{Secret Library Podcast} Steven Tagle on Fulbrights for Writers

Steven Tagle wants every writer to know about the Fulbright

A few episodes ago, when Patricia Park was on the show, she mentioned something that made my ears perk up: that she had researched the portion of her book that took place in Korea by applying for and receiving a Fullbright Fellowship. For my listeners abroad: You DON’T have to be a US citizen to apply.

I never knew this was an option for writers, so of course I was dying to know more and share on the show. When a friend introduced me to Steven, I knew I had the perfect resource. Steven spent a year in Greece, researching mythology for his project to re-write myths in light of modern issues facing Greece: the financial crisis and other parts of modern Greek life. As his gorgeous Instagram attests, a year in Greece fueled him tremendously as a writer and has given him ideas for countless new projects.

In this episode we explore the practical steps to applying for a Fullbright, how Steven researched which country he chose to apply to, and how the year away impacted him as a person and as a writer. To say I was ready to leap into the application process after this conversation is a massive understatement. I hope you explore these options as well and I can’t wait to hear about the books inspired by travel and explorations abroad.

Listen up on iTunes | Fulbright Website U.S. | Fulbright Website Rest of World | Steven’s Site | Steven’s Twitter | Steven’s Instagram

Discussed in Episode 75 with Steven Tagle:

  • Getting a Fulbright to research your novel
  • Where to find application strategies and award statistics for Fulbrights
  • Steven’s personal process for securing his Fulbright
  • Choosing a country to study abroad in
  • Different countries have different language requirements
  • Fulbright is flexible – they know your project will change as you spend time in the new country
  • “When I first arrived in Greece… I felt like I didn’t have the right yet to write about it.”
  •  A new culture’s inspiration for absorbing, collecting, and gathering raw material
  • The tension between writing while in Greece and just absorbing the culture, and how Steven chose what to prioritize
  • On challenging himself to be open and to say yes to new experiences, different from how he lives in the States
  • On learning to trust others and try on different parts of himself
  • “It allowed me to test the boundaries of what I conceived of as myself.”
  • Viewing the Fulbright application as building a bridge between where you are and where you want to go
  • The new projects that can be created from the scholar experience


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