Congratulations to the MCWC 2019 Scholarship Winners

By Amy Lutz, MCWC Executive Assistant

We are thrilled to welcome this year’s scholarship winners to MCWC! The following writers were selected out of a highly competitive field of almost eighty applicants. We asked them to tell us a little about their current project and/or what they hope to get out of their conference experience.

Scholarships strengthen the MCWC community by bringing in talented individuals who may not be able to attend otherwise. These opportunities would not be possible without the support of our generous donors. We cannot thank them enough!



Darrel Alejandro Holnes is a poet, playwright, writer, and researcher from Panama City, Panama, and the former Panama Canal Zone. He is the recipient of a 2019 National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry and fellowships or scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Cave Canem, CantoMundo, and others. His poetry has been awarded the C.P. Cavafy Prize from Poetry International and was a finalist for the National Poetry Series, BOAAT Poetry Prize, Cave Canem Poetry Prize, Pushcart Prize in Poetry, and others. His poetry has been published in American Poetry Review, Poetry Magazine, Callaloo, Best American Experimental Writing, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere in print and online. 

Darrel writes: “I am writing a novel based in Panama City, Panama across several decades. I really enjoyed reading Ingrid Rojas Contreras’s book Fruit of the Drunken Tree and look forward to working with her on excerpts of my novel. “


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Gail Ansel completed her first novel, JENN & POLLY, in the Stanford Novel Writing Certificate Program. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Whirlwind Magazine and the Noyo River Review. She is at work on her second novel about the life-long consequences of losing custody of a child to adoption.

Gail writes: “I so loved the warmth and support I found at MCWC my first time in 2018, I invited ten of my friends for 2019. I’m workshopping my second novel, Suzanne, Finally with Ingrid Rojas Contreras, using the July deadline to kick some serious third draft magic. I write about women’s choice, voice and agency.”



Lisa Manterfield is the award-winning author of Adult and Young Adult fiction. Her work has appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Los Angeles Times, and Psychology Today. Originally from northern England, she now lives in Santa Rosa, California with her husband and over-indulged cat.

Lisa writes: “My current project is a psychological suspense about a teen searching for answers about her twin sister’s murder. I’m doing final revisions on this project right now, so I’m looking forward to working on something new at the conference. I have a few ideas bubbling away, and I’m anxious to see which one catches fire.”


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Leah Parman lives in San Francisco with her teenage daughters. She is many things, and is still becoming. In her stolen time, she is working on a piece about identity, denial, power, shame, courage, sexual dynamics, forgiveness, and transformation in the context of domestic abuse.

Leah writes: “I can’t wait to escape to the Mendocino coast to connect with other writers and nurture the writer in myself.”



Valerie Wallace is the author of House of McQueen, selected by Vievee Francis for the Four Way Books Intro Prize (Spring 2018), and the chapbook The Dictators’ Guide to Good Housekeeping. Margaret Atwood chose 10 of her poems for the Atty Award and she has received an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award and the San Miguel Writers’ Conference Poetry Award. 

Valerie writes: “I’m so excited to meet other writers, work with Victoria Chang, develop new work for my next book, and of course, go for coastal walks. My first book came out a year ago, and I’ve spent a great deal of my creative time in the past year traveling and giving readings. I’m eager to be among writers and to have space and time to generate new work, and affirm daily writing habits.”

Soroptimists International of Fort Bragg Nonfiction Scholarship

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Juliet Gelfman-Randazzo is a writer and audio-producer living in the Bay Area. She is the co-creator of Debutakes, a podcast about two women trying desperately to get onto a red carpet, and she produces audio for the Bay Area radio producers The Kitchen Sisters. She also works for City Arts & Lectures in San Francisco, and contributes to fields magazine. She is currently working on a television pilot about the apocalypse.

Juliet writes: “The piece I’ll be workshopping at the conference is titled ‘Critical Clothing,’ and begins with my lifetime obsession with being a spy. It is also about clothes. Barthes and Eileen Myles are on my reading syllabus, and so are Patti Smith and a guide for medieval anchoresses.”


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Adriane Tharp is a writer, dancer, and novice conservationist. She grew up in Alabama and currently lives in Connecticut, though not for much longer. Her writing can be found in DIAGRAM, Cream City Review, and The New York Times.

Adriane writes: “I’m currently working on a collection of speculative short stories about women in rural Alabama.”

Theresa Connelly Scholarship


Jasmin ‘Iolani Hakes is a writer from the Big Island of Hawaii now living in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee. Her novel in progress, Hula, won the Southern California Writers Conference Fiction Award. She is an alumnae of the Iowa Writers Workshop Summer Program and the recipient of a Hedgebrook fellowship.

Jasmin writes: “Much of my work focuses on the connection between cultural inheritance and personal identity. During the conference I am looking forward to workshopping a memoir that tackles my complicated relationship with Hawaii and asks the question: who are you if where you’re from doesn’t exist?”

Hether Ludwick First Taste Scholarship


Minyoung Lee is a writer living in San Francisco, CA with her well-traveled calico cat, Matisse. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in MoonPark Review, Riggwelter, Brilliant Flash Fiction, and The Drabble.

Minyoung writes: “I write flash fiction, short stories, and creative non-fiction focused around themes of grief and loss. During the conference, I hope to explore my fears in writing with Shobha Rao and build a writing community that I can grow with in the future.”

Voices of Diversity Scholarship


Nay Saysourinho is the daughter of Lao refugees who immigrated to Montréal in the late 70’s. She has received fellowships from One Story, Kundiman and the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. She is a Tin House Summer Workshop alumna and her writing can be found in The Funambulist and The Margins, and is forthcoming in the Kenyon Review Online.

Nay writes: “I am currently working on a novel about endangered species in Southeast Asia, but will be workshopping a work of creative non-fiction during the conference.”

Under-30 Scholarship


L. A. Johnson is from California. She is the author of the chapbook Little Climates (Bull City Press, 2017). She is currently pursuing her PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Southern California, where she is a Provost’s Fellow. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in the Alaska Quarterly Review, The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, TriQuarterly, and other journals.

L. A. writes: “I’m hoping to workshop new poems that address female desire through an exploration of California’s landscapes. I’m looking forward to meeting other writers and broadening my writing community!”


All High School Student Writer Scholarship recipients are residents of the Mendocino Coast.

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Maxwell Brown

Maxwell writes: “What I would hope to get out of this conference is to connect more with my inner writing spirit and gain more confidence in my writing, as well as improve my current skills in general.”


Amethyst Douglas

Amethyst writes: “By attending MCWC, I hope to further develop my personal writing style and creative skills. I am also looking forward to meeting other people who have the same passion for writing as I do.”

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Rhiannon Hawthorn

Rhiannon writes: “In the writer’s conference, I’d love to learn more on how to become a better poet and share my poems for feedback. I have a great passion for writing poetry and I would love this opportunity to be in the conference.”


Jaden Valentine

Jaden writes: “I want to take this opportunity to really dive into my inner writer and learn more about myself. I want to grow with the help and guidance of those more advanced than I am.”


Molly Windsor-Marshall

Molly writes: “This conference is an opportunity of which I plan to take full advantage. I want to soak-up any knowledge you’ll give me, as well as see where other writers of all ages are on their journeys. I am grateful for this chance to develop my skills, as well as receive and give feedback.”

If you would like to join the scholarship winners at MCWC 2019, you can register now at There are still a few seats available in many of our workshops. And if you would like to support our scholarship program, please consider donating to MCWC at