The Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute, home to The Believer magazine, hosts residential fellowships every academic year. Visiting fellows join a community of creative writers and scholars in a thriving literary scene in Las Vegas and on the campus of UNLV, supported by individuals and groups that share our commitment to bringing writers and the literary imagination into the heart of public life.

Recent fellows include Hanif Abudrraqib, Kristen Arnett, Tayari Jones, Walter Kirn, Lisa Ko, Ahmed Naji, Claire Vaye Watkins, and many others.

For more information on how to apply, please read our FAQ section. The application period for 2021-22 has closed.

Shearing Fellowship

Application period has closed.

For emerging and distinguished writers who have published at least one book with a trade or literary press, this fellowship includes: 

  • a stipend of $20,000 paid over a four-month period;
  • a semester-long letter of appointment;
  • eligibility for health coverage;
  • office space in the BMI offices on the campus of UNLV;
  • free housing (fellows cover some utilities) in a unique and vibrant arts complex in the bustling district of downtown Las Vegas—home to The Writer’s Block, our city’s beloved independent bookstore; and 
  • recognition in BMI’s literature, and on The Believer’s masthead, as a “Shearing Fellow.”

While there are no formal teaching requirements, this is a “working fellowship.” BMI’s visiting fellows will maintain a regular in-office presence, around 10 hours a week, along with 10 hours of service to the community. In addition to the primary goal of furthering one’s own writing during their term in Las Vegas, visiting fellows are expected to engage in a substantial way with BMI’s community, in a way custom-scoped based on their skills and personal interest. Upon acceptance into the program, each fellow will craft a work plan in partnership with BMI’s program manager that is meaningful to all involved parties. Here are some examples of activities a visiting fellow could pursue:

  • Offer readings, craft talks, and other public presentations to the readers and writers of UNLV and Southern Nevada.
  • Curate an event or program, leveraging the fellows’ professional and creative networks.
  • Contribute original work to The Believer (i.e., a column or feature essay, or occasional work such as lists, or entries in “Notes & Apologies”).
  • Provide editorial support to The Believer (edit essays, conduct an interview, consult on editorial conversations). 
  • Assist with headlines, blurbs, and occasional Twitter campaigns; offer opinion on drafts and other editorial concerns that arise in the life of a literary institution.

Application details

Please submit:

  1. A one- to two-page cover letter, which includes 1) Who you are, 2) Why you want to be a part of the Las Vegas lit community, 3) What you will be working on in terms of writing projects AND what you would like to do for your “service” hours.
  2. A writing sample (10 pages, double-spaced, 12 pt.)
  3. A résumé or CV.

Finalists will be asked to send copies of their books (Applicants must have at least one book published by a trade press.) Candidates will be selected by the staff and community members of BMI and The Believer.

City of Asylum Fellowship

Application period has closed.

The City of Asylum program provides safe haven for writers whose voices are muffled by censorship, or who are living with the threat of imprisonment or assassination. In 2001, City of Asylum Las Vegas was founded, the first such program in the United States. Groups in Ithaca, New York and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have since formed similar programs.

Originally, asylum cities operated under the auspices of the International Parliament of Writers in Paris, which oversaw the greater worldwide asylum network of some 35 cities, most of which are in Europe. Upon the dissolution in 2004 of the IPW, the International Cities of Refuge Network was formed in order to serve as an umbrella organization and information clearinghouse for local asylum programs worldwide.

A City of Asylum is a free space, unfettered by censorship or political repression, in which writers who have undergone such hardship may safely practice their craft. Writers are hosted by a city or region for a period of one to two years. The writer receives a $45,000 annual stipend.