Information for Applicants


At the time of application, you must meet one of the following requirements: (1) be a native Texan, (2) have resided in Texas at least three years at some time, or (3) have published significant work with a Texas subject. Those who meet requirement 1 or 2 do not have to meet the Texas subject matter restriction.

Read the letter written by a former president of the Texas Institute of Letters if you are planning to apply. The letter is in .pdf format.  To access this letter you need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. (Download free Adobe Acrobat Reader.)


Please submit applications AFTER December 1. Entries for fellowships for 2016 - 2017 must be postmarked on or before January 15, 2016.

Application fee

The application fee is $20.00 for one fellowship or $30.00 for both fellowships. If applying for both fellowships, include the $30.00 application fee with the Ralph A. Johnston Memorial Fellowship application and check the appropriate box at the top of the Johnston application form. Application fees are non-refundable.

You must submit each application and its accompanying materials in separate packets.

Make checks or money orders payable to: The University of Texas at Austin.

Application Form

Submit entries on the forms:

(1) Use Adobe Acrobat Reader to complete either application form online and then print the completed form from the web. (Download Adobe Acrobat Reader at the following web site:
(2) Send a self-addressed, envelope with sufficient postage (see note)* to the address below to request a printed copy of application materials. Address questions to Bob Wolfkill at or call (512) 232-3612.

[Note: Materials for one application require postage for 3 ounces, for both applications, 5 ounces.] Use appropriate shipping address below based on shipping method.

Number of copies

Submit three copies of the completed application and three copies of your writing sample. If applying for both fellowships, you must submit each set of three in separate packets, although they can be shipped in the same envelope or box (clearly marked).

Austin and Austin-area Applicants

The purpose of a Dobie Paisano fellowship is to provide solitude and financial support for a committed writer. The fellowship requires full-time residency at the ranch. It cannot be used as a part-time work site or as a temporary retreat. If you live in Austin or the Austin area, it would be useful to the judges to read of your commitment to this requirement. You can address this commitment on the application form under: "Why do you feel that you would be a suitable Paisano fellow?"

Work Submitted

Limit writing samples to no more than 50 manuscript pages. Published work, however, may be longer than 50 pages. The writing sample should reflect your best work and be indicative of the type of writing you would pursue at Paisano. [NOTE: Supporting work is permitted but is included in the 50-page limit. Judges will read only the first 50 pages submitted. See page 5 of the application for more information.]


Among criteria on which judges make the awards: quality of work, character of the proposed project, and suitability of the applicant to life at Paisano.

The fellowship is designed as an opportunity for writers who can demonstrate exceptional writing ability and a clear idea of a project to be pursued within the time frame.

Description of Fellowships

The fellowships are the Ralph A. Johnston Memorial Fellowship and the Jesse H. Jones Writing Fellowship. The residency for the Johnston Fellowship is for September 1 - December 31 with a stipend of $6250 per month. It is aimed at writers who have already demonstrated some publishing and critical success. The residency for the Jones Fellowship is for February 1 - July 31 with a stipend of $3000 per month. It is aimed at, but not limited to, writers who are early in their careers. Length of residency may change for maintenance or program needs.


The house is simply but adequately furnished. Fellows need provide only such personal belongings as they choose. The University of Texas at Austin provides utilities (except for long-distance telephone), maintenance and basic Internet service. Because of the very rural location of the ranch, Internet access may become unstable at times due to weather and other circumstances beyond our control. Additionally, the road is unpaved with two gates which must remain locked at all times. On occasion, Barton Creek can flood and become temporarily impassable (see letter from TIL).


Judges for the competition are selected each year by The University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Institute of Letters. There will be different judging panels for each fellowship.


Personal recommendations are not requested and are not included in applicant files.

Announcement of Winners

Winners are announced in mid-May and in June all applicants are notified of the results via email. Applicants do not receive any critique of their entries, nor is there ranking of applicants beyond the winners and first and second runners-up.

Submit Applications

US Postal Service
The Graduate School
The University of Texas at Austin
110 Inner Campus Drive Stop G0400
Austin, Texas 78712-0531
Attn: Dobie Paisano Program
Phone: (512) 232-3612
Overnight Delivery (or ship methods other than US Postal Service)
The University of Texas at Austin
The Graduate School -
110 Inner Campus Drive, Main Bldg. 101
Austin, TX 78712
Attn: Dobie Paisano Program
Phone: (512) 232-3612

Entries will not be returned unless you check "Return" on the application and enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope with sufficient postage and large enough to accommodate your materials.

Address questions to Bob Wolfkill at or the US Postal Service address above; or call (512) 232-3612 or fax (512) 471-7620.