Illustrious Company

Announcing the judges for the PEN 2008 Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Working Writer Fellowship: Christopher Paul Curtis, Sid Fleischman, and ... yep, you guessed it, me. Nice gig, eh? Apart from feeling a tad like an understudy, it's all good. Here's the info:
The PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship of $5,000 is offered annually to an author of children's or young-adult fiction. The Fellowship has been developed to help writers whose work is of high literary caliber but who have not yet attracted a broad readership. As a result, an author's books may not have achieved the sales that would allow the writer to support him or herself solely from writing.

The Fellowship is designed to assist a writer at a crucial moment in his or her career, when monetary support is particularly needed to complete a book-length work-in-progress.

The Fellowship is made possible by a substantial contribution from PEN Member Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, the prolific author of more than 125 works of fiction, including the novels Alice in the Know, the 21st and most recent in the acclaimed "Alice" series, as well as Sang Spell and Shiloh, the first novel in a trilogy, which won the 1992 Newbery Medal.

On establishing the Fellowship Mrs. Naylor said: "We truly work 'blind,' with no assurance whatsoever that anyone will be interested in our final product. It takes enormous stamina and resolve and optimism to live with our characters for a year or more—and it's my hope that the Working Writer's Fellowship, modest as it is, will let the author know that an expert panel of PEN judges has faith in the writer, admires his work, and trusts that he will be able to bring to paper what he sees in his head."

A candidate is a writer of children or young-adult fiction in financial need; candidates have published at least two books (and no more than five) during the past 10 years, which have been warmly received by literary critics but have not generated sufficient income to support the author. The writer's books must be published by a U.S. publisher.

Writers must be nominated by an editor or a fellow writer. The nominator should write a letter of support, describing in some detail how the candidate meets the criteria for the Fellowship. The nominator should also provide:

1. A list of the candidate's published work, accompanied by copies of reviews, where possible.

2. Three copies of the following: the outline and a maximum of 75 pages of the text of the current work, intended as part of a new book.

3. On a separate piece of paper, a brief description of the candidate's recent earnings and a statement about why monetary support is particularly needed at this time (e.g., child care, research expenses, etc.)

Letters of nomination must be received between September 1, 2007 and January 14, 2008. Send letters of nomination (or requests for more information) to:

PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship
PEN American Center
588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012

For more information on the PEN Literary Awards, call: (212) 334-1660 ext. 108 or e-mail