The Rudolph William Rosati Visiting Writer Program

The Rosati Fellowship provides support for a creative writer to conduct research during a 3-week residency in the Duke University Libraries, which include the Perkins & Bostock Libraries (our primary research library); the Lilly Library (art, film, and performing arts); the Biddle Music Library ; and the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library . The Rosati Fellowship is awarded biennially, and was awarded for the first time in 2015-16.

The 2019-20 Rosati Visiting Writer:
Harrison David Rivers

We are very pleased to welcome St. Paul, Minnesota-based playwright Harrison David Rivers to the Libraries and to Duke. Mr. Rivers is the recipient of Relentless and GLAAD Media Awards, McKnight, Jerome, and Van Lier Fellowships and numerous residencies. His award-winning plays have been produced at theaters around the country and he is an alum of the Public Theater's Emerging Writers' Group, NAMT, and The Lincoln Center Director's Lab.

Mr. Rivers will be in residence at Duke University January 30-February 20, 2020 and will be giving a public reading at 4:00pm on Wednesday, February 5th in the Holsti Family Assembly Room, Rubenstein Library 153; a master class for undergraduate creative writers on playwrighting and adaptation; and will also be available to meet with students by appointment (please contact to schedule). 

Harrison David Rivers

I write for the theater because theater is the most human thing I know.
I write to assert my humanity in a country that tells me
[and others who look like me]
that our lives don’t matter.
I write to assert that my black queer body
[and other black queer bodies]
are worthy of narrative space.... (from artistic statement)

The Rosati Fellowship encourages the creative use of the Duke University Libraries’ world-class collections and fosters undergraduate creative writing by creating new learning opportunities for Duke University students. The Rosati Fellow will be given significant time to conduct research in our collections as well as dedicated space for writing. Additionally, the Rosati Fellow will have the opportunity to give a public reading of his or her work at Duke University and to conduct a master class for Duke University undergraduates.

We welcome applications from writers who work in a wide variety of creative forms. These will include, but are not limited to, fiction, drama, poetry, screenwriting, and creative non-fiction. Forms of writing that will not be considered for this fellowship are academic writing (such as scholarly articles and monographs), journalism, and technical writing.

Fellowship Includes

  • $7,500, plus the cost of travel within the U.S., for a 3-week residency at Duke. Accommodations are not included.
  • Access to the rich resources of the Duke University Libraries, including one-on-one research consultations with our subject librarians and curators.
  • An individual study office in the Rubenstein Library, which is immediately adjacent to Perkins & Bostock Libraries on Duke’s beautiful West Campus. 

Fellowship Requirements

  • The Rosati Fellow will give a single master class in writing for creative writing students (or other relevant student group). A description of this class should be included in the application materials.
  • The Rosati Fellow will give a public reading of his/her work at Duke University, to be arranged by the Rosati Committee.
  • The Rosati Fellow must live more than 100 miles outside of Durham, NC.  

Judging and Criteria

  • Applicants will be reviewed by the Rosati Committee, a committee comprised of two Duke faculty members and two Duke librarians. Faculty membership on this committee rotates biennially.
  • Applicants will be evaluated on their past achievements as well as the strengths of both the research proposal and master class proposal.
  • Applicants should provide some evidence of the ability to lead a classroom discussion.

Application Process

The complete application package includes:

  • Current resume or CV, including a list of any publications, awards, scholarships, or grants received, in PDF format.
  • Research Proposal: a one-page description of your current writing project and how your time in the Duke University Libraries will be spent. Please note which library collections will be most useful for your project.
  • Master Class Proposal: a one-page description of a single session for Duke University undergraduates interested in creative writing.
  • Name and contact information for at least one professional reference.

Please submit completed applications here .

Deadlines and Dates

  • Fellowship posted April 2021, Duke campus access and NC public health policies permitting.
  • Applications due by May 15, 2021.
  • Review of applications May-June 2021.
  • Recipient will be notified by July 1, 2021.
  • Fellowship is to take place no earlier than September 1, 2021 and should be completed by May 1, 2022, with final dates to be negotiated with the Libraries, and in accordance with current COVID-related policies for non-Duke visitors to campus.

For More Information

Contact Sara Seten Berghausen, Associate Curator of Collections, Rubenstein Library (


The Rudolph William Rosati endowment was established at Duke in 1978 “to encourage, advance and reward creative writing among students at the University and particularly among undergraduate students," and was funded by Walter McGowan Upchurch, a former member of the Duke University Board of Trustees, to honor his friend.