Applications Open for 2020 National Critics Institute

One of the O'Neill's longest-running programs, the National Critics Institute is the only workshop in the country designed for arts writers, journalists, and cultural critics to strengthen their skills in an increasingly competitive and fast-paced industry. Director Chris Jones, chief theater critic and culture columnist for the Chicago Tribune, offers a two-week intensive course of study for writers of all experience levels, especially for those in mid-career. However, each year a small number of young and aspiring critics join the group as well.

 Here’s what you need to know about applying for the 2020 National Critics Institute: 

  • Applications will be accepted from March 2 to April 2, 2020. All applications are due by April 2 at 11:59pm PST, and early submissions are encouraged. 
  • Those selected will be invited to attend a two-week residency at the O'Neill in Waterford, CT from June 27 - July 11, 2020.  
  • You can access the application online through the O’Neill website, and there is no application fee. 
  • We enthusiastically encourage women, nonbinary folks, and writers of color to apply. 
  • New for 2020 and thanks to the generosity of John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, applicants who live and work in 26 Knight communities across the U.S. may be eligible for a grant to fully support their participation at NCI. The full list of Knight Foundation communities can be found on the NCI website, as well as the 2020 NCI application form itself.
Our website is a terrific resource for folks interested in learning more. There, we’ve provided a full description of the program, and a comprehensive application prep-list. You can check it out all out here:

For more updates about the 2020 National Critics Institute, please follow the O’Neill on social media — and encourage your friends to do the same. If you have any questions about applying to the National Critics Institute that aren’t addressed here or on our website, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the O’Neill Literary Office, too.