Writer in Residence (George Bennett Fellowship)

Fellowship Announcement

We are pleased to announce that Gwen Kirby of Cincinnati, OH, has been selected as the 2018/19 George Bennett Fellow.

2019/2020 fellowship application will open September 1 - 30, 2018.

Purpose

The purpose of the George Bennett Fellowship is to provide time and freedom from material considerations to a person seriously contemplating or pursuing a career as a writer.  The stipend for the one-year Fellow is $15,570, plus housing and meals.  This position also offers medical and dental insurance, long-term disability coverage and access to an employee assistance program.  As Writer-in-Residence the person shall live in Exeter and, in return for stipend and housing, shall (besides carrying out his or her own literary projects) make his or her self and talents available in an informal and unofficial way to students interested in writing and, more specifically, to students in English classes and to members of student literary organizations.

The fellow is not considered a member of the faculty. The Academy house provided will not contain students. The nature and extent of the writer's involvement with Academy purposes and with Academy students are to be determined more by the writer's own interest and good will than by Academy demand.

During the tenure of the Fellowship the writer shall not have any other full- or part-time job, and cannot be actively enrolled in a degree program in any college or graduate school.

History

George E. Bennett '23, a native of Exeter, graduated from Harvard in 1927 and taught at the Gilman School before returning to the Academy in 1929 as an instructor in English. During his 37 years at the Academy, he was closely identified with the development of creative writing and was the inspiration for many students who later became professional writers. In 1959, he was named chair of the department of English. In 1961, he was named the 1959 Donner Foundation Professor and in 1962 he became the first Independence Foundation Professor. After a five-year term as chair of his department, he continued teaching until his death in 1965. He was, many will agree, one of the most distinguished teachers of English in the modern history of Exeter.

Qualifications

You must have already embarked on a writing project which requires time and freedom from material considerations to complete. You may or may not have encouragement from a publisher, in the form of a cash advance or otherwise. The benefits of the fellowship can be considered as making it possible for a writer not to be obliged to accept an advance, with its inevitable restrictions. 

The fellowship has no specific requirements as to gender, age or marital status. The writer will be chosen on the basis of (1) the manuscript, with its evidence of literary skill and originality, (2) personal qualities – devotion to the writer's craft, industry, and integrity, adaptability to the environment of a boarding school in a small town; and capacity for meeting and aiding Exeter students. Of these two criteria, the first is of greater importance.

Preference is given to a writer of fiction, however, literary non-fiction, poetry and drama are also eligible. As stated above, we choose the fellow primarily on the strength of the materials submitted. Only if two manuscripts appeal equally in every other respect is preference given to the fiction manuscript.  A writer of non-fiction will be considered only if the work is intended for a general audience and carried out in expectation of a career as a professional writer. 

Although we ask that you have "underway" the manuscript you wish to complete while at Exeter, we understand that this is not always the case.  Submit whatever materials you feel best represent you as a writer; the purpose of your statement is to explain the nature of your materials, the degree of finish and relation to the work you hope to do at Exeter. Your submission may be a mixture, including a section of the manuscript you intend to complete as well as other work you feel represents your abilities. However, each submission must stay within one category, i.e. poetry, fiction, non-fiction, mixed genre, or drama (no screenplays). Please note that if you wish to submit more than one manuscript for more than one category, you must submit separate application fees and statements for each category. 

Finally, it is the clear hope that the manuscript, partially completed at the beginning of the tenure of the Fellowship, shall be completed at the end, and submitted to a publisher.

 

Housing

The Academy will provide, for the academic year, a house or an apartment (furnished, if necessary), depending upon the needs of the writer. The writer and the writer's family may take meals in the Academy dining hall at no expense while school is in session.

Term

The Fellowship shall be held for the academic year. Between September and June, the writer shall be in residence whenever the Academy is in session.

How to Apply

The online application for the 2019-2020 George Bennett Fellowship will be live from September 1 -  September 30, 2018.  You must be eligible to work in the United States in order to apply.  We will select the next year Fellow by the beginning of March.

1.  Complete the online application.  Before you begin, you will need the following information.

(1) a current resume, PDF format preferred, ready to upload

(2) a statement of interest, PDF format preferred, ready for upload.

(3) a sample manuscript or writing sample, PDF preferred, ready for upload.

(4) credit card or electronic check to submit the $15 payment

2.  Statement of Interest Requirement
As part of the application, you will be required to upload an anonymous PDF of a personal statement testifying to the appropriateness of the Fellowship to your situation. This is a gift of time. How will you use that time?  Please provide specific details how the Fellowship would allow you to complete the manuscript, noting your current progress. The statement should be approximately 500-750 words with no identifying factors.    Anonymous:  do not include your name or email address on any header or footers of your cover letter of manuscript.  

NOTE: The committee favors applicants who have not yet published a book-length work with a major publisher  (a well-financed publisher with national distribution.) If your work has enjoyed such publication, your statement should explain why you consider yourself not yet established as a writer.

3.  Manuscript Requirement
You will also be required to upload an anonymous PDF of your manuscript. The anonymous document may be up to twenty pages, 12 point type, 1 inch margins, double spaced (except for poetry), with no identifying factors. Any personal identification (i.e. in the document file title or in headers/footers/titles) on either your statement or manuscript will be grounds for disqualification from the fellowship selection process.  While plays are acceptable, we will not accept screenplays. Use the best excerpt you think you have. 

4.  $15 Application Fee
During the online application process, you will be able to enter a credit card or electronic check payment.  Please note that if you wish to submit more than one manuscript for more than one category, you must submit separate application fees and statements for each category.  Note:  if you do not have access to pay electronically, you can mail a check, made payable to Phillips Exeter Academy and send to 20 Main Street, Exeter, NH  03833, attention:  DOF - George Bennett Fellowship.

When you have successfully submitted all of the above, you will receive an email that we have received your application and payment.  

The manuscripts are the primary basis for the selection of the Bennett Fellow, and each manuscript will receive the careful attention of the selection committee, made up of the members of the Academy's English Department. We are genuine in our desire to select the most promising candidate, and we are always conscious that the Fellowship is for a writer at the beginning of his or her career and that much of the material we receive is necessarily unfinished. 

If you have other questions, contact us via email or call 603-777-3645.