Black women writers invited to apply for ‘Miss Sarah’ Fellowship

Press release from Trillium Arts:

The “Miss Sarah” Fellowship for Black Women Writers aims to provide Black women writers (fiction, nonfiction, poetry) a restful environment conducive to reflection and writing. It also offers uninterrupted time to plant the seed of an idea for a new writing project or to develop or complete a project underway.

About “Miss Sarah”

Sarah M. Johnson was born on July 10, 1931, in Cleveland County, NC. In 1948, she moved to and settled in Hickory, NC, where she believed there would be greater job opportunities. Like many southern Black women of her generation, Sarah made a living as a domestic and factory worker, cleaning the homes of two prominent white families while simultaneously working as an employee of Hickory Springs Manufacturing.

A single mother of seven, including Trillium Arts Board member E. Patrick Johnson, whom she raised in a one-bedroom apartment in the Ridgeview community, where the majority of Black folks lived in Hickory, Sarah worked tirelessly to provide for each of her children. People throughout Hickory affectionately called her “Miss Sarah” due to her generous spirit and gifts as an extraordinary baker, and her desserts graced the tables of people far and wide. She rarely met a stranger. She was also well-known for her community activism as a lifetime member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)-Hickory Branch. Sarah was honored as the Hickory Branch of the NAACP “Mother of the Year” in 1986 and was also crowned North Carolina state “Mother of the Year” in the same year.

What better way to honor “Miss Sarah” than to create a fellowship that embodies her creativity and commitment to social justice? She passed away on July 17, 2019 at the age of 88.

What The Fellowship Entails:

The selected writer will receive a seven-day residency in July 2021 and can choose whether to stay at Trillium Arts’ rural “Firefly Creek” apartment in Mars Hills, NC or at E. Patrick Johnson and Stephen Lewis’s “Montford Manor” residence near downtown Asheville, NC.

Participants will receive a $700 stipend and transportation to and from Asheville, NC. Additional benefits will be custom tailored to the needs of the awardee.

Dates: The preferred dates for a “Miss Sarah” Fellowship in 2021 are July 10-17. However, the panel will consider other dates.
Who is eligible? Black women writers (fiction, nonfiction, poetry) at any stage of their careers are invited to apply. There is no application fee.
Timeline: The deadline to apply is Dec. 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Applications will be reviewed by a panel, and applicants will be notified by Feb. 15, 2021.
How to Apply: The application can be accessed HERE. If you have questions, please email

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