Our scholarship program is twofold:
1.) We provide financial assistance to teachers, librarians, writers, and students in order to subsidize the costs of attending the seminar and/or writers’ workshop program. Financial assistance is need-based, and is primarily given in the form of fee reductions. We may also provide discounted lodging options to a limited number of applicants.
2.) We offer three named awards to honor emerging writers of exceptional merit. Winners of the Joyce Horton Johnson Fiction Award, the Scotti Merrill Memorial Award, and the Marianne Russo Award receive full tuition to our January seminar and workshop program, round-trip airfare, seven nights’ lodging, support for living expenses while in Key West, and the opportunity to appear on stage during the Seminar.
Financial assistance to teachers, librarians, writers, and students is possible in large part thanks to generous support from Judy Blume’s KIDS Fund.
The Johnson, Merrill, and Russo awards are the legacies of the remarkable individuals for whom they are named; and a testament to the generosity of the patrons whose endowments will support them for the foreseeable future:
Joyce Horton Johnson is a writer and regular seminar attendee, who felt moved to enable new writers to benefit from the seminar and workshop program. She and her husband, the sculptor Seward Johnson, winter in Key West and are generous patrons of the arts. As founder of the Dogwood Foundation, Scotti Merrill first convinced its trustees to support KWLS many years ago. Together with Dogwood, her daughter Holly Merrill endowed this award as Scotti’s lasting legacy to arts and education. Marianne Russo was a teacher, writer, and longtime friend of KWLS. Her devoted friend Peyton Evans, who endowed this prize in partnership with the Rodel Foundation, remarks: “It is most appropriate that this will be Marianne’s permanent legacy, perpetuating her love of writing and the deep connections she made with people.”
In six years, we have provided support to more than 275 individuals with nearly $250,000 in fee waivers and lodging and travel assistance.