Sponsored by the Graduate School at The University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Institute of Letters, the Dobie Paisano Fellowship Program provides solitude, time, and a comfortable place for Texas writers or writers who have written significantly about Texas. The retreat is on a 250-acre ranch about twenty minutes west of Austin. Here J. Frank Dobie's ranch house sits below a wall of cliffs and near a clear, beautiful creek. The house is furnished simply and comfortably, with modern conveniences. Utilities, the internet, and phone service are provided, though the fellow must pay for long distance telephone service.
There are two distinct fellowships - one for September 1 - December 31 with a stipend of $6250 a month (the Ralph A. Johnston Memorial Fellowship); one for February 1 - July 31 with a stipend of $3000 a month (the Jesse H. Jones Writing Fellowship). The length of residency may change for maintenance or program needs. The fellowships are available to creative writers in any genre as well as writers of non-fiction. Non-fiction should be written for the general audience.
The Jesse H. Jones Writing Fellowship will be aimed at, though certainly not limited to, writers who are early in their careers and who would benefit from an extended period at the ranch. Demonstration of prior publishing and critical success is not expected, though, as in the past, many applicants will indeed have such a record. Any writer at any level of success (including those with strong publishing records) is eligible for the Jesse Jones Fellowship.
The Ralph A. Johnston Memorial Fellowship is aimed at writers who have already demonstrated some publishing and critical success. This may or may not be writers a little later along in their literary careers. The definition of "publishing and critical success" will be determined by the judges each year, but, in general, we would expect at least one critically well-received book, or an impressive list of published essays, articles, poems, stories, etc. The decision of the judges will be based on the quality of the writer's past work and the potential for future excellence. Of course, the writer's suitability for ranch life is always taken into account.
At the time of application, the applicant must meet one of the following requirements: (1) be a native Texan, (2) have resided in Texas at least three years at some time, or (3) have published significant work with a Texas subject.
Applicants may apply for both fellowships. The application fee is $20 for one fellowship or $30 for both fellowships. If applying for both, include the $30 application fee with the Ralph A. Johnston Memorial Fellowship application and check the appropriate box at the top of the Johnston application form. Application fees are non-refundable. Each application and its accompanying materials must be mailed in separate packets. There will be separate judging panels for each fellowship.
Please submit applications AFTER December 1. Entries for fellowships for 2019 - 2020 must be postmarked on or before January 15, 2019.
The application fee is $20.00 for one fellowship or $30.00 for both fellowships. If applying for both fellowships, include the $30.00 application fee with the Ralph A. Johnston Memorial Fellowship application and check the appropriate box at the top of the Johnston application form. Application fees are non-refundable.
You must submit each application and its accompanying materials in separate packets.
Make checks or money orders payable to: The University of Texas at Austin.
Submit entries on the forms:
- Application for Ralph A. Johnston Memorial Fellowship
- Application for Jesse H. Jones Writing Fellowship
Use Adobe Acrobat Reader to complete either application form online and then print the completed form from the web. (Download Adobe Acrobat Reader at the following web site: http://get.adobe.com/reader/.)
[Note: Materials for one application require postage for 3 ounces, for both applications, 5 ounces.] Use appropriate shipping address below based on shipping method.
Number of copies
Submit three copies of the completed application and three copies of your writing sample. If applying for both fellowships, you must submit each set of three in separate packets, although they can be shipped in the same envelope or box (clearly marked).
Limit writing samples to no more than 50 manuscript pages. Published work, however, may be longer than 50 pages. The writing sample should reflect your best work and be indicative of the type of writing you would pursue at Paisano. [NOTE: Supporting work is permitted but is included in the 50-page limit. Judges will read only the first 50 pages submitted. See page 5 of the application for more information.
Judges for the competition are members of the Texas Institute of Letters and/or former fellows. We do not release the names of the judges. There will be different judging panels for each fellowship.
Personal recommendations are not requested and are not included in applicant files.
Announcement of Winners
Winners are announced in early May. Applicants are notified of the results via email as soon as possible. Applicants do not receive any critique of their entries.
Austin and Austin-area Applicants
The purpose of a Dobie Paisano fellowship is to provide solitude and financial support for a committed writer. The fellowship requires full-time residency at the ranch. It cannot be used as a part-time work site or as a temporary retreat. If you live in Austin or the Austin area, it would be useful to the judges to read of your commitment to this requirement. You can address this commitment on the application form under: "Why do you feel that you would be a suitable Paisano fellow?"