We will award up to twenty full scholarships to teachers and librarians who wish to attend our annual Seminar.

We seek a diverse group of individuals who are making a positive impact upon readers in their communities, and we hope that participation in our literary community will inspire fresh engagement with literature in schools and libraries around the country.

Scholarship recipients will gain exposure to contemporary authors and texts, expand their professional network of teachers, librarians, and writers, and be inspired to bring new ideas to the institutions and communities they serve. Through tours of the Key West Public Library and its archives and visits to historical sites, they will engage with the local resources and history that animate the KWLS mission.

Scholarship packages include a full waiver of the Seminar registration fee of $825 and need-based financial assistance to offset lodging costs. Upon request, we will also provide a letter to your employer encouraging financial support for your travel expenses. We are committed to making it possible for every accepted scholarship winner to be able to afford coming to Key West, so please do not hesitate to apply.

Priority will be given to those who have not previously received KWLS support.

Learn more about previous scholarship winners.

Important Dates:

We are no longer accepting applications.


Scholarships are available to all teachers and librarians in the United States. We seek a diverse group of individuals who are making a positive impact upon readers in their communities.

How to Apply

Applicants must complete a scholarship application via Submittable. Requirements are listed below:

1. Request Letter:

Please tell us about your work as a teacher or librarian in 750 words or less. A successful request letter will describe your institution, the community it serves, and your role within it; address the theme and/or speakers for the upcoming Seminar; and explain how you hope your attendance at the Seminar will benefit you and your community. Please also tell us something about your financial need, and whether or not you would be able to attend KWLS without our support.

2. Letter of Recommendation:

One letter of recommendation is required. It may be written by a supervisor, former student, patron, or peer. An effective letter will describe your strengths as a teacher or librarian and the impact you have made on others in your community and/or institution.

In the application form, you will be asked to provide an email address for your recommender. Once you submit the application, they will receive an email from Submittable with a link to upload the recommendation letter. We suggest that you contact your recommender before you submit your application and alert them to expect this email.

Applications without a letter of recommendation will not be considered. It is your responsibility to follow up with your recommender to make sure the letter has been sent.

3. References:

Please provide the names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of two additional persons who are familiar with you and your work.


“I want to amplify Caribbean authors by showcasing books from the 2018 Key West Literary Seminar during the upcoming semester. Also, I think the juxtaposition of themes explored in contemporary Caribbean literature – such as LGBTQ issues, being “other” or part of an outsider group, women’s issues, and subversive ideas – is fascinating…  Providing a forum for the discussion of Caribbean books among the university community, when so many people are unaware of the cultural richness that the Caribbean offers, is timely.”
-Sabine Dantus, 2018 scholarship recipient
“The KWLS has ruined me in terms of professional development in the best way possible: I have been spoiled by this fantastic event and will seek more opportunities like this in the future. I feel like a more empowered educator, not only about Caribbean writing but also about contemporary literature in general. A student once lamented to me that “there are no good contemporary authors writing today.” What?!? A shock! I was reminded from this comment that, as an educator, it’s my job to SHOW what is happening now in the literary world, to support contemporary authors, and to convey excellence in literature to my students by sharing that it’s a living thing. There are so many wonderful authors today–and I feel like the KWLS showcases the absolute best of them.”
-Audrey Wick, 2018 scholarship recipient
“The 2018 Key West Literary Seminar, Writers of the Caribbean, was an extraordinary experience. The writers were unparalleled in their ability to speak to their audience in clear and focused voices, whether the audience was of readers or listeners. The group of teacher/librarian scholarship recipients was a warm and welcoming group even though we were very diverse in our academic interests and careers. And the seminar organizers thought of every detail to make all of the attendees feel valued and comfortable. I recommend this seminar to everyone I encounter who has an interest in a learning more about not only the craft of writing but also the social and cultural influences of the featured writers.”
-Kathy Lancaster, 2018 scholarship recipient
“I admire how KWLS recognizes and advances the importance of literature as it relates to place. It was terrific to visit local historic and literary sites, and those experiences will really help me with the project of place-based storytelling in my own community. I’m also developing new program ideas for our library in central Idaho, from speakers to invite (Teju Cole! Thomas Mallon! Stephen Carter!), to program format, to communication materials and marketing.”
-Jenny Emery Davidson, 2017 scholarship recipient