Beloved former Writers’ Program instructor Claire Carmichael may have retired from classroom teaching, but she continues to make a huge impact on students via the scholarship she established last year.

What was her motivation to create a scholarship?

During my two decades of classroom teaching for the Writers’ Program, many gifted students have come to me with the same unwelcome news,” explains Claire. “Although they valued the workshops highly, financial pressures made it impossible for them to continue on.”

In the past, Claire could only commiserate with those students, but that all changed in 2015 because that’s when Claire made the decision to remove the financial barrier and generously fund the Claire Carmichael Scholarship in Novel Writing.

Designed specifically for budding novelists, the scholarship is open to students who have completed at least one full-length (10-week) course in novel writing or at least one Mentorship session in the Writers’ Program within the past 18 months AND also have at least 10 pages of a novel-in-progress (young adult, genre, and literary fiction is included). See application for full eligibility requirements. Based on the strength of their writing, up to 6 recipients are awarded the scholarship which provides 3 full-length Writers’ Program courses to be taken in 2017. At the end of the year-long program, recipients are invited to submit 75-100 pages for review. And, based on the quality of their submission, one talented scholar will receive a two-month mentorship valued at $2590 with Writers’ Program instructor Lynn Hightower.

So how does one land this dream scholarship?

The judges, Claire says, “will be looking at the overall quality of the submission, the potential and the drive to become an excellent writer, and a command of language (vocabulary, grammatical structures, and punctuation). Last, but certainly not least, they’ll be looking for talent –- it shines through at whatever stage a writer has reached.”

Here’s what some of the current scholars have to say about the Claire Carmichael Scholarship.

“The scholarship has provided the means to further my studies at the Writers’ Program, enabling me to be a part of a community of dedicated readers, writers, and critical thinkers. The support and feedback of my instructors and colleagues has been invaluable in crafting and refining my novel.” ~Michael Sudmeier, 2015 recipient

“Receiving the scholarship has put me back in the support net of other writers, so I could finish, after ten years (!), my first novel. I send it to agents this week. It also opened up the genres of narrative nonfiction and short fiction to me, and I’ve started submitting new short work to magazines.” ~Jennifer Carson, 2015 recipient

“The Claire Carmichael Scholarship in Novel Writing has propelled me forward into a world of amazing instructors and fellow writers, and I’m excited to say that I’ve just completed my first novel.” ~Pamela Blankenship, 2015 recipient

Anyone who is serious about writing a novel would be wise to apply. The application process is simple: 1) review the application and eligibility requirements and confirm you meet them, 2) fill out the application form, write two short essays and select the 10 best consecutive pages of your novel-in-progress, and 3) email your materials to

Don’t miss out! Applications are due by 5pm PST on Wednesday, August 31st. If you have any questions, please contact Katy Flaherty at or 310-206-0951.

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