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Welcome to the 2020 Eliza So Fellowship


We’re delighted to announce Submittable’s 2020 Eliza So Fellowship, which will support one Native American writer’s book project with a month-long residency in Missoula, MT. Now in its fourth year, the Eliza So Fellowship is dedicated to serving underrepresented writers working to complete a full-length book manuscript.

**New this year, the Eliza So Fellowship has made additional accommodations to better meet the needs of parent artists. See details below.

Fellowship Details

The fellowship has continued to evolve since 2017, moving from Las Vegas to Submittable’s hometown of Missoula and supporting writers from different communities at different points in the process of creating and editing a manuscript. Our inaugural fellow in 2017 was Melissa Sipin; in 2018, fellowships were awarded to Paul Tran and Sheree Winslow, our 2019 fellows were Alan Pelaez Lopez and Lehua Taitano.

This year’s fellowship is open to Native American writers at any stage in a book project, provided that 30 representative pages have been completed. No resume is required, and entry is free. We encourage you to consider applying and help us get the word out. 

The 2020 Eliza So Fellowship will include lodging in Missoula, along with a $1,000 stipend for food, travel, and/or childcare. Fellows will stay in a private townhouse on the Clark Fork river trail, close to downtown, grocery shopping, farmers markets, parks, restaurants, coffee shops, and more. The house can accommodate parent artists with up to three guests. While we hope our fellow will take full advantage of the property, they may use the space as it suits them best and travel as they wish to.

Submittable will accept applications between January 15 and April 5, 2020. Finalists will be notified on April 25 and the winner will be announced at the beginning of June.

Final judge

This year’s final judge will be Heather Cahoon.

Headshot for 2020 Eliza So Fellowship Judge Heather Cahoon

Heather Cahoon, PhD, received her MFA in Poetry from the University of Montana where she was the Richard Hugo Scholar. She has been awarded a Merriam Frontier Prize, a Potlatch Fund Native Arts grant, and a Montana Arts Council Artist Innovation Award for her writing, which has appeared in Hanging Loose, Lit Hub, Yellow Medicine Review, basalt, American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Carve, and Cutthroat among others. Her first full-length collection of poems entitled Horsefly Dress, is forthcoming from the University of Arizona Press in fall of 2020. Heather is also a federal Indian policy scholar and Assistant Professor of Native American Studies at the University of Montana. She grew up on the Flathead Reservation in western Montana and is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Application and fellowship requirements 

1) You have a novel, collection of stories or poems, a memoir, or other prose work (fiction, nonfiction, or hybrid) in progress (30 pages minimum).

2) You are a Native American writer

3) You are available for a residency from July 18, 2020 – August 14, 2020

Fellows will be asked to give a public reading in Missoula and write a blog post of at least 1,000 words for Submittable during their residency.

If fellows are interested in doing a lunchtime presentation for staff at Submittable’s Missoula headquarters during their stay—on their book project, craft, or any literary topic that interests them—we would be delighted. However, a lunchtime presentation is not required.

About the fellowship

This fellowship is named in honor of Eliza So, the mother of Submittable’s Head of People Asta So. Eliza immigrated to the US from Hong Kong in 1982, with her husband and two daughters. She worked in administrative and housekeeping jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area for many years. At age 58, she began showing signs of dementia, and she was diagnosed with early onset of Alzheimer’s in 2012. She is one of the kindest, warmest, and most hard-working people you could meet, and we pay tribute to her life and legacy with this opportunity.


We look forward to receiving and reviewing your applications. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch anytime with questions about the 2020 Eliza So Fellowship. If you’re interested in learning more about previous fellows and their work, you’ll find great information here

Submittable believes in giving back—and since literary organizations were our first customers, we’re committed to promoting equity within this community. Explore Submittable’s other giving initiatives to see what we’ve been up to.

Rachel Mindell

Rachel Mindell is Senior Editor for Submittable's Marketing Team. She also writes and teaches poetry. You can find Rachel's creative work here: rachelmindell.com