Call for Applications | Frances "Frank" Rollin Fellowship

The Frances “Frank” Rollin Fellowship — of the Biographers International Organization, aka BIO — awards $5,000 each to two authors 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 recipients with a year’s membership in BIO, registration to the annual BIO Conference, and publicity through BIO’s marketing channels.

The Frances “Frank” Rollin Fellowship for African American Biography is named for one of the first known African American biographers. Its namesake, Frances Anne Rollin Whipper (1845-1901) — who wrote under her nickname-turned-pen name “Frank A. Rollin” — was a 19th century author and activist. Her groundbreaking 1868 biography, Life and Public Services of Martin R. Delany, was about a Black abolitionist journalist, physician and Union Army officer. Reception to her book in the Black press fueled a call for more biographies of African Americans. This fellowship, in her honor, seeks to carry on that call.

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.