Fellowship to Provide $500,000 in Grants to Emerging and Established Writers In Puerto Rico and Across the US Diaspora
(SAN JUAN, PR AND NEW YORK, NY – May 4, 2022) The Mellon Foundation and the Flamboyan Foundation’s Arts Fund today announced a call for applicants – including emerging and established Puerto Rican writers of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and children’s literature – to be part of the second cohort for the Letras Boricuas Fellowship. The fellowship was designed to identify, elevate, and amplify the voices of Puerto Rican writers on the archipelago and across the United States diaspora who have continued their practice while enduring natural disasters, political turmoil, and limited funding opportunities.
The fellowship’s second cohort of twenty writers, will join the first cohort and receive unrestricted grants of $25,000 each. Fellows from both cohorts will be invited to a convening in Puerto Rico, tentatively scheduled for April 2023, that offers all forty writers the opportunity to share their work, discuss their creative process, and share their experiences as Letras Boricuas fellows. By providing writers with funding and flexibility, the fellowship aims to support Puerto Rico’s rich and historically under-resourced literary lineage.
Speaking of her experience as part of the first cohort of Letras Boricuas fellows, Mónica Jiménez notes, “As a writer and a scholar, I do the work that I do because I feel called to it, but often with doubts as to its necessity, relevance, or importance. The Letras Boricuas fellowship is confirmation that there is value in the work and in the ideas. It helps me believe that my words can matter and it helps push me to keep thinking and writing.”
Applications for the Letras Boricuas Fellowship’s second cohort are due by June 13, 2022 and fellows will be announced in November 2022. Writers interested in applying can visit www.letrasboricuas.org for more information and submit applications in Spanish and/or English starting today.
“The community of writers in Puerto Rico has recently endured hurricanes, earthquakes, and political turmoil and has historically faced few opportunities for financial support and to share our important literary tradition with wide audiences,” said Carlos Rodríguez Silvestre, Executive Director of Flamboyan Foundation Puerto Rico. “At Flamboyan we cannot think of a better way to honor the rich heritage and diversity of Puerto Rican literature than creating a fellowship that allows writers to do what they do best.”
The Letras Boricuas Fellowship is part of both Mellon and Flamboyan’s ongoing commitment to sustaining and enriching the archipelago’s vibrant arts and cultural ecosystem and the individuals who work within it. Since 2018, the Mellon Foundation has invested more than $20 million as part of a multi-year initiative to address past underfunding in Puerto Rico and the US diaspora, urgent needs, and build sustainable artistic, educational, intellectual, cultural, and archival infrastructure for the future The Letras Boricuas Fellowship furthers the Foundation’s commitment to ensuring the ideas and imaginations of all Puerto Ricans have the opportunity to be shared with a broader audience.
The Flamboyan Foundation has worked through its Flamboyan Arts Fund initiative to preserve, amplify and strengthen the arts in Puerto Rico. In the past three years, the Fund has committed over $10 million and has provided critical support to over 600 artists and 100 arts organizations. In 2020, the two foundations worked together in immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic to establish a $1 million Emergency Relief Fund to help alleviate the devastating impact of the pandemic on the arts and culture sector in Puerto Rico, providing crucial support to 89 art organizations and 600 individual artists.
To be eligible for consideration for the Letras Boricuas Fellowship, writers must be 21 years or older at the time of application, be a current resident of Puerto Rico or the United States, and of Puerto Rican heritage. Writers must work in poetry (including spoken word), fiction, creative nonfiction (e.g. memoir, personal essays, and related forms) and/or children’s literature, and demonstrate a history of publication. Only individual writers may apply.
Fellows will be chosen through a two-step nomination, and selection process by Committee members – comprising experienced writers and literary experts – selected by the Mellon Foundation and the Flamboyan Arts Fund.
To learn more about the Letras Boricuas Fellowship, and to submit an application, please visit: www.letrasboricuas.org. The deadline for applications is June 13, 2022 at 4:00PM Eastern Time.
About Flamboyan Arts Fund
The Flamboyan Arts Fund is a partnership between Flamboyan Foundation, Lin-Manuel Miranda, his family, and the Broadway musical Hamilton to preserve, amplify, and sustain the arts in Puerto Rico. Since Hurricane Maria devastated the island last year, many artists and arts organizations like museums, theaters, arts education programs, and music venues are at risk of cutting back services or closing. The fund supports all facets of the arts community including music, theater, visual arts, dance, literature, and youth arts education to ensure that the arts and culture continue to flourish during the rebuilding of Puerto Rico.
About Flamboyan Foundation
Guided by the belief that all children deserve the opportunity to live a fulfilling life, the Flamboyan Foundation works to ensure every child in the US and Puerto Rico receives an outstanding education. In D.C., Flamboyan is accelerating student learning by helping educators and school systems transform their relationships with families. In Puerto Rico, Flamboyan is ensuring students are reading in Spanish on grade level by third grade while building a thriving philanthropic and nonprofit sector, which includes arts and cultural organizations. http://www.flamboyanfoundation.org
About the Mellon Foundation
The Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at mellon.org.