Criteria for Selection: Fellowships are awarded to the best application manuscripts. Other factors, such as an applicant’s biography or perceived, particular ability to benefit from the program, may be taken into account, but excellence of the manuscript is the primary over-riding criterion.
The jury disqualifies applicants it deems to be already emerged. Writers who have published a full-length book of creative work (or have a contract to publish a full-length creative work) are not eligible.
The FAWC seeks applicants from all backgrounds, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, marital status, ancestry, disability, or HIV status.
Composition of Juries: The Writing Commitee Chair, with the assistance of the Coordinator, and with the advice of Writing Committee members, selects, enlists, and instructs the eight members of the poetry jury and eight members of the fiction jury every year. Jurors are practicing, accomplished writers, including but not limited to Committee members and former Fellows. The Chair, the Coordinator, and the second-year writing Fellows typically serve on the jury in their disciplines.
First Round: In the first round of jurying, the manuscripts are anonymous. Only the manuscripts of applicants who have won the Fellowship in a previous year and declined it may be identified by name in this round. Each fiction manuscript is read by two jurors. Each poetry manuscript is read by two teams of two jurors each. Jury teams choose about fifteen percent of the original manuscript pool to hold into the second round.
Second Round: All eight members of each jury read all the second-round manuscripts. Juries meet in Provincetown and narrow the applicants to no fewer than ten finalists in each genre. Applicants’ files —including names, CVs, personal statements—are open to jurors at this meeting.
Third Round: One month later, juries meet again and select four Fellows and six alternates in each genre. Each of the ten places is decided by a separate round of voting.
Declarations of Acquaintance and Recusal Procedure: Preceding each jury meeting each juror makes a declaration of acquaintance as to any applicant under consideration known to him or her in any way whatever—casually or personally, as friend, blood relation, spouse, student, teacher, editor, publisher, contest judge or winner, any and all relations, past, present, anticipated, listed here or not.
The declaration does not disqualify or limit the juror’s advocacy, but acknowledges the smallness and interrelatedness of the world in which jurors work, and is intended to mitigate any appearance of favoritism, prejudice or unfairness in the decisions, and if possible to contribute to the collective pursuit of the ideal of objectivity. Personal knowledge of an applicant does not derogate a juror’s testimony as to the applicant’s merits.
The Chair and Coordinator, in consultation with the Committee, have also enacted procedures by which jurors recuse themselves in certain cases.
Specifically, jurors who determine that a very close personal relationship with an applicant presents either an actual conflict of interest or the appearance of one must recuse themselves from voting for that applicant at the final meeting. The voting tally is then weighted to compensate the applicant for the loss of a potential source of votes, so that the recusing juror neither helps nor harms the applicant at issue.
Second-year Fellows: One second-year Fellowship in poetry and one in fiction are awarded each year. Second-year Fellows are not privileged over first-year Fellows, except that the second-year Fellows are invited to sit on the first-year Fellowship jury that year in their disciplines.
All former writing Fellows who have not already won a second-year Fellowship are eligible to apply, regardless of their status as emerged or emerging writers. Second-year Fellows are chosen by a single judge in each genre. The judges are esteemed writers who are not day-to-day participants in Work Center business in Provincetown.