Letras Boricuas

A New Fellowship Aimed at Supporting Puerto Rican Writers Across Genres

Home to a rich literary tradition, Puerto Rico has produced some of today’s most celebrated writers, yet there are few dedicated platforms for the elevation and amplification of Puerto Rican literary voices, including funding to support artists in the field. The Letras Boricuas Fellowship aims to identify and connect writers from diverse backgrounds and identities who embody the vastness, diversity and complexity of Puerto Rican experiences.

Application

Become a Fellow

Now accepting applications from Puerto Rican writers of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and children’s literature, both in Puerto Rico and from across the diaspora in the United States.

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What is the Letras Boricuas Fellowship?

The Letras Boricuas Fellowship is a new opportunity sponsored by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Flamboyan Foundation’s Arts Fund, which will provide thirty writers — fifteen selected in 2021 and fifteen selected in 2022 — $25,000 each. Recipients will also participate in a gathering of all thirty Fellows to be hosted in San Juan, tentatively scheduled for April 2023.

While fellowship award funds are unrestricted, the hope is to help writers in Puerto Rico and across the diaspora, pursue their writing, amplify their work to a broader audience, and create work that celebrates Puerto Rican life and culture. It is also the aim that each Fellowship cohort will include writers of different genres and writers who live in Puerto Rico, as well Puerto Ricans who may live in the United States. Applications will be accepted in Spanish and/or English.

The Letras Boricuas Fellowship will have two cohorts. The first will be announced in fall 2021 with the fellowship running from January to December 2022. The second cohort will be announced in fall 2022 with the fellowship running from January to December 2023.

At a Glance

The first cohort of 15 writers will be announced in November 2021.

The fellowship will provide recipients with an unrestricted grant of $25,000 each.

In addition to providing unrestricted funds to support writers, the Letras Boricuas Fellowship will identify and connect writers from diverse backgrounds and identities who embody the vastness, diversity and complexity of Puerto Rican experiences.

Partners

The Letras Boricuas Fellowship is a collaboration between The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Flamboyan Arts Fund.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

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The Andrew W. 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.

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Flamboyan Foundation

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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.

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Flamboyan Arts Fund

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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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Letras Boricuas fellowships are an opportunity exclusive to writers. To be eligible for consideration for this fellowship, writers must:

  • be 21 years or older at the time of application;
  • work in one or more of the following genres: poetry (including spoken word), fiction, creative nonfiction (e.g. memoir, personal essays, and related forms), or children’s literature;
  • demonstrate a history of publication by having:
    • one book of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or children’s literature published in the past five years or currently under contract by an independent, commercial, or university press; or
    • at least three different works in the genre in which the writer is applying published in print or online literary journals in the past five years; or
    • if applying as a spoken word poet, three links to videos of performances as part of curated public events.
    • The following publications will not be considered as demonstrating eligibility:
      • books and literary journals for which the writer is an editor or staff person;
      • books or literary journals that are self-published;
      • books or literary journals published by companies that require the writer to pay for publication or distribution;
      • books or literary journals published without editorial or curatorial oversight;
      • academic writing (dissertation, critical essays, textbook chapters);
      • journalism (reporting; pieces of criticism including books or other reviews; opinion pieces);
        plays, screenplays;
      • song lyrics; or
      • co-authored work.
  • be current residents of Puerto Rico or the United States; and
  • self-identify as Puerto Rican.

Only individual writers may apply. Applications from publishers, organizations, or institutions will not be considered. Individuals who are enrolled in an academic institution are eligible to apply.

Yes, you are eligible. We do not disqualify anyone based on other sources of funding.

No. The Letras Boricuas fellowship will only select a total of 30 writers, 15 the first year and 15 in the second year. Thus, not every applicant will be funded.

Once you have confirmed that you meet all eligibility requirements and read through the guidelines, you can apply by visiting https://flamboyanartsfund.submittable.com/submit where you’ll find a link to the Submittable platform. If you have used Submittable before and have an existing account, you will need to enter your login credentials. If it is your first time using Submittable, you will need to create a new account, which is free of cost. This is a quick and simple process. 

If you have any technical issues using Submittable, such as questions related to password retrieval, confirming receipt of applications, or revising submitted applications, please contact support@submittable.com.

For any other inquiries about the application process, or for assistance,  please contact letrasboricuas@flamboyanartsfund.org.

Applications will be screened by the Flamboyan Arts Fund for eligibility. Decisions regarding eligibility made by the Flamboyan Arts Fund are final. Eligible applications will be reviewed by a Nominations Committee that will forward semi-finalists to a Selections Committee that will recommend possible Fellowship recipients to the Flamboyan Arts Fund’s Board of Advisors for final approval. Members of the Nominations and Selections Committees are selected by The Flamboyan Arts Fund and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Nominations Committee members will serve anonymously. Selection Committee members will be named when the Fellowship recipients are announced.

Eligible applications will be reviewed based on literary merit, the latter of which may include work samples that display some or all of the following characteristics: originality, imagination, creativity, a strong point of view, a unique voice, facility with language, technical skill, and craft, memorability. Financial status will not be taken into consideration.

No. While all dates are subject to change, the application will be open in the following cycles:

  • Cycle 1: May 12 – June 20 (closes 11:59 pm ET)
  • Cycle 2: Spring 2022 (specific dates will be announced)

Each cycle, all non-funded applications will be removed from our system so that writers can reapply the following year.

All applicants will be notified of the Fellowship results by email by November 2021. 

If you are selected for funding, we will follow up with the information required to disburse the grant and for the public announcement.

All applicants will be notified through their Submittable account. A message will be sent to the email address associated with this account. In addition, applicants may log into their accounts to check on the status. You can also contact us for questions you may have during the application process. All inquiries should be addressed to letrasboricuas@flamboyanartsfund.org.

Yes, the Flamboyan Arts Fund will respond to all applicants, whether they are selected for funding or not. 

Yes. The application is only online through Submittable. However, if an applicant does not have the equipment or connection necessary to apply online, Flamboyan Arts Fund staff can assist them in the process. You can email us at letrasboricuas@flamboyanartsfund.org.

Yes, simply choose the option to save. We highly recommend that you draft your responses in a separate word processing program and paste it into the application. Please save a copy of your application in the event that you choose to re-apply the following year.

We will accept applications in either language, and choice of language will not have any bearing on the final selection.

No. We cannot respond to any additional materials sent to us outside of the Submittable system. Only responses included in the application will be considered. Please make sure your application is complete before you submit it.

Once you submit an application, you will not be able to re-submit during that first cycle. However, if your application is not selected in the first cycle, you may reapply in the second cycle.

Yes. Please be aware that communications regarding the status of the application will be sent to the email address associated with the Submittable account.

Yes. You will need to reapply.

We are committed to equity and inclusion and view data as an essential tool to be accountable for this commitment. This information is being collected for internal tracking purposes. As an applicant, your data will be viewed by Flamboyan Arts Fund staff and the committee members who will be engaged during the review process.

Submittable, the application platform, operates with above-industry-standard security certificates and features for data collection and storage.

Yes. Fellows selected in the 2021 cycle will be announced in November 2021. The information will be shared in a public announcement and on the Flamboyan Foundation’s website. Selection Committee members will also be named when the Fellowship recipients are announced.

No. There will be no reporting necessary. The fellowship award funds are unrestricted, and therefore may be used as writers see fit.