Jean Ritchie Fellowship

 Through literature, a region tells stories to its citizens and the world. The Jean Ritchie Fellowship seeks to support, encourage and honor writers from the Southern Appalachians. 

The fellowship is named in honor of Jean Ritchie, the award-winning musician and writer who died on June 2, 2015.  Besides being an internationally known singer, songwriter, activist and musicologist, Ritchie was also the author of several books. Ritchie's best-known work is Singing Family of the Cumberlands. The book has never been out of print since its 1955 publication and is known as one of the major classics in Appalachian literature.

This fellowship has been awarded through LMU’s annual Mountain Heritage Literary Festival, which honors writers of the region like James Still and Jesse Stuart, both alums of LMU. The judging process is completely blind.


The fellowship is the first of its kind for the region's writers and is committed to Appalachian voices.

The fellowship strives to support artists who, like Ritchie, create works of beauty and social relevance, while honoring traditional heritage and forging a new path.

Award amount: $1,500

Click here for guidelines.

Past Fellowship winners

2008 - Mindy Beth Miller from Hazard, Kentucky
2009 - Larry Bingham of Portland, Oregon
2010 - Katie Perry of Austin, Texas
2011 - Tiffany Williams of McRoberts, Kentucky
2012 - Amy Clark of Big Stone Gap, Virginia
2013 - Charles Dodd White of Candler, North Carolina
2014 - Mesha Maren of Alderson, West Virginia
2015 - Jim Minick, Georgia
2016 - Shawna Kay Rodenberg, Indiana
2017 - John C. Mannone, Tennessee
2018 - Noah Davis, Indiana




For more information contact
Patrick Wensink
Director of Mountain Heritage Literary Festival
Lincoln Memorial University
Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752
[email protected]