Biography Fellowships

//Biography Fellowships
Biography Fellowships 2018-08-13T00:12:51+00:00

The Leon Levy fellowship was a terrific experience for me, especially since I work out of my own home ordinarily and don’t get much feedback. I particularly liked the informal discussions of biography and biographers and I think it may be the only place where you “workshop” a piece of your biography, the kind of supportive and detailed interaction that, as far as I know, is usually only given to fiction writers.

—D.T. Max, 2011–2012 fellow, author of Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace (Viking, 2012).

As a first-time biographer, I derived enormous benefit from the Leon Levy Center for Biography fellowship, not only because it provided a workplace and financial support (two very important factors), but because it put me in regular contact with other biographers, some of whom had significantly more experience working in the genre.

—Susan Bernofsky, 2012–2013 fellow, writing a biography of Robert Walser, the Swiss modernist author.

The Leon Levy Center for Biography offers four resident fellowships at the Graduate Center for the academic year beginning each September. Awards include writing space, full access to research facilities, research assistance and a stipend of $72,000. The application period begins on October 15, 2018 and closes on January 7, 2019. Fellowship decisions will be announced, and all applicants notified, in mid-April, 2019. Meet the current biography fellows.

Applications require a brief CV or resume (3 pages max), a narrative account of the applicant’s career (250 words), a project description (750 words), a sample of the proposed biography (maximum 2,500 words), and three letters of reference, which must be postmarked by the deadline. Applicants are discouraged from seeking letters from their agents, editors, or publishers. Only online/digital applications will be accepted.

Online Fellowship Application   Reference Submission Form

Fellows devote their time to their projects and participate in monthly seminars and the public events of the Leon Levy Center for Biography, including the annual lecture and the annual conference, and they are encouraged to join in the dynamic intellectual community of the Graduate Center.

Applications are particularly welcome from CUNY faculty, but fellows may not teach or partake in other full-time employment during their academic year-in-residence. While our selection committees evaluate each application on its own merits, preference in the award of fellowships is given to those who have not yet published a biography or received fellowships for the writing of a biography. We also welcome applications from published and accomplished writers who are undertaking their first biography. The Leon Levy Center for Biography does not award fellowships for work on autobiographies, memoirs, essays, plays, films, or fiction.

Please contact Thad Ziolkowski, Associate Director, with any questions at