Call for Authors: Our Stories Our Art

Seeking Authors

Adult Submission Timeline:

Next deadline: February 8, 2024

Adult Stipend: $1000
Youth & Young Adult Submissions:

Next deadline: February 8, 2024

Youth Stipend: $350

Adult Submissions

Información en español.

The National Folklife Network (NFN) is made up of artists, community knowledge-keepers, cultural organizers, and advocates committed to strengthening communities by nurturing and sharing heritage arts, folklife, and traditional practices.

We seek to pay people to write OR artistically express their understanding of “home place” through connections you’ve experienced between heritage and environment. We want people to highlight the power of local knowledge, old or new traditions, and/or arts in building a sense of place and belonging. 

Final submissions can be in the form of essays, poems, prose, audio (with transcription), OR you can contact the editors about your ideas for additional creative formats. We encourage broad perspectives and voices from BIPOC communities across the NFN’s seven regions (detailes below). Submissions can be in English or Spanish, and you will be paid $1000 upon completing your final submission.

TO APPLY:  Complete our Adult Author Call Form by February 8, 2024.

Ask yourself:

  • What events, traditions, smells, tastes, feelings, etc. remind you of home?
  • Can you explain to outsiders the beauty and uniqueness of your home that others might not immediately see or be aware of?
  • If you are away from where you consider home, how do you maintain connection with your home?
  • What is unique about your home? (People, places, landscapes, food, flora and fauna, traditions, festivals, music, dress, etc.)

Selected works will be circulated nationally on social media, e-newsletters, and featured prominently on the National Folklife Network e-magazine, Our Stories Our Art.

TO BE ELIGIBLE, you must have a “home” connection in one of these seven regions:

  1. Alaska
  2. Memphis, Tennessee
  3. Northern Plains (MN, SD, ND, NE)
  4. Rocky Mountain West (WY, MT, ID, UT, CO)
  5. San Juan, Puerto 
  6. Southern Plains (TX, NM, OK, KS)
  7. Washington, D.C.

Selected works will serve as windows into the seven regions from the perspectives of people who know them the best on Our Stories Our Art.

Prompts:

  • How would you introduce a stranger to your home place and its cultural treasures? (A cultural treasure can be a person, place, food, nature, community, music, etc.)
  • How does your culture help you relate to your environment (the human world or the cosmos)?
  • If your favorite spot in your hometown could talk, what would it say? What has it seen? What does it know?
  • What knowledge/practice has been passed down to you? Who passed it down and why? How does it keep you connected to home?
  • Explore your family traditions, heritage or memories through the lens of landscape, environment, and/or community.

Format & Editorial: (If you need further clarification on anything below, please email SelinaMorales@arizona.edu for help)

  • Writing should be 1,000-1,500 words, submitted as a Word document. OR If you are submitting a creative project, please contact Selina Morales to establish creative guidelines.
  • If applicable, use a modified Chicago style and parenthetical citations.
  • Any images should have a dpi of at least 300. All images require captions and image descriptions.
  • All authors will receive development and review support by the NFN website editors and copy editor. Essays may be edited for style and content. Profanity will not be published.

TO APPLY: Complete the Adult Author Call Form and email SelinaMorales@arizona.edu the following by February 8, 2024:

  1. A short (100 words) description of your idea, including proposed format. Will it be an essay? A photo essay? Poems? Something else?
  2. Resume/CV/Bio (2 pages max) that shows who you are, what you know, and where you come from.
  3. Writing or work sample (anything that you’ve written or created that will give us a sense of your work)
  4. Send inquiries and questions before the February 1, 2024 deadline to SelinaMorales@Arizona.edu

*Sample essays can be shared for inspiration.


Youth Submissions:

Información en español.

The National Folklife Network (NFN) seeks youth writers to participate in documenting local cultural traditions and folklife. “Folklife” can be understood as the “everydayness” of the things that members of a particular family, community, clan, subculture, society do: cooking, celebrating, creating, etc. Folklife are the actions that continue on “traditional” knowledge and skills. The NFN is a network of artists, culture bearers (people who hold the knowledge), and folklorists who strengthen our communities through nurturing folk and traditional arts. We want to hear from you about cultural traditions in your community, written in English or Spanish. If your work is selected, you will be paid $350 upon completing your final submission.

Email SelinaMorales@arizona.edu with any questions.

YOUTH WRITING PROMPTS (500 words):

“Home feels like…”
“My heritage…”
“My community has taught me…”

STIPEND: $350

SCHEDULE:

February 1, 2024: Application due
February 29, 2024: Notification to applicants
March 9, 2024 from 2-3:30 PM ET: Folklife workshop on Zoom 
March 31, 2024: Final draft due to editorial team

If selected, your work will be featured on our website, OurStoriesOurArt.org. This is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts.