Disquiet Scholarship Fund

The Disquiet International Literary Program is a program for writers, by writers, offering two weeks of workshops, cultural exchange, and literary immersion in Lisbon, Portugal, with some of the most interesting and acclaimed contemporary writers from North American, Portugal, and elsewhere.

Previous guest George Saunders said, "Disquiet is, to my way of thinking, the very best program of its type in the world: intense, humane, wildly energetic, with its heart in exactly the right place." Two-time guest writer Denis Johnson called us the "world's best writing program."

Over the past eight years, Disquiet has offered hundreds of writers partial scholarships to help attend them attend the program. (Since 2014, we’ve given out around $65K per year). In our first fundraiser, we hope to endow two new full-ride scholarships in the spirit of important literary figures connected to the program: The Denis Johnson STAGAYA Scholarship and the Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen Scholarship. We'd love to have your help.

Our Story

The program takes it inspiration from The Book of Disquiet, the great Lisbon poet Fernando Pessoa’s masterpiece; from the resilient and endlessly surprising city of Lisbon itself; and from the late Portuguese poet Alberto de Lacerda, who believed above all in the importance of literary community and reaching across global boundaries.

The Disquiet program is premised on several beliefs: that the conversations and exchange of ideas between writers from around the world pushes one’s own work beyond the boundaries of the self, that all writers need a community to support and sustain them, and that stepping out of the routine of one’s daily life and into a vibrant, rich, and foreign cultural space unsettles the imagination.

We've tried to foster a little of that community, and create a space for that unsettling, with the Disquiet program - bringing writers of all skill levels together for transformative workshops, craft talks, editing seminars, literary walks, and publishing panels in the heart of our favorite city.

Our Goal:

Disquiet has always been a labor of love. And we hope you might love it enough to help us grow.

Every year, Disquiet awards one full ride scholarship (including travel stipend, tuition, and lodgings) to the winner of the Disquiet Literary Prize. Through the generosity of our partners at the Luso-American Development Foundation, we are also able to bring four Luso/Lusa-American Fellows to participate in our groundbreaking Writing the Luso Experience  workshop.

We’re asking for your help today because we’d like to create two new scholarships named for writers dear to the program and the program’s mission:

·      The Denis Johnson “STAGAYA” Scholarship will be awarded to a writer in any genre who has not yet published a book - named for the late, great Denis Johnson, who we were lucky enough to have twice as a guest writer. Denis Johnson’s advice to aspiring writers is famous. “Write naked,” he said. “Write in blood. Write from exile. ” Less well known: Denis ended most of his emails with the salutation STAGAYA, for Stay As Groovy As You Are. We will always be grateful for the time we got to spend with Denis, and and the winning writer will be someone who embodies his unconventional and uncompromising spirit, a writer who would do him proud.

·      The Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen Scholarship: for a woman writer whose work engages with themes of justice, equality, or resistance. “A poet” Sophia once said, “is someone who lives among things, who pays attention to real things.” The president during the 1960s of Disquiet's partner institution, the Centro Nacional de Cultura, her life was marked by noticing, by resistance and profound empathy. Perhaps the second greatest poet in Portuguese history, Sophia looms large over Portuguese literature. The winning writer will be someone whose promising work embodies her activist spirit.

Meeting our goal would allow us to fund two additional writers per year for three years, starting in 2019.

Donation matching!

An anonymous donor has offered to match the first $500 in donations - so every dollar you give is doubled until we hit $500!
  • Mike and Lisa Herring 
    • $1,000 
    • 47 mos
  • Megan Fernandes 
    • $50 
    • 48 mos
  • Meredith Suter-Wadley 
    • $100 
    • 48 mos
  • Brett Davis 
    • $10 
    • 49 mos
  • Jared Smith 
    • $20 
    • 49 mos
See all


Disquiet ILP 
Amherst, MA
Dzanc Books 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.

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