Writer in Residence (George Bennett Fellowship)

The online application for the 2017-2018  George Bennett Fellowship will be live from October 1 -  November 30, 2017.



To qualify for the fellowship, a candidate must have already embarked on a writing project: must have underway a manuscript which requires time and freedom from material considerations to complete. The candidate may or may not have encouragement from a publisher, in the form of a cash advance or otherwise. But as a general consideration and guide, the benefits of the fellowship can be considered as making it possible for a writer not to be obliged to accept an advance, with its inevitable restrictions. 

The fellowship has no specific requirements as to sex or age or marital status. The writer shall be chosen on the basis of (1) the manuscript, with its evidence of literary skill and originality, (2) personal qualities – devotion to the writer's craft, industry, and integrity, adaptability to the environment of a boarding school in a small town; and capacity for meeting and aiding Exeter students. Of these two criteria, the first is of greater importance.

Preference shall be given to a writer of fiction. A writer of non-fiction will be considered only if her or his work is intended for a general audience and carried out in expectation of a career as a professional writer. Although "preference shall be given to a writer of fiction," literary non-fiction, poetry and drama are also eligible; writers of these should not hesitate to apply. As stated above, we choose the fellow primarily on the basis of the strength of the materials submitted. Only if two manuscripts appeal equally in every other respect is preference given to the fiction manuscript. This has rarely, if ever, occurred.

Although we ask that you have "underway" the manuscript you wish to complete while at Exeter, we understand that this is not always the case.  Submit whatever materials you feel best represent you as a writer; the purpose of your statement is to explain the nature of your materials, the degree of finish and relation to the work you hope to do at Exeter. Your submission may be a mixture, including a section of the manuscript you intend to complete as well as other work you feel represents your abilities. However, each submission must stay within one category, i.e. poetry, fiction, non-fiction, mixed genre, or drama (no screenplays). Please note that if you wish to submit more than one manuscript for more than one category, you must submit separate application fees and statements for each category.

Although we are glad to hear of your successes in publication in journals, we do not in any way consider such successes in making our choice: our own judgment of your work is all that matters.  As explained above, any publication of "book-length work with a 'major' publisher" should be discussed in your statement.

Finally, it is the clear hope that the manuscript, partially completed at the beginning of the tenure of the Fellowship, shall be completed at the end, and submitted to a publisher. 

Please do not include art work, tapes, discs or similar material with your application; only the text can be considered.

If you have other question, please do not telephone.  Contact us via e-mail at:  teaching_opportunities@exeter.edu.


Application Information

The following is required for application: 

Please complete the online application, which will include the names, addresses and telephone numbers of at least two people qualified to discuss your personal and professional qualifications for this fellowship.  References will only be contacted if you reach the final stage of selection. Please do not have your college or graduate school placement office send the conventional dossier. We will not contact your school(s) unless your manuscript reaches the final stage of competition.

During the online application process you will be required to upload an anonymous PDF of a personal statement testifying to the appropriateness of the Fellowship to your situation. This is a gift of time. How will you use that time?  Please provide specific details how the Fellowship would allow you to complete the manuscript, noting your current progress. The statement should be approximately 500-750 words with no identifying factors.      

NOTE: The committee favors applicants who have not yet published a book-length work with a ‘major’ publisher - i.e., a well-financed publisher with national distribution. If your work has enjoyed such publication, your statement should explain why you consider yourself not yet established as a writer or in the genre represented by your manuscript.

You will also be required to upload an anonymous PDF of your manuscript. The anonymous document may be up to twenty pages, 12 point type, 1 inch margins, double spaced (except for poetry), with no identifying factors. Any personal identification (i.e. in the document file title or in headers/footers/titles) on either your statement or manuscript will be grounds for disqualification from the fellowship selection process.  While plays are acceptable, we will not accept screenplays. Use the best excerpt you think you have. 

You will have the option to upload a PDF of your CV/resume and/or fill in sections on the application with your education, employment, and book-length publications with a “major” publisher. 

Application fee: $15.  During the online application process, you will be able to enter a credit card or electronic check payment.

Please note that if you wish to submit more than one manuscript for more than one category, you must submit separate application fees and statements for each category.

When you have successfully submitted all of the above, you will be informed that your application is complete. The committee will be notifying you via email about your application status actively during the review cycle. The new Bennett Fellow will be selected by mid-April.  Manuscripts cannot be returned, but will be deleted after the selection process is complete.

The manuscripts are the primary basis for the selection of the Bennett Fellow, and each manuscript will receive the careful attention of the selection committee, made up of the members of the Academy's English Department. We are genuine in our desire to select the most promising candidate, and we are always conscious that the Fellowship is for a writer at the beginning of his or her career and that much of the material we receive is necessarily unfinished. 

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact us at teaching_opportunities@exeter.edu



George E. Bennett '23, a native of Exeter, graduated from Harvard in 1927 and taught at the Gilman School before returning to the Academy in 1929 as an instructor in English. During his 37 years at the Academy, he was closely identified with the development of creative writing and was the inspiration for many students who later became professional writers. In 1959, he was named chair of the department of English. In 1961, he was named the 1959 Donner Foundation Professor and in 1962 he became the first Independence Foundation Professor. After a five-year term as chair of his department, he continued teaching until his death in 1965. He was, many will agree, one of the most distinguished teachers of English in the modern history of Exeter.


The purpose of the George Bennett Fellowship is to provide time and freedom from material considerations to a person seriously contemplating or pursuing a career as a writer. It provides for one academic year a stipend (at present $15,260.00), as well as housing and meals for this person and family, at Academy expense. As Writer-in-Residence the person shall live in Exeter and, in return for stipend and housing, shall (besides carrying out his or her own literary projects) make his or her self and talents available in an informal and unofficial way to students interested in writing and, more specifically, to students in English classes and to members of student literary organizations.

The writer shall not be considered a member of the Academy faculty; she or he shall have no regular or prescribed duties — shall not, for instance, teach (or take classes for an extended period), shall not be asked to coach athletics or dramatics or debating, shall not be a formal adviser to any Academy organization. The Academy house provided shall not contain students. The nature and extent of the writer's involvement with Academy purposes and with Academy students are to be determined (except for the above prohibitions) more by the writer's own interest and good will than by Academy demand.

During the tenure of the Fellowship the writer shall not have any other full- or part-time job, and cannot be actively enrolled in a degree program in any college or graduate school.


The Academy will provide, for the academic year, a house or an apartment (furnished, if necessary), depending upon the needs of the writer. The writer and the writer's family may take meals in the Academy dining hall at no expense while school is in session.


The Fellowship shall be held for the academic year. Between September and June, the writer shall be in residence whenever the Academy is in session.