The fellowship is open to all biographers anywhere in the world who are writing in English, who are working on a biography of an African American figure (or figures), and who are at any stage in the writing of a book-length biography. A publishing contract is not required for eligibility. Biography as defined for this prize is a narrative of an individual’s life or the story of a group of lives. Innovative ways of treating a life (or lives) will be considered at the committee’s discretion. Memoirs are not eligible.


Complete the online entry form. (Please note that the form can be tricky. When filling out one’s address, for example, “city” and “state” go in the boxes above the words, not below.)

Upload the following submission materials in a single document:

  • Project description (500 words or less): provide a synopsis of the biography and explain how this biographical work fits into the mission of the Rollin Fellowship
  • Statement of need (500 words or less): describe where you are in the process of writing and how you and your work would benefit from the Rollin Fellowship; if your work is not yet under contract, please include your plans for publication
  • Author bio (500 words or less)
  • Excerpt from your manuscript (no more than 20 pages)

Your document should be double-spaced, with 12-point type and standard margins. The document must be a PDF.

Sign the online entry form by checking the box affirming your understanding of the rules and procedures.

There is no application fee for this fellowship.

You will receive an acknowledgment of your entry within several days. If you do not, please contact Michael Gately.


The deadline for entries is March 1, 2022. Receipt of all applications will be acknowledged by email. The fellowship winner will be announced by early May. Formal announcement of the winner will be made at the annual conference.

In submitting this prize entry form, you agree to all the terms and conditions of the BIO Rollin Fellowship You also affirm that the work you are submitting is in progress and will not be in production at the time of the annual BIO conference.  Only one entry per applicant is allowed. In submitting this entry form, you affirm that you are the sole author (or, if co-authored, authors) of the work being submitted. In the event that you are the winner, you affirm that you will make your best effort to publish your work, and that you will acknowledge the support of BIO’s Rollin Fellowship upon publication. All decisions by the judges are final.

Application deadline: March 1, 2022

More information and apply