American Library in Paris Visiting Fellowship
This year’s application cycle (for fellowships in late 2021/early 2022) is now open, and will close on 1 April 2021.
Scroll down to learn more and to apply now.
The American Library in Paris Visiting Fellowship was created in 2013 to nurture and sustain cross-cultural intellectual discourse. International applicants are encouraged–you need not be American to apply.
The fellowship offers writers and researchers an opportunity to pursue a creative project in Paris for a month or longer while participating actively in the life of the American Library. Applicants should be working on a book project, fiction or non-fiction, or a feature-length documentary film, that contributes to cross-cultural discourse. We are not accepting poetry projects at this time.
Particular attention will be paid to an applicant’s ability to offer the Library community a variety of opportunities for exploring a topic. In addition to the stipend, the Library will connect the fellow to resources and people in Paris that could be helpful to his or her project. The fellowship is open to all nationalities, though the proposed project must be in English.
The fellowship is made possible through the generous support of the de Groot Foundation. There are two one-month fellowship periods a year in fall and spring, with dates to be specified later.
Fellowship award: a $5,000 stipend paid before start of fellowship period. The award, to be spent at the discretion of the Fellow, is designed to cover travel to Paris, accommodation, and expenses associated with the month in Paris.
Visiting Fellows are expected to:
- Be present in Paris during the period of the fellowship. *Please see the FAQ section below for our statement about potentially accepting virtual Fellows in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Be present in the American Library a minimum of three half-days a week.
- Present an hour-long evening program at the Library.
- Participate in a Library reception.
- Meet with staff informally to explore a topic of mutual interest.
- Extend the Library’s reach by participating in events arranged by the Library with other organizations in Paris.
- Provide the Library and the funding foundation with a written report of the fellowship experience.
- Appropriately acknowledge the Library and the Visiting Fellowship in publications and print media related to the fellowship project.
- Participate in the Library’s social media communication, fundraising campaigns, and other public events.
How to apply
We are now accepting Visiting Fellowship applications for residencies in late 2021/early 2022.
Apply now via the blue button below!
The application must be submitted via our official Visiting Fellowship form form below and include (submitted as a SINGLE file):
- Cover letter including a 100-word abstract of project envisioned for the fellowship.
- Brief biography or CV.
- Narrative description of project, specific outcomes and objectives for your fellowship time, resources and references you plan to consult (two pages maximum).
- The name and contact information of two professional references willing to discuss your project with us. We will only consult references for finalists.
- Application processing fee: €30. No application is complete without payment, though there is no penalty if received after the application deadline. You will be prompted to pay online upon submission of fellowship, using our secure credit card payment platform, PayBox. All payments will be processed in EUR.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will you consider offering a virtual Visiting Fellowship?
A: The short answer is yes. Your current geographic location and any related travel restrictions will not affect our review of your materials. We very much hope for travel to open up again in 2021 so that the selected Fellows might join us on site for a residency in either Fall 2021 or Spring 2022, but we are open to the possibility of offering a virtual Fellowship. We will work directly with the two selected Fellows to discuss options. Please note that we will only be able to answer specific questions regarding residential or virtual fellowships with successful applicants.
Q: I’m based in Paris (or France). Can I still apply?
A: Yes, we give equal weight to applications from creatives based in Paris or France and welcome applications from locals so long as they are for projects in English.
Q: Do I need to be a published author in order to be awarded the Visiting Fellowship?
A: Prior publications are not required, but our chosen Fellows tend to have one or more previous publications under their belt and often have a publishing contract secured for their next project.
Q: When will I hear back? Do you send out confirmations?
A: The deadline for applications is 1 April 2021. You can expect to hear back from us with a final decision before June 2021. And yes– we will confirm receipt of your application within a few days of submission.
Q: Can you give me advice about my application?
A: In the interest of fairness, we are unable to comment or advise potential applicants on their materials.
Q: Can I send additional materials or request that part of my application be swapped in or out after submission?
A: No. All submissions are final– we cannot swap or add materials to your application once it had been submitted. Please also note that we are unable to review supplemental materials.
Q: How many applications do you receive and how many Visiting Fellows will you accept?
A: We typically receive between 100 and 200 applications in our annual cycle and we award two Visiting Fellowships per year.
Q: Will you consider my application if I do not pay?
A: No– only applicants who have submitted the application fee will be considered for the Visiting Fellowship. We will inform you if we see a missing payment, but please plan to submit payment with your application in order to receive full consideration.
Q: What is the difference between your Visiting Fellowship and Writer-in-Residence programs?
A: We invite applications for the former, but not the latter. The latter are typically more senior or established authors whom we invite directly (without an application process). We do not consider proposals for Writers in Residence, whereas application is required for Visiting Fellows.
Q: What can I expect from the experience if I am awarded a Visiting Fellowship?
A: Here’s what our inaugural fellow Anthony Flint had to say about the Visiting Fellowship: “As much as I rely on the Internet, I’m a big fan of going places. As a reporter for The Boston Globe, I learned that there was a lot that could be accomplished on the telephone, on deadline, but that there was always something to be gained just by showing up at an event, bumping into people, observing things, or having unplanned conversations. A visiting fellowship at the American Library in Paris was an extraordinary opportunity, prima facie. It was made even more so by all these experiences, many of which I could not have planned. So while I cannot possibly express my gratitude sufficiently to the American Library in Paris, the board and staff, to the de Groots and the de Groot Foundation, I can say that it worked. I’m confident that future visiting fellows will have similar unscripted revelations. Who knows what might await. My advice to them would be as follows: just go.”
Q: My question isn’t answered above. Whom should I contact?
A: Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other questions.
2020-21 Fellows Annouced!
Our fellows from last year’s application cycle were Eula Biss and Matthieu Aikins. You can read more about them below.
Eula Biss (future fellow) is the author of four books, most recently Having and Being Had, which Cathy Park Hong calls “a revelatory and necessary primer on how late capitalism affects our daily lives.” Biss holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa and has been teaching writing at Northwestern University for fifteen years. Her book On Immunity was named one of the Ten Best Books of 2014 by the New York Times Book Reviewand Notes from No Man’s Land won the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism in 2009. Her work has been translated into over ten languages and has been recognized by a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, a Howard Foundation Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award, a 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library, and a Pushcart Prize. Her essays and poems have recently appeared in the New Yorker, the Guardian, the Times Literary Supplement, The Believer, Harper’s, and the New York Times Magazine.
Matthieu Aikins (future fellow) has reported from Afghanistan and the Middle East since 2008 for magazines such as the New Yorker, Harper’s, and GQ. He is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, and a winner of the Polk and Livingston awards. In Paris, he’ll work on his book about the global refugee crisis, to be published by Harper in 2021.
Mark Braude (2020) is the author of The Invisible Emperor: Napoleon on Elba From Exile to Escape and Making Monte Carlo: A History of Speculation and Spectacle. During his fellowship he will work on a book of narrative nonfiction about the French artist and model Kiki de Montparnasse, focusing on her professional and romantic entanglement with the American photographer Man Ray in 1920s Paris, to be published by W.W. Norton.
Rhae Lynn Barnes (summer 2019) is Assistant Professor of American Cultural History at Princeton University specializing in the globalization of American popular culture and racism. While at the American Library in Paris, Rhae Lynn will complete her first book, Darkology: When the American Dream Wore Blackface which maps the political, economic, and global cultural geography of amateur blackface minstrelsy and conduct research for a new edition of the Image of the Black in Western Art series. She is Executive Advisor with Henry Louis Gates Jr. to the four-part PBS documentary series “Reconstruction: America After the Civil War.” Rhae Lynn earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University and B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Molly Antopol (summer 2019) is the author The UnAmericans (W.W. Norton, 2014), a story collection that won the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Award, among other prizes. During her time in Paris, Antopol will work on her novel in progress, The After Party, which will also be published by Norton. This new novel explores issues of surveillance and privacy, making it deeply resonant in the current landscape.
Ian Leslie (spring 2019) is a journalist writing about the science of human behaviour, drawing on a wide range of interdisciplinary expertise. He is the author of Born Liars: Why We Can’t Live Without Deceit, and Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It. Ian is currently researching and writing a book on the topic of “productive disagreement”. We live in a world that features more argument, and more hostile conversations, than ever. Much of it takes place in an environment that is relatively new and the rules of engagement aren’t clear. What can we learn from scholars who have studied disagreement and from professionals who regularly have high-pressure, conflict-ridden conversations?
Hala Alyan (fall 2018) is the author of several poetry books and the novel Salt Houses. In Paris, she will be working on her novel in progress, The Arsonists’ City, about a family that unravels as its members come together to sell their ancestral home in Beirut. Alyan lives in New York, and is also a licensed psychologist.
Vanessa Manko (spring 2018) is the author of The Invention of Exile. She earned her MFA from Hunter College where she was the recipient of a Hertog Fellowship. Her work has appeared in Granta, the New York Times Magazine, the Barnes & Noble Review, and on NPR’s Selected Shorts. She has taught writing at Wesleyan University, New York University, and SUNY Purchase. She is at work on a novel called A Question of Illumination, inspired by the life of Loïe Fuller, the late 19th-century modern dancer in Paris.
James Verini (fall 2017) is a magazine journalist who has reported extensively from Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere. His reporting on the fall of ISIS in Iraq and the battle for Mosul in the New York Times Magazine and National Geographic, where he is a Contributing Writer, will be adapted into a book for WW Norton. He also writes for the New Yorker, the Atavist Magazine, and others.
Jacqueline Woodson (spring 2017) is an award-winning writer of books for children and young adults. She is best-known for Miracle’s Boys, which won the Coretta Scott King Award in 2001, and her Newbery Honor-winning titles Brown Girl Dreaming, After Tupac and D Foster, Feathers, and Show Way. For her lifetime contribution as a children’s writer, Woodson won the Margaret Edwards Award in 2005. She won the National Book Award in 2014 in the category of Young People’s Literature for Brown Girl Dreaming, and was nominated in Fiction for Another Brooklyn.
Anna Leahy and Doug Dechow (fall 2016) are co-authors of Generation Space: A Love Story, which they previewed during their joint fellowship. At Chapman University Leahy teaches in the MFA and BFA programs, and Doug is the Sciences, Digital Humanities, and English Librarian. They are the creators of the Lofty Ambitions blog, which covers science, aviation, and spaceflight. During their fellowship Anna led a poetry workshop, and Doug presented correspondence from The Center for American War Letters.
Megan Mayhew Bergman (spring 2016) is the Associate Director of the MFA program at Bennington College. During her fellowship she gave a talk about supporting women in the arts and conducted a creative writing workshop. She is the author of two collections of short stories–Almost Famous Women and Birds of a Lesser Paradise. She also authored an article for the New Yorker about Marlene Dietrich’s book collection in the American Library’s special collections.
Lan Samantha Chang (fall 2015) is a poet and author of a collection of short fiction, Hunger, and two novels, Inheritance and All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost. She directs the leading American MFA program in writing, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, at the University of Iowa. In addition to an evening program about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s revision process for The Great Gatsby, Chang led a four-part novel-writing workshop.
Susan Hiner (spring 2015) is a professor of French and francophone studies at Vassar. During her fellowship Hiner researched Behind the Seams: Women, Fashion, and Work in Nineteenth-Century France, which was the topic of her evening program. She is also the author of Accessories to Modernity: Fashion and the Feminine in Nineteenth-Century France.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (winter 2015) is a national correspondent at the Atlantic and author of The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood; Between the World and Me; and We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy. Though Coates’ fellowship was for a novel still in progress about an African American who moves from Chicago to Paris, he was still at work on the final draft of Between the World and Me during his time at the Library, which also coincided with the Charlie Hebdo attacks. The book has been heralded by Toni Morrison and President Obama and won the National Book Award. He gave his first public reading of the text at the Library. On another night, he spoke about his landmark article “The Case for Reparations” and conducted an event for teens about superheroes and comic books and their place in pop culture.
Alex Danchev (1955-2016) (fall 2014) was a professor of international relations at University of St Andrews. He was also the author of Cezanne: A Life (shortlisted for the 2013 Library Book award), a collection of essays On Art and War and Terror, as well as a work on René Magritte, the subject of his research during his fellowship. At the Library he spoke about Magritte and participated in a panel discussion about the state of global terrorism.
Anthony Flint (fall 2013) is a fellow and director of public affairs at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. He is the author of Modern Man: The Life of Le Corbusier, Architect of Tomorrow;Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York’s Master Builder and Transformed the American City; and This Land: The Battle over Sprawl and the Future of America. During his fellowship at the Library, he researched Le Corbusier, investigated structures designed by the renowned architect, and met people who knew him personally.