By Amy Lutz, MCWC Editorial Assistant
If you are thinking about applying for a scholarship to MCWC 2018, now is the time to act. Or if you know of anybody who has never been to MCWC, now is the time to pass along this newsletter. Our First-Taste and Diversity scholarships are under-subscribed, so if you know somebody who would be a great addition to our community, please send this notice their way.
Applications are only open for two more weeks, and our merit-based scholarships provide more than financial aid—as juried validation of your writing skill, they are a great way to start building your author’s platform. But you don’t have to take our word for it. We spoke with some MCWC 2017 scholarship recipients about how receiving a scholarship benefited them.
“Receiving the scholarship removed the financial burden that would’ve been lingering in the back of my mind the whole time I was at the conference,” said Leslie Henderson. “Thoughts like, ‘Is this conference a worthy investment of my time and limited resources?’ were immediately resolved.”
Jonathan Cardew was able to travel from Wisconsin to Mendocino because of the scholarship he received. But the benefit went beyond the money. “Creatively-speaking, it was a very welcome boost to my confidence, knowing that a committee had read my sample and offered the scholarship based on merit,” he said. “The writing life is littered with rejection and doubt, so these spikes of acceptances and awards really do go a long way in motivating you to continue.”
Helena Kim flew in from out of state as well. “The scholarship made it possible for me to attend the conference, without which I would have had a difficult time financially, especially since I had to travel from Hawaii.” A seasoned writer and National Book Award finalist, Helena appreciated the opportunity to attend MCWC 2017 because it reconnected her with a writing community. “The conference gave me a chance to get back into the literary loop and find out what’s going on in that world. I was pleasantly surprised by a strong sense of community that felt authentic and very supportive on every level.”
One of our scholarship recipients, Nicole Abdinghoff, traveled all the way from Germany. “I was very flattered that I received a scholarship for the very first piece of work I ever shared,” she said. “MCWC 2017 was the first writing conference I attended. From the very beginning I had the feeling that everybody was part of one big community and that it didn’t make a difference if you were attending for the first or the 20th time. Everybody was equally welcome. I was pleased to meet so many wonderful and smart people who shared their ideas, stories, and memories by writing, and who also showed interest in my person and my work.”
Kelly Grogan also commented on the strong sense of community at MCWC 2017, especially in the Master Class workshop she attended. “I wanted to apply to the Master Class because I felt that it would be potentially more intimate and rigorous than another workshop. I was not disappointed at all! The class was warm and supportive, but we offered critical feedback that challenged and inspired each other to strive for better use of craft. There was a sincere feeling of community and connection in the workshop, and in such a short span of time—it was remarkable to experience.”
Leslie agreed that the writers she met at MCWC 2017 and the sense of community made the experience invaluable. “I felt as though I was taken seriously as a writer at MCWC. The people I met at the conference were from all walks of life and were passionate about their writing pursuits. They were friendly, encouraging, and not afraid to give or receive constructive feedback. I was also surprised at how friendly and approachable the panelists and industry pros were towards attendees!”
When asked what advice they might have for writers applying for scholarships, the answer from all the scholarship recipients was a resounding, “Just do it!”
“I sent my application in, I must admit, with little hope of actually being successful. I sent my best stuff and gave it a shot. That’s my advice: give it a shot!” said Jonathan.
Nicole said, “I highly recommend MCWC to any writer, no matter the passport you hold. Like everything else, writing has become a global business and it is always a good idea to have a look at how things are done in other countries.”
“My advice,” added Helena, “is not to be shy about applying for a scholarship. It not only helps with financial matters, but also, with one’s morale. And my advice to other seasoned writers is that it helps to keep going to conferences and exposing oneself to the literary community and current literary world.”
To take advantage of the wide range of scholarships we are offering this year for MCWC 2018, visit mcwc.org. You can also apply for the MCWC 2018 Master Class: The Art of Fiction. This juried-in workshop, restricted to only twelve participants, will be taught by National Book Award nominee Elizabeth McKenzie and requires a separate application.
Hurry, applications close February 15, and no late submissions will be accepted! Don’t let this opportunity pass by. As Kelly says, “The chance to be around other writers, and to dedicate time to focus purely on your craft and passion for writing, is always worth it!”
If you are a past scholarship winner and not eligible this year, please pass along this newsletter and encourage a writer friend to apply!