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The Virginia G. Piper Creative Research Fellowship

The Virginia G. Piper Creative Research Fellowship is a competitive, merit-based fellowship that is awarded to full-time Master of Fine Arts students in Creative Writing, who are focusing on the completion of a creative manuscript in fiction or poetry.  

About the Creative Research Fellowship

The Creative Research Fellowship provides a summer stipend of up to $5,000 (depending on proposed budget) to support a research project involving cross-cultural or international exchange. This award is intended to provide financial support for a student writer engaged in research that will aid the completion of their creative manuscript.  The research proposal must involve a cross-cultural or international focus of some kind. Travel is not required and cannot be covered by ASU at this time due to COVID-19. Expenses that can be covered may include work with local refugee, tribal, or international communities, for example, or to study at a local archive, or to conduct strategic outreach, programming, or communications, so long as international or cross-cultural exchange or translation is a key aspect of the proposal.  

Creative Research Fellowship Amount

The Virginia G. Piper Creative Research Fellowship provides up to $5,000 in research support.  Amount awarded is based on proposed budget outlined in the applicant’s Fellowship Proposal, and on project merit as determined by the application judges.  The Fellowship award covers proposed fellowship expenses; any costs that exceed the fellowship amount will be at the student’s expense.

Creative Research Fellowship Eligibility

To be eligible for the Virginia G. Piper Creative Research Fellowship, applicants must be graduate students currently enrolled in ASU's MFA Creative Writing program in their first, second or third year of the program, at time of application.

Applicants must also be in good academic standing and on track to finish their MFA degrees.  Students are ineligible to receive the same fellowship two years in a row.

A student can apply for but cannot receive both a Virginia G. Piper Global Teaching Fellowship and a Virginia G. Piper Creative Research Fellowship in the same year.  If a candidate is highly ranked for both fellowships, they will be given the opportunity to choose between the two awards.

Creative Research Fellowship Award Requirements

During your Fellowship period, you will be responsible for taking 3 photographs.  Within 30 days of the end of the summer, you will need to submit these photos to the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.  Along with the items please include a statement of impact about your research and experience or a sample of your completed writing. A Piper Center Staff member may also complete an interview with you about your work. These items will be shared with the Piper Trust who funds the Fellowship and may be published online with the Piper Center.

As a fellowship recipient, you will also have the opportunity to teach a 2-hour free Piper Writers Studio course at some point in the next school year, working with the Piper Center’s Education Programs Manager.  This course will be community-focused, and should reference or incorporate aspects of your fellowship time and studies.  The Piper Center staff will provide support in helping you develop this course, as needed.  This is a great opportunity to share some of what you’ve learned with the community!

Creative Research Fellowship Application

All submissions and references are due by Monday, October 26th, 2020

Files should be titled “LastName Research Fellowship” (ex: Smith Research Fellowship.pdf).

To apply for the Virginia G. Piper Creative Research Fellowship, please prepare and complete the following material:

1. Synopsis/abstract (maximum 2 paragraphs, single-spaced)
     • This should be a brief summary of your manuscript project, and the work or research you are planning for it during the fellowship period.
2. Personal Statement (1 page, single-spaced)
     • This should be a short, introductory essay, introducing yourself as a writer and the scope of your current project.
3. Budget
    • A detailed outline of all costs you are seeking support for through this fellowship, with justification statements and other documentation provided for clarity as needed. Include backup documentation for expense items to show costs. For example, if seeking funding to support registration, attach a PDF of the website page demonstrating the registration rates.

Please remember that no travel funding can be awarded for 2020/21 at this time.
4. Fellowship Proposal (2 pages, single-spaced)
   • This should be a detailed, structured proposal for how this fellowship award would support your manuscript work and research over the summer. This should communicate your vision for the work and the impact you feel this funding will have on your work, and it should include any important logistical information.
5. 10-page writing sample (10 pages of poetry or 10 double-spaced pages of fiction.)
6. Complete the Creative Research Fellowship Application here: Creative Research Fellowship

Treat this process as a creative project proposal, and not a job application: you must convince the judges that your unique proposal deserves the fellowship award, rather than trying to meet a certain set of expected criteria.


Independent judges, external to ASU, will determine the recipient.  The fellowship award will be announced in January 2021 and the award will be dispersed in Spring 2021.

Apply for the fellowship

More Information about the Virginia G. Piper Creative Research Fellowship

For more information about the Virginia G. Piper Creative Research Fellowship, please contact the Assistant Director: Dana Tribke,  at 480.965.1243 or