Jack Jones at Blue Sky Retreat
Jack Jones Literary Arts is hosting its second annual writing retreat at Blue Sky Retreat, Taos, New Mexico. This two-week retreat will be held October 13- 27, 2018, and is open exclusively to women of color. Jenna Wortham joins us as our 2018 Writer-in-Residence.
As part of the retreat experience, Jack Jones is featuring daily Skype master classes with agents, editors and acclaimed women in publishing to promote networking, learning and engagement. These sessions are mandatory for retreat participants.
Housing includes individual writing suites with private bedroom, private baths, communal fireplaces, writing areas, wifi, and all meals are provided.
Professional and emerging women writers of color at work on book projects are eligible for residencies. Women with and without MFAs are eligible, and graduate students who are currently enrolled in a degree program are now eligible to apply for a fellowship. Unfortunately, the Blue Sky Retreat grounds do not support wheelchairs or walkers. We are making every effort to secure a location for 2019 that is both cost-effective and accessible.
To apply to the Jack Jones Literary Arts writing retreat, please fill out our online application. The application includes a project proposal, a reference and the writing sample. The non-refundable application processing fee is $35 and can be paid by PayPal, debit or credit card. If you have any questions concerning the residency, please consult our FAQs. Please do not call our offices regarding the retreat. Your call will not be returned.
We are pleased to offer seventeen fully-funded scholarship opportunities. All reference letters need to be submitted by the application deadline. For fellowships that require income verification, you will need to provide your tax documentation once you are a finalist. No tax documentation is necessary if you do not make it to the final round. Please read the eligibility guidelines carefully. The application deadline is Sunday April 1, 2018 midnight/PST and recommendation letters need to be received by April 15, 2018 midnight/PST. Acceptance notifications will be mailed out through June 1, 2018.
Arrival at the retreat is Saturday, October 13, 2018 and departure is Saturday October 27, 2018.
The 2018 application cycle is closed.
The Roxane Gay Fellowships
We are grateful to Roxane Gay, author of Not that Bad, How to be Heard, Difficult Women, Hunger, Bad Feminist, An Untamed State and Ayiti for fully funding these opportunities.
Fellowship one covers the full retreat attendance rate for a woman of color writing fiction. This fellowship includes a $500 travel reimbursement.
Fellowship two covers the full retreat attendance rate for a woman of color writing nonfiction. This fellowship includes a $500 travel reimbursement.
Fellowship three covers the full retreat attendance rate for a woman of color with financial need writing prose. This fellowship includes a $500 travel reimbursement. For the purposes of this application, financial need is defined as earning $40,000 or less for the previous tax year. Need will be demonstrated at the finalist round.
Fellowship four covers the full retreat attendance rate for a woman of color with financial need writing poetry. This fellowship includes a $500 travel reimbursement. For the purposes of this application, financial need is defined as earning $40,000 or less for the previous tax year. Need will be demonstrated at the finalist round.
The Yi Dae Up Fellowships
We are grateful to novelist Alexander Chee, author of Edinburgh and Queen of the Night, for fully funding these opportunities. Alexander has named this scholarship in memory of his late grandmother, Yi Dae Up, who began practicing the art of Chinese calligraphy in middle age after raising seven children, deferring her practice for marriage and family, and then going on to win national prizes for her art." This fellowship is open to women writers of Asian American descent, and Asian immigrant women writers, writing prose, and with the intention of encouraging older women to apply but not limited to them. Two awards will be granted: one in nonfiction and one in fiction.
These fellowships covers the full retreat attendance rate and include a $500 travel stipend.
The Writers of Immigration and Diaspora Fellowship
We are grateful to novelist Yoojin Grace Wuertz, author of Everything Belongs to Us, for fully funding this opportunity.
This fellowship covers the full retreat attendance rate and includes a $500 travel stipend for a woman of color writing fiction who is an immigrant or child of immigrants.
The Julia de Burgos Fellowship
We are grateful to poets Eduardo Corral, author of Slow Lightning, and Rigoberto Gonzalez, author of Butterfly Boy and other titles, for fully funding this opportunity. Thank you to Julie Turshen, author of Feed the Resistance, for donating travel.
This fellowship covers the full retreat attendance rate and includes a $500 travel stipend for a Latina poet.
The Arab Women/Migrants from the Middle East Fellowship
We are grateful to 2017 Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat fellow Mona Chalabi and Kate Spencer and Doree Shafrir of Forever35 Podcast for fully funding this opportunity. Many thanks to Ellen Hagan, author of Hemisphere for donating travel.
This fellowship covers the full retreat attendance rate for an Arab woman/ woman of the Middle East writing prose. This fellowship includes a $500 travel stipend.
The Glendora Dunbar Fellowship
We are grateful to novelist Angela Flournoy, author of The Turner House, for fully funding this opportunity, and to friend and literary advocate Dwayne Betts, author of Bastards of the Reagan Era and numerous other titles, for providing a $500 travel stipend. Angela has named this scholarship in memory of her late grandmother.
This fellowship covers the full retreat attendance rate for an African American woman writing fiction and includes a $500 travel stipend.
The Audre Lorde Fellowship
We are grateful to an anonymous donor for fully funding this opportunity because of the impact Lorde's The Cancer Journals had on his life and work. This fellowship includes a travel stipend donated by novelist Lauren Francis-Sharma, author of 'Til the Well Runs Dry.
This fellowship covers the full retreat attendance rate for a black woman writer 30 or over writing poetry and includes a $500 travel stipend.
The Sylvia Rivera Fellowship
We are grateful to 2017 Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat fellow Meredith Ramirez Talusan, Executive Editor of them, for fully funding this opportunity. This fellowship does not include a travel stipend.
This fellowship covers the full retreat attendance rate for a trans woman of color writing prose. This fellowship does not include a travel stipend.
The Octavia Butler Fellowship for a Genre Writer
We are grateful to Olivia A. Cole, author of A Conspiracy of Stars and the Panther in the Hive series, for fully funding this opportunity. This fellowship includes a $500 travel stipend donated by friend and client Rion Amilcar Scott, author of Insurrections.
This fellowship covers the full retreat attendance rate for a woman of color prose writer working in speculative, scifi, horror or mystery. This fellowship includes a $500 travel stipend.
The Natalie Diaz Fellowship for a Native/Indigenous Writer
Thank you to Natalie Diaz, author of When My Brother Was an Aztec, for fully funding this opportunity. This fellowship includes a travel stipend donated by 2017 Jack Jones Literary Arts retreat fellow Conley Lyons.
This fellowship covers the full retreat attendance rate for a Native/Indigenous woman writer working in any genre and includes a $500 travel stipend.
The Petra Mattos Ramos Fellowship for an Afro Latina Prose Writer
Jaquira Diaz fully funded this opportunity in honor of her late grandmother. This fellowship includes travel thanks to an anonymous donor.
This fellowship covers the full retreat attendance rate for an Afro Latina prose writer and includes a $500 travel stipend.
The Jack Jones Literary Arts Fellowship for an Undocumented Poet
Jack Jones Literary Arts fully -funded this opportunity. We are grateful to poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of Oceanic and other titles, for providing travel.
This fellowship covers the full retreat attendance rate for an undocumented woman of color poet. This fellowship includes a $500 travel stipend.
Black Daughter of the American South Fellowship
Jack Jones Literary Arts fully funded this opportunity. A special thank you to novelist Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage, for donating travel.
This fellowship covers the full retreat attendance rate for a black woman prose writer from the South, or whose work centers the American South. Quoting our friends at Oxford American, we are looking for a writing that "documents the complexity and vitality of the American South." This fellowship includes a $500 travel stipend.
A very special thank you to the Freya Project for donating two travel stipends to the 2018 Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat.
A very special thank you to 2017 Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat fellow Larissa Pham whose donation covers a travel stipend for an Asian, Asian American or first generation immigrant. Thank you again, Larissa.
A very special thank you to Tanwi Nandini Islam of Hi Wildflower for donating fleurs lip balms to all of our 2018 fellows. Thank you again, Tanwi.
Thank you to Birds of Lace for donating two application fees to the 2018 cycle.
Thank you to friend R.A. Villanueva, author of Reliquaria, for donating two application fees to the 2018 cycle. Thank you again, Ron.
Thank you to an anonymous friend for donating a $500 stipend to an attending mother to help with childcare while she is away at the retreat.
A very special thank you to an anonymous friend for donating two application fees to the 2018 cycle.
Thank you to L'Oreal Thompson Payton for donating an application fee to the 2018 cycle.
Thank you to friend Hanif Abdurraqib, author of They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, for donating ten application fees to the 2018 cycle. Thank you again, Hanif.
Thank you to friend Kimberly Drew for donating ten application fees to the 2018 cycle. Thank you again, Kimberly.
Thank you to friend Nicole Cliffe for donating ten application fees to the 2018 cycle. Thank you again, Nicole.
Thank you to friend Eva Recinos for donating two application fees to the 2018 cycle. Thank you again, Eva.
Thank you to Emma Straub and Books Are Magic for donating two $50 Books Are Magic gift cards to two lucky 2018 fellows toward furthering their book project research! Thank you, Emma!
Thank you to an anonymous friend for donating five application fees to the 2018 cycle.
Thank you to Julia Fierro and Sackett Street Writers' Workshop for donating one course to a 2018 fellow to continue her manuscript work.
These conversations were designed to set the tone of our retreat experience. After we are settled in the first night, these master class teachers will motivate us to bring our best selves to the work we're embarking on over the next two weeks.
Alexis Okeowo joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2015. She is the author of A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa. Her work has also been anthologized in The Best American Sports Writing (2017) and The Best American Travel Writing (2017). She has been awarded fellowships and grants from New America, the Alicia Patterson Foundation, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and the International Reporting Project. She has previously contributed to the New York Times Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the Financial Times.
Doreen St. Félix is a staff writer at The New Yorker. Previously, she was a culture writer at MTV News and an editor-at-large at Lenny. Her writing has appeared in the Times Magazine, New York, Vogue, The Fader, and Pitchfork.
Terese Marie Mailhot graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts with an MFA in fiction. Mailhot’s work has appeared in The Rumpus, the Los Angeles Times, Carve Magazine, The Offing, The Toast, Yellow Medicine Review, and elsewhere. The recipient of several fellowships―SWAIA Discovery Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, Writing by Writers Fellowship, and the Elk Writer’s Workshop Fellowship―she was recently named the Tecumseh Postdoctoral Fellow at Purdue University and resides in West Lafayette, Indiana. Her debut memoir, Heart Berries, is available now from Counterpoint Press.
Professional Development Track
This series of master classes was designed to address our questions around securing an agent, taking a book to auction, the job of an acquisitions editor, the editorial process and hiring a publicist. Here, we have the nuts and bolts money talks.
Tracy Sherrod is the editorial director of Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Her most recent titles include National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn, NAACP Image Award winner Dick Gregory’s Defining Moments in Black History, Jenifer Lewis’ The Mother of Black Hollywood, and forthcoming titles by Zora Neale Hurston and Paul Beatty. The imprint publishes Steve Harvey, Ursula Burns, Ben Crump, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Timbaland, and other esteemed writers and personalities. Tracy will discuss her storied career as an editor.
Monika Woods is a literary agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. She is a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course and has worked at Trident Media Group and InkWell Management, where she worked closely with leading voices in contemporary literature. Her interests include literary and commercial fiction and compelling non-fiction in food, popular culture, journalism, science, and current affairs. Monika is particularly excited about plot-driven literary novels, non-fiction that is creatively critical, unique perspectives, a great cookbook, and above all, original prose. Monika will discuss her work as an agent, the kinds of queries and writing that most interest her and what it means to take a book to auction.
Kelly Forsythe is the former Director of Publicity for Copper Canyon Press, the largest independent nonprofit poetry publisher in the U.S. Her publicity endeavors at Copper Canyon include Natalie Diaz’s When My Brother Was an Aztec, Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky with Exit Wounds, and Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda. She is on the Board of Directors for the C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference, and the author of Perennial, forthcoming from Coffee House Press in 2018. Kelly is now the Communications Manager, on the Global Communications team for National Geographic. Kelly will discuss the business of publicizing and marketing poetry collections.
Ayesha Pande has worked in the publishing industry for over twenty years. Before launching her boutique agency, Ayesha was a senior editor at Farrar Straus & Giroux. She has also held editorial positions at HarperCollins and Crown Publishers. As an agent, she has helped launch the careers of PEN-Bingham Prize winner Danielle Evans, National Book Award Winner Ibram X. Kendi, international bestseller Shilpi Somaya Gowda, and YA author Sheba Karim. Her interests are wide-ranging and include literary as well as popular fiction, young adult, women’s, African-American and international fiction. She is also seeking authors of nonfiction, including biography, history, economics, popular culture, cultural commentary, memoir, and graphic novels. She is particularly drawn to distinctive, original and underrepresented voices. Ayesha will discuss her work as an agent and the process of choosing the projects she acquires.
Kathryn Belden joined the staff at Scribner in 2015. She is interested in the breadth of the American experience, which she pursues through fiction and nonfiction acquisitions. Her engagement with all books begins with voice. General categories in which she works include literary fiction, social and cultural history, race and gender, nature and environment, as well as memoir and biography. Some of the writers she has worked with include Roz Chast, Mitchell S. Jackson, Andrew Krivak, Gordon Lish, Lisa See, Jesmyn Ward, and John Edgar Wideman, among many others. Previously she worked at Bloomsbury, Four Walls Eight Windows, and Harmony Books/Crown Publishers. Kathryn will discuss her work as an acquisitions editor.
Jin Auh (not pictured) is a literary agent at The Wylie Agency and serves on the board of the AAWW. Jin will discuss her work as an agent and the process of choosing the projects she acquires.
Life of the Writer Track
This series of master classes focuses on the everyday realities of being a woman of color writer and takes a granular look at topics that range from platform building to the journey of debut novelists.
Elizabeth Acevedo holds a BA in Performing Arts from The George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. With over twelve years of performance experience, Acevedo has been a featured performer on BET and Mun2, as well as delivered several TED Talks. She is the author of the chapbook, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes Books, 2016) and the forthcoming novel, The Poet X (HarperCollins, 2018). Elizabeth will discuss finding a balance working in two genres while building an audience and promoting a first book.
Alexandra Elle is an author and creative living in the Washington, DC metro area with her husband and two daughters. In her pre-teen years, writing came into her life by way of therapy and the exploration of healing. Many years later, Alex's voice and words are being shared poetically in the form of self-love and self-care. Her passion for storytelling, poetry, and narrative writing are infused with life lessons, self-celebration, and building community through reading, writing, and language. Alexandra Elle will discuss social media growth and audience engagement.
Durga Chew-Bose is a Montreal-born writer. Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, Hazlitt, Filmmaker, The New Inquiry, and The Guardian, among other publications. She is the author of Too Much and Not the Mood. Durga will discuss journalistic ethics, advocacy and the intersections of reportage and creative nonfiction.
Fariha Roisin has written for IndieWIRE, Filmmaker Magazine, QuipMag and the Film Society of Lincoln Centre. She mainly writes film and culture criticism and has a podcast called "Two Brown Girls" where she discusses sexism and race and their respective implications on popular culture. Fariha will discuss the complexities of being a writer and podcaster.
Meredith Talusan is a contributing editor at Mic and has written essays and investigative pieces for The Guardian, The Atlantic, VICE Magazine, Matter, BuzzFeed, The American Prospect, The New Inquiry and many other publications. She divides her time between New York and the Philippines. She is the Executive editor of them. Meredith will discuss balancing a writing career with a full-time media job.
Erika L. Sánchez is a poet and writer. She is the author of poetry collection Lessons on Expulsion and a young adult novel I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, a 2017 finalist for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Erika will discuss the publishing journey of a debut author.
This series of craft talks is designed to enrich our individual writing projects and deepen our understanding of mechanics while fostering a discussion around aesthetic choices and creative freedoms.
Jade Chang has covered arts and culture as a journalist and editor. She is the recipient of a Sundance Fellowship for Arts Journalism, the AIGA/Winterhouse Award for Design Criticism, and the James D. Houston Memorial scholarship from the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. The Wangs vs. the World is her debut novel. Jade is delivering a fiction craft talk.
Kaitlyn Greenidge's debut novel, We Love You, Charlie Freeman (Algonquin Books), was one of the New York Times Critics' Top 10 Books of 2016 and was a finalist for the Center For Fiction's First Novel Prize, the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award and winner of the Forward Fiction Prize. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times,The Wall Street Journal, Elle.com, Buzzfeed, the Believer, Glamour Magazine and other places. She is a contributing editor for LENNY Letter and a recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Literature and a 2016 Whiting Award. She is currently Visiting Writer in Syracuse University's Creative Writing Program and teaches in Bennington College's MFA Program. Kaitlyn is delivering a non-fiction craft talk.
Alice Sola Kim is a winner of the 2016 Whiting Award. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in places such as Tin House, The Village Voice, McSweeney's, Lenny, BuzzFeed Books, and The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy. She has received grants and scholarships from the MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Elizabeth George Foundation. Alice Sola Kim is delivering a fiction craft talk.
Nafissa Thompson-Spires earned a PhD in English from Vanderbilt University and an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). She is the author of the short story collection Heads of the Colored People (forthcoming 2018 with Atria/ 37 Ink in the United States and with Chatto and Windus in the UK) and has a novel under contract with the same publishers. She currently works as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at UIUC and is an alumna of Callaloo, Tin House, and a 2017 Stanley Elkin Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Nafissa is delivering a fiction craft talk.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil is professor of English in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program. Her newest collection of poems, Oceanic, is forthcoming with Copper Canyon Press in April 2018. She is also the author of the forthcoming book of illustrated nature essays, World of Wonder (2019, Milkweed), and three previous poetry collections: Lucky Fish (2011), At the Drive-in Volcano (2007), and Miracle Fruit (2003)–all from Tupelo Press. Her most recent chapbook is Lace & Pyrite, a collaboration of nature poems with the poet Ross Gay. Aimee is delivering a poetry craft talk.
This conversation series is designed to uplift and inspire us through intimate conversations with our most revered and decorated contemporary writers.
Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Timesbestselling Bad Feminist, the nationally bestselling Difficult Women and the New York Times bestselling Hunger. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She has several books forthcoming and is also at work on television and film projects.
Achy Obejas is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Ruins, Days of Awe, and three other books of fiction. She edited and translated (into English) the anthology Havana Noir, and has since translated Junot Díaz, Rita Indiana, Wendy Guerra, and many others. In 2014, she was awarded a USA Ford Fellowship for her writing and translation. She currently serves as the Director of the MFA in Translation program at Mills College in Oakland, California.
Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2012. Diaz’s work has also appeared in Narrative Magazine, Gwarlingo, The Rumpus, and Ploughshares. Her poetry has has garnered the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from Bread Loaf, the Narrative Poetry Prize, the Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton University, a US Artists Ford Fellowship, a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellowship, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. Her poems, folding Spanish and Mojave into American English, yield an urgent and important new voice to the cannon of contemporary Native American poetry.
Jack Jones at Blue Sky Retreat Staff
The 2018 application cycle is closed. Good luck to everyone. Notifications will go out through June 1. Please read the FAQs before emailing us with your question.
Another huge congratulations to our 2017 Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat Fellows: Robin Beck, Destiny O. Birdsong, Morgan Mann Willis, Branden Janese, Yalitza Fererras, Conley Lyons, Jenna Wortham, Hope Olaidé Wilson, Lise Ragbir, Kat Chow, Larissa Pham, Mona Chalabi, Nichole Perkins, Meredith Talusan, Kay Iguh.