2021 BIO Frances “Frank” Rollin Fellowship for All Biographers Anywhere in the World

Deadline: February 1, 2021.

The Frances “Frank” Rollin Fellowship awards $2,000 to an author working on a biographical work about an African American figure or figures whose story provides a significant contribution to our understanding of the Black experience. This fellowship also provides the recipient with a year’s membership in BIO, registration to the annual BIO conference, and publicity through BIO’s marketing channels.

The Rollin Fellowship aims to remediate the disproportionate scarcity and even suppression of Black lives and voices in the broad catalog of published biography. This fellowship reflects not only BIO’s commitment to supporting working biographers but to encouraging diversity in the field.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Memoirs are not eligible.


Award of $2,000 


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 may be a .doc or 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.

OFFICIAL LINK: https://biographersinternational.org/award/the-frances-frank-rollin-fellowship/#apply

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