akerman, Anna Ross, Jennifer D. Munro

2009: Rebecca Yarrow, Jonathan Harnum, Kelly Luce, Jay Schroder, Ceiridwen Terrill

2010: Christine Colasurdo, Dave Jarecki, Christina Robertson, Rob Williams, William W. Wright.

2011: Drew Myron, Patricia Bailey, Angela Penaredondo, Nicole Cullen, Luke Johnson

2012: Kim Gratz, Irene Skyriver, John Walker

2013: Jose Alcantara, Rachel Khong, Nathan Slinker, Kelly Wallace

2014: Chelsea Jennings, Alex Carr Johnson, Eliot Treichel

2015: Jayme Ringleb, Jennifer Springsteen, Naomi Telushkin – Bob Taylor: U of MT Undergraduate Fellow

2016: Christina deVillier, Samantha Kim Rogers, Erica Watson – Kaley Shoemaker:U of MT Undergraduate Fellow