2024 call for Fellowship applications

The Milkweed Fellowship is grounded in our belief that books have the potential to change the way we see the world, and that equity is essential to a vibrant, diverse, and empowered literary ecosystem. This paid, one- to two-year immersion program is designed to offer the tools, experience, and exposure necessary to pursue a career in book publishing. Intended to provide an alternative route to leadership in an industry where the prerequisite to an entry-level position is typically an unpaid internship, this learning-oriented position seeks to provide entry to those historically underrepresented among workers in book publishing—Indigenous, people of color, LGBTQIA+, and those with disabilities—so they may advance, discover, and champion transformative literature for years to come. This position is based on-site in our Minneapolis office and is full time (40 hours per week, for 12–24 months), beginning in September 2024 or earlier. Compensation includes a salary of $40,000 per year, generous paid time off, and health and dental benefits.

Who we are

Milkweed Editions is one of the nation’s leading independent literary presses. Based in Minneapolis, our mission is to identify, nurture and publish transformative literature, and build an engaged community around it. As a mission-driven independent book publisher, we publish 25–30 new books of literary fiction, poetry, and nonfiction each year, as well as continuing to print and support authors published in prior years such as Robin Wall Kimmerer, Ada Limón, Fady Joudah, Jos Charles, Elizabeth Rush, and J. Drew Lanham. Our books and authors have been winners of or finalists for the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Our authors currently include six MacArthur Fellows and the U.S. Poet Laureate. Milkweed Editions is located in Open Book, a literary and book arts center that also houses Milkweed Books, our independent bookstore. Open Book is accessible by light rail and bus lines.

Responsibilities & opportunities

The 2024–25 Milkweed Fellow will be offered a holistic publishing experience, working across disciplines to learn the trade of book publishing from seasoned professionals. The Fellow will take part in all stages of our publication process, and will be closely trained for some or all of the below responsibilities. Staff mentors will work with the Fellow to develop specific goals, discover the Fellow’s strengths, and, as appropriate, we will tailor project assignments and experiences to individual interests and skills. Key responsibilities may include:

  • Text design and layout of book interiors
  • ​​Read, evaluate, and discuss submitted manuscripts
  • Design and layout communication materials for advancement and engagement
  • Research and solicit submissions and potential collaborators
  • Assist in drafting contracts and tracking payments to authors
  • Work with our editors to provide feedback on manuscripts under development
  • Proofread and fact-check manuscripts
  • Draft promotional and descriptive copy and related digital content for forthcoming titles
  • Partner with staff across team to assist on the promotion, distribution and design of new books
  • Research potential partners and new sales/event/media outlets
  • Support outreach, fundraising, and community engagement efforts
  • Participate in staff meetings
  • Correspond with authors, agents, contractors, partners, and other publishers
  • Research and write grant proposals

Who we’re looking for

  • An avid reader with abundant enthusiasm for literary community and the business of publishing
  • A creative, industrious person interested in the craft of bookmaking
  • Excellent written, verbal, and organizational skills
  • Fluency in other languages and cultures
  • A strong sense of initiative and a drive to seek out opportunities
  • A collaborative, enthusiastic team spirit
  • A commitment to increasing access to and equity in literature
  • Someone who believes in the power of books to foment change

Please let us know if you have special experience or interests in any of the following (non-required) areas: academic research, translation, grant writing, ecological community building, text design, bookselling, book reviewing, editing, Adobe Creative Suite, communication design, copywriting, fundraising, or anything that you see as relevant to this Fellowship experience.

Physical demands

Must be able to talk on and manipulate a phone, participate in meetings, type on a keyboard, sit for extended periods, and move about an accessible office, but we are open to making this position accessible for those for whom these demands may present a barrier, using the resources available to us. We’re listening.

To apply

Applicants should submit the application materials listed below as one combined PDF via Submittable. Please include your last name in the file name of your application document (i.e., Taylor_Application.pdf). Applications will be accepted March 11–May 13, 2024. Learn more about Milkweed on our website. Reach out to fellowship@milkweed.org with any questions.

  1. Cover letter answering the following questions (up to 2 pages single spaced): Why are you interested in working in the publishing industry and what areas are you most curious about? What are your career ambitions and what would help you achieve them?
  2. Résumé (1–2 pages)
  3. Writing sample: Write about the potential for literature to impact the future of humanity and the more-than-human world. Please cite specific texts. (1 page, single spaced).

We are committed to making publishing an increasingly diverse and inclusive industry. We encourage applicants of all backgrounds, races, ethnicities, gender and sexual identities, and disability statuses.

It is the policy of Milkweed Editions to afford equal employment opportunity to all individuals without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, status as a disabled veteran, status with regard to public assistance, or any other protected class recognized by applicable laws.