Former student Brenda Marie Smith’s novel If Darkness Takes Us won the 2018 Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest and will be published on October 15th. Brenda says of her writing journey, “I didn’t get to take classes or start writing until my kids were grown, and it took me thirteen more years to self-publish my first novel, Something Radiates, and another five years to win a novel contest and get a publisher, which is success enough for me. Aspiring writers should know to never, ever give up.”

Of her experience in the Writers’ Program, she says, “I got a very solid foundation for drama and fiction in my UCLA Extension writing classes. I started my first novel in Intro to Fiction with Roberta Morris, continued it through Novel I & II with Caroline Leavitt and Dennis Foley, then even developed the drama in Terry Borst’s screenwriting class: all great teachers who made me believe I could write novels.”

Congratulations, Brenda! If you have a success story, we want to hear about it! Click here.

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