Congratulations are in order for the six recipients of the Claire Carmichael Scholarship in Novel WritingClaire Carmichael has taught over 90 courses and mentorships for the Writers’ Program since 1994, has helped numerous students get published, and is a UCLA Extension Distinguished Instructor.  She created the scholarship to provide promising novelists an opportunity to work on their novels-in-progress in a supportive, educational environment.
Let’s meet the winners and find out what winning the scholarship means to each of them!

Chinyere Nwodim
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Title of work: Pitchfork Falls
I am so honored to have been selected for the 2017 Claire Carmichael Scholarship in Novel Writing. My work reflects my desire to represent diverse protagonists in literature. Receiving this award will help me hone my skills as a writer within the supportive environment of UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and continue towards that goal.”

Nithya Kubendran
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Title of work: Songs Without Words
“Such diverse groups of students make up the classes in the Writers’ Program. People from all sorts of disparate backgrounds cohere into community here, and I’m deeply appreciative of this chance to participate in, engage with, and be shaped by that over the next year.”

Indra Zuno
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Title of work: Freedom Dues
“[Becoming a recipient means] the five years I’ve dedicated to my book have not been wasted time. It means someone else, someone objective and more knowledgeable than I, believes in its potential.”

Rhonda Filipan
Location: Stow, Ohio
Title of work: Steel Town Girl
“I am so grateful to UCLA Extension for choosing me as one of the 2017 recipients of the Claire Carmichael Scholarship in Novel Writing.  Not only does this award validate me as a writer, it also gives me confidence and motivation to move forward with my book.  I grew up in the rust belt of northeast Ohio in the shadows of steel mills, and my working-class characters share my outlook and my values.  People might describe me as a goal setter: I’ve earned two Master’s degrees and a PhD, and I’m proud to be employed for 25+ years in Ohio’s public higher education system.  But I’m excited—and ready—to work on new goals: earning a Certificate in Fiction Writing at UCLA Extension and completing my first novel. Winning the Claire Carmichael Scholarship in Novel Writing makes this all possible! I am eager to enroll in my three online classes in the Writers’ Program and look forward to interacting with inspirational instructors and talented students. Thank you so much for this opportunity!”

Francesca McCaffery
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Title of work: Casa del Rio
“For me, the Claire Carmichael Scholarship came at such a pivotal time in my writing process. The validation is tremendous for me. I am beyond thrilled to be able to take these new classes. They will absolutely help me shape and finish the drafts I need to complete, and I know I will be around many of the same writers who have now become good friends. The Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension is a wonderfully close-knit community, with instructors who are genuinely so talented and invested in our progress. I feel so fortunate, proud and excited to move forward with my novel. Thank you, UCLA Extension!”

Michele Beller
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Title of work: The Trouble with Virginia
“For me, winning the Claire Carmichael Scholarship means that I will be able to consecutively continue the AWESOME novel-writing classes offered by the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. Specifically, I will be able to continue honing my craft and my novel-in-progress, to continue receiving the mentorship offered by the brilliant-wonderful instructors, and to continue building that supportive writer’s community I’ve found at UCLA Extension. So far, I have taken one class, Novel III with Mark Sarvas; the things I learned and the progress I saw with my novel were so remarkable it’s hard to put into words. My goal is to have a completed first draft by the end of the scholarship, and based on that one experience, I have no doubt that I will meet my goal. Thank you, Claire, and thank you, UCLA Extension!”

Bree is the Assistant to the Director and Social Media Coordinator. You can email her at

Pin It on Pinterest