With the school year coming to a close, many young writers are brainstorming the best ways to maximize writing time this summer. Storytelling is a great way to be creative and express oneself for the reasonably low price of a notebook or word processor. However, when one becomes serious about writing and wants to either receive higher education or seek publication, the formerly inexpensive hobby grows into a costly investment.
Fortunately, many of the most popular writers today faced a similar struggle when they started out and have since created foundations or scholarships to give back and support young writers. While some of the resources listed here are intended for individuals, others only offer support for communities, and some resources feature limited eligibility via geography or specific demographics. The guidelines and deadlines for each resource can be found on their respective websites. Without further ado, here are eight scholarship, grant, and writing resources for young writers that can help turn the writing dream into a reality.
The immensely prolific King of Horror established the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, a non-profit organization that offers grants to community service projects based in Maine. The Foundation supports projects related to libraries, literature, the arts, education, historical and conservation projects, as well as public health and safety.
Popular with children and adults alike, author James Patterson’s family foundation established the James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarship, which is given to undergraduate or graduate students studying education with the intention of becoming teachers. This scholarship currently supports students attending 11 different universities, including Howard University and University of Southern California.
In 2000, Unsheltered author Barbara Kingsolver created the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. This prize is awarded biennially to an unpublished fiction manuscript that features themes of social justice and the effects of politics and culture on human relationships. The award is $25,000 and publication by Algonquin Books.
Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale, and her novelist partner Graeme Gibson created the Atwood Gibson Writer’s Trust Fiction Prize, which awards $60,000 annually to the best-published novel or short story collection by a Canadian author. The finalists for the prize also receive $5,000.
National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson created Baldwin For The Arts, a non-profit organization that offers a residency fellowship and writer’s retreat to Global Majority writers. Located 60 miles north of New York City, this residency allows writers to connect with nature, improve and share their work, and engage with other fellows.
In 1994, the Nobel laureate Toni Morrison established the Princeton Atelier, a seminar program at Princeton University that encourages the production of new work in the fields of visual art, music, theater, dance, and creative writing. Past guests at the seminar include the cellist Yo-Yo Ma and novelist Gabriel García Márquez.
Dominican-American writer Junot Díaz is a co-founder of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation, which creates programs to help writers of color get their work in the world and advocate for teaching, diversity, and social justice. Their programming includes craft intensives and workshops for writers to share their experiences and improve their writing.
Award-winning writer Sandra Cisneros founded the Macondo Writer’s Workshop, named for the village in One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. This workshop invites writers and activists of all kinds to improve their craft and share their work with one another in an accepting environment.
Whether you are young or young at heart, if you have a desire to see your words in print, the financial obstacles of university or publication should not be the reason that dream is deferred. Writing is a solitary activity, but writers are never truly alone. There are so many writers eager to share the joy of storytelling with others, and it is this sense of community that allows diverse and beautiful voices to be heard.
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