Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant

Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant

The 2017 call for applications has now concluded. Grant recipients will be announced this fall. The Foundation will begin accepting grants for the next cycle in the spring of 2018.


Application Guidelines

The 2017 call for applications has concluded. The below guidelines are for reference only.

All creative nonfiction writers under contract with a publisher and at least two years into their contract are encouraged to apply by May 1, 2017. Applicants must be US citizens or residents. Whiting welcomes submissions for works of history, cultural or political reportage, biography, memoir, the sciences, philosophy, criticism, food or travel writing, and personal essays, among other categories. Courtney Hodell, Director of Writers’ Programs at the Foundation, comments, “We’re looking for nonfiction that stirs us and makes us think; we want to encourage writers to take on the mapping of complex and nuanced ideas that can’t be explored in any other form, and to express these ideas with all the beauty and intensity they can muster. Such books will only become more crucial to the life of our culture in the years ahead.

Writers must submit the following materials:

•    The original proposal to publishers that led to the contract
•    Up to three sample chapters in their most current form
•    A statement of progress and the requirements for completion of the book (including a projected budget)
•    A signed and dated contract (please note that to be eligible, this must be dated on or prior to May 1st, 2015 – unfortunately, we can make no exceptions to this requirement)
•    A current resume
•    A list of grants, fellowships, or other funding received for the book
•    A letter of support from the book’s publisher or editor
•    Two additional letters of support (not to come from your agent)

Each project under submission will have two first-round readers who will evaluate for substance and execution. Fifteen finalists will be considered by a panel of four judges who will evaluate for content and for need, choosing as many as six grantees. Readers and judges will consist of experts in the field, and will serve anonymously to shield them from any external pressures. The grantees will be announced in the fall.

If you have any questions about the eligibility of your project, or the submission process, please contact the Whiting Foundation at nonfiction@whiting.org.

About the Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant

In recent years the literary industry has seen a boom in creative nonfiction from extraordinary writers who are perfecting and extending the form: Hope Jahren's Lab Girl, Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Gene, Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me, Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams, Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: A Lyric, and Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, to name just a few examples.  

Recognizing that the creation of such exemplary works of literature—springing from the realm of the imagination as well as from diligent research and reporting—requires a wealth of time and resources, the Whiting Foundation created the Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant, which awards $40,000 for works in progress to enable authors to complete their books. Its chief objective is to foster original, ambitious projects that bring writing to the highest possible standard. This grant is intended to support multiyear book projects requiring large amounts of deep and focused research, thinking, and writing at a crucial point mid-process, after significant work has been accomplished but where an extra infusion of support can make a difference in the ultimate shape and quality of the work. The winners of the inaugural round of the grant can be viewed here.