The Reedsy National Creative Writing Scholarship

A $1,000 grant towards your studies

The Reedsy Creative Writing Scholarship is on hiatus for the spring semester of 2020. However, we encourage you to check out our brand-new writing scholarships directory, with over 150 writing scholarships to apply to in 2020!

The Reedsy Creative Writing Scholarship is a biannual award for writers and novelists in further education. As the world’s leading marketplace of book publishing talent, Reedsy is passionate about nurturing the next generation of fiction authors. We have designed this scholarship to award a student whose writing displays a clear and unique voice with the potential to thrive in the competitive literary landscape.

Awarded twice a year, successful candidates will receive $1,000 towards educational expenses and be eligible for further sponsorship from Reedsy while they develop as a writer. The Fall 2019 scholarship is dedicated to the memory of Steven Gordon of Brookline, MA — a lifelong educator and writer.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants must be:

  • United States, Canada or Australia Citizens or Permanent Residents; and
  • Accepted to, or currently enrolled in an accredited college, university, or graduate program within the United States, Canada or Australia.


Your application must include the first chapter (1,500 to 7,500 words) of an original novel you are currently writing, or have written but not published.

All applications must be submitted via the form on this page and should include:

  • Your name, email, address and contact number;
  • A short bio, to be posted on this page if you are a finalist;
  • The name of the college or university you attend or plan to attend;
  • Your sample chapter copy/pasted into the "Submission" section, along with a brief synopsis.

Five finalists will be selected from each application pool. If your submission is shortlisted, your submission will be featured on our scholarship page in its entirety.


The scholarship must be applied to tuition and other education-related expenses. A wire transfer for $1,000 will be made payable to the recipient’s educational institution directly.

How to apply

Using this form, simply copy-and-paste your first chapter into the editor and click "Submit." You'll receive a confirmation email in your inbox. The winner and finalists will be notified within a month of the deadline.

Contact details

Address: Reedsy Ltd. Seedcamp 4-5 Bonhill St
Shoreditch, London EC2A 4BX
Phone: +44 20 3108 9367
USA: +1 (407) 233-3331

Submissions are closed

We are not currently accepting applications.


Grant towards your studies

Recently awarded to:

Kelsey Day

Previous Winners

Kelsey Day (Creative Writing)

Fall Semester Winner, 2019

Kelsey Day is a sophomore studying Creative Writing at Emerson College. She grew up in a small mountain town in North Carolina. Today, her work has appeared in literary magazines such as The Emerson Review, Astral Waters, and Stork Magazine. She loves Kurt Vonnegut, Panic! at the Disco, and burritos. For more of her work, follow her instagram @kelseydays and check out her website at! 


Rules for Waking

What if you could pay off your debt while you sleep? The SleepWork Welfare Program helps you do just that, allowing people to lift themselves out of poverty by working while they sleep. Violet has an implant in her throat that controls her body when she sleeps. It guides her through minimum wage labor, and in the morning she wakes up to a paycheck. But one night, Violet witnesses her mother kill herself under the influence of the Program. Now Violet is trapped in a contract with the same program that killed her mother, and she is alone. It doesn’t help that her best friend, Mandy, has replaced her with a boyfriend. It helps even less that Mandy’s mother is the head of SleepWork. But least helpful of all is the fact that Violet is in love with her.


Andrew Elsakr (Vanderbilt University)

Spring Semester Winner, 2019

Andrew Elsakr is a writer from Memphis, TN, who is currently attending Vanderbilt University. His favorite writers at the moment include Roberto Bolaño and Larry Brown. He is currently studying English and Business and is eager to continue working for Magic Ears, an online ESL company, upon graduation.

His winning entry, Cain, was selected for its strong premise and riveting prose.


Mohamed Hossam, a deadbeat drifter who believes he has supernatural powers, returns to his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, for the first time in years. After a home invasion leaves him wheelchair-bound, he has no choice but to live with his manipulative and volatile younger brother Jimmy Carter Hossam, a former child actor who makes Mohamed his right-hand man in his upcoming run for senator. As the election grows closer, old conflicts re-emerge, and Jimmy’s assignments for Mohamed become increasingly questionable.

Ashley Tetzlaff (Colorado Technical University)

Fall Semester Winner, 2018

Ashley Tetzlaff lives in Washington State, where she serves as a councilmember for the Town of Albion, WA; core volunteer for the Albion Food Pantry; boardmember and Secretary for the Guy-Albion Historical Society; and Friend & Fundraiser for the Albion Public Library. She is pursuing her Master of Science in Management with a focus in Public Administration at Colorado Technical University Online. Some of her favorite authors — and influences on her work — are Louisa May Alcott, Lucy Maud Montgomery, G.A. Henty, Charles Dickens, and Mark Twain.

Her winning entry, Your Novel, was selected for its keen depth of character and gripping voice.

Your Novel

Mabel lives alone on the Texas plains, trapped in an isolated life while her father wanders the plains of the great state looking for treasure. But her simple life is turned upside-down by a string of disasters that wipes out all she knows and leaves her with nothing to do but go search for her father and his gold. Given the choice between her father's gold and the discovery of the rest of the human race, where will Mabel's heart and instincts lead her? Which blood source runs deeper: close family ties or the ancient blood that runs through and connects us all? And what if they lead in very different directions?

Evan Miles gorzeman (Columbia University)

Spring Semester Winner, 2018

Born and raised in Long Beach, California, Evan studied Political Science and English at Loyola Marymount University. Currently, he is enrolled at the MFA program in Fiction at Columbia University in New York City. Some of his favorite novels are Train Dreams by Denis Johnson and Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. He lists authors such as Raymond Carver, Karen Russell, and Tom McCarthy as major influences in his work. The first chapter of his winning entry, Useful, Like a Two Dollar Bill was selected due to its excellent imagery and compelling character development straight out the gate.

Useful, Like a Two Dollar Bill

Useful, Like a Two Dollar Bill follows Stiff, a middle-aged, single, and aloof cemetery manager whose life has not gone according to plan. A local psychic by the name of Gummy gives Stiff a prophecy to right his unfulfilled life. This sets Stiff on a journey to find what he's been missing. Haunted by the powerful women of his past, Stiff dives into the seedy criminal underbelly of his hometown Emma, Louisiana where he meets a man brought back to life after a lightning storm, a matriarchal lumber and drug mogul, and ghosts of people whose lives have petered out all around him.

Namdi Nwasike (NYU)

Fall Semester Winner, 2017

A native of Huntington, New York, Namdi studies Biology at NYU and is on the pre-med track. Despite his science background, his passion has always been for writing: as a hyperactive and imaginative child, he would write short stories and create comics. Among his favorite books are Salinger's Catcher in the Rye and Walk the Two Moons by Sharon Creech.

His winning entry, The Fool's Gold, is a Young Adult novel whose first chapter is packed with well-observed character details and a compelling hook that left our judges desperate to read more:

The Fool's Gold

Recently accepted to her dream school, Rosa Diosa embarks on a journey to become the first member of her family with a college degree. She soon discovers that Manhattan isn’t the city she expected... literally. Unseen, supernatural forces are at play and New York is revealed to her as the epicenter of an invisible war. With the help of her new friends and a snarky professor, Rosa must protect the people she loves, maintain her grades, and deal the daily challenges of living in a big city.

Previous finalists

Svetlana Kitto (New School, MFA Fiction)

Fall Semester Finalist, 2019
Svetlana Kitto is a writer and oral historian in New York City. Her work has been featured in the The Cut, New York Times, Guernica, Salon, VICE, and the book Occupy (Verso), among other publications. This past year she was an interviewer on the Smithsonian's Visual Art and AIDS Epidemic oral history project and the Brooklyn Historical Society's Muslims in Brooklyn public history project. Since 2015, she's co-curated the art and reading series Adult Contemporary, which published its first book of art and literature last fall and has created programming for Hauser & Wirth, Performa, BAM, Museum of Arts and Design, and Storm King Arts Center. Currently, she's working as Editor on a MacArthur–funded oral history project about global campaigns for reproductive rights and on the artist book 1996, which will be published by New York Consolidated in fall 2020. Her favorite books change from year to year; most recently she's devoured Hilton Als' White Girls, Mira Jacob's Good Talk, Sally Rooney's Normal People and Andrea Lawlor's Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl. 


Purvs follows Misha, who, after losing her job, her girlfriend and her sense of purpose in the economic downturn in New York, decides to take her grandparents up on an offer to come visit them for the summer in Riga, Latvia. Once there, her grandparents' plans for the trip become clear: to visit the sites of Latvia's Holocaust, where most of their family perished. At night, when her grandparents are asleep, Misha escapes to Riga's gay clubs, where she meets a young anarchist named Marina and learns of plans for the country’s first Pride march. 

Kaylie Saidin (MFA, University of North Carolina Wilmington)

Fall Semester Finalist, 2019

Kaylie grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and now lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, where is an MFA candidate in fiction at UNCW. She reads submissions for the literary journal Ecotone and teaches creative writing to middle schoolers. Fiction stories she’s written have been published in Catamaran, upstreet #15, Gulf Stream, and elsewhere. Some of her favorite writers are Carson McCullers, Aimee Bender, A.M Holmes, Viet Dinh, Flannery O’Connor, Elizabeth McCracken, and Jenny Zhang. When she’s not writing, you can find her surfing or doing anything near the ocean. 



Mara, Cate, and Darcy are high school girls and best friends in a punk band that grows in popularity in the San Francisco underground scene. When Cate, Mara’s friends since childhood, develops a more obvious substance abuse problem, the band struggles to aid and cope. Meanwhile, Mara’s friendship with Darcy slowly becomes more than a friendship. Mara struggles to balance her intense female friendships with her own responsibilities and identity, all in the face of mounting teenage stardom. Eventually, things come to a head, and Mara has to decide whether or not to put herself first––and what it means. 


Madison Garber (Florida Atlantic University)

Spring Semester Finalist, 2019

Madison Garber is originally from Tallahassee, Florida, where she graduated from Florida State University with a BA in English. This spring, she will graduate with an MFA in Creative Writing at Florida Atlantic University, where she is the managing editor of Swamp Ape Review and a graduate teaching assistant for the Department of English. She also teaches prose and poetry as the 2018–2019 Artist in Residence at A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts. Her work has appeared in Watershed Review.

Her entry, Into Memory, was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Spring Semester prize:

Into Memory

In Into Memory, memory is no longer something which resides in the past. Instead, it is a substance which can be extracted and consumed like a hallucinogenic drug, immersing consumers in a vivid and immediate past whose physical effects linger long after the images of that memory disappear. For Paul Mendez, these memories offer an escape from a present defined by grief, while former professional football prospect Calvin Long seeks to reconnect with a past too long stained by regret. For law school student Kara Douglas, selling erotic memories is simply a business transaction—that is until she considers removing the parts of her past that stand in the way of the future she desires. Set in the rolling hills of contemporary Tallahassee, Into Memory explores the relationships that we maintain, for better or worse, with our pasts and what we will do to avoid, restore, or change them.

John Saras (UC Riverside)

Fall Semester Finalist, 2019

John Saras likes to think he never left his five-square-mile New England hometown – despite four years of studying film and psychology at the University of Miami and another four years working in Hollywood that say otherwise. He is now an MFA student in UC Riverside’s creative writing program, studying both screenwriting and fiction. An avid fan of horror and fantasy, he gravitates toward the works of Stephen King and Patrick Rothfuss. In 2017, he sold the option rights to one of his horror screenplays, and he is currently completing several other feature-length scripts and two novels. You can find him on Twitter, @johnnywithlove.

His entry, Ruined, was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Spring Semester prize:


As a young boy, Frankie dreamed of spending the end of the world with his best friend and longtime crush, Stephanie. They’d planned for zombie apocalypses, alien attacks, and World War III, even furnishing a fort for themselves in the woods behind Frankie’s house. When the actual apocalypse touches down in the form of a humanity-altering, violence-inducing infection, nineteen-year-old Frankie is not upset that the world itself is ending, but that Steph no longer wants to spend her last days with him as planned. Alternating between memories of their childhood and scenes from the apocalyptic present, Frankie’s high expectations for the end of the world with Steph are contrasted with the realities of surviving the apocalypse without her.

Abby Thorne (Utah State University)

Spring Semester Finalist, 2019

Abby Thorne hails from West Jordan, Utah. She has earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and is currently working on a Second Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology at Utah State University. Abby has read so many wonderful books by so many amazing authors that she can’t pick just one favorite; however, if pressed, her go-to answer is the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Her entry, Snakes Are Terrible At Running Away, was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Spring Semester prize:

Snakes Are Terrible At Running Away

This is a steampunk mystery about a runaway heiress shapeshifter pick-pocket (that’s one person, mind you), a Sherlock Holmes wannabe, his (sort of) fashionable seer sister, their perfectly ordinary friend, and a mysterious pair of clockwork earrings.

Sue Kim (University of Rhode Island)

Fall Semester Finalist, 2019

Sue Kim was born in Seoul, Korea, and grew up a global nomad. She double majored in International Studies and English Literature at Ewha University, then received her MFA at the University of Southern California. She has worked as a translator for the Literature Translation Institute of Korea for many years, and also as a freelance journalist. Currently, she is at the University of Rhode Island pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing and English Literature. Sue loves to encounter a good story in any shape or form, but most recently has been immersed in Rachel Cusk's Outline trilogy and in the TV series This is Us.

Her entry, Dimodae, was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Spring Semester prize:


Dimodae grows up in Seattle, Washington, but as a teenager moves to Seoul, Korea where he must navigate a surreal and violent education system. As he struggles to make sense of the different worlds he inhabits, Dimodae experiences the sudden and horrific loss of his newly found best friend. A bildungsroman that takes place in three continents—America, Asia and Europe, Dimodae, upon graduating from high school, becomes a university student in London where he is haunted by his past and confronted with a question that many of us ask: Who am I, and where am I going?

Ryan Whiting (Wheaton College)

Fall Semester Finalist, 2018

Born and raised in southeastern Massachusetts, Ryan Whiting is 18 and attends Wheaton College. He is currently studying under the Film and New Media Studies major, with a potential minor in English or Computer Science. A big inspiration for his novel, The Genesis Initiative, was the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin. His favorite author and book is J.R.R. Tolkien, with his masterpiece of fantasy epics, The Lord of the Rings.

His entry, The Genesis Initiative, was selected as a finalist for the 2018 Fall Semester prize:

The Genesis Initiative

The Genesis Initiative is the first part of a planned sci-fi and post-apocalyptic trilogy. Almost seventy years after alien invaders conquer Earth, two young men become entwined in the fight to liberate humanity. Genesis follows two protagonists, Kane and Niklas, in separate but connected stories. Kane fights his way out of a cruel and unforgiving life in Sonara — the remnants of southwestern United States — making new friends and confronting old enemies in the desert. Niklas, having lived most of his life in Kalthem, an isolated portion of Sweden, is forced into a mad dash towards the city of Rome while the tyrannical extraterrestrial government hunts him and his brother Erik.

Sarah M. tierney (University of Chicago)

Fall Semester Finalist, 2018

Originally from Chicago, Sarah M. Tierney is currently an MFA candidate at Columbia University School of the Arts, where she studies Fiction Writing. Much of her work is influenced by her psychological research, as she is fascinated by social psychology and personality theory. Some of her favorite authors include Jennifer Egan, Chuck Palahniuk, and Zadie Smith.

Her entry, Emma, was selected as a finalist for the 2018 Fall Semester prize:


For several years, eleven year old Dylan has been taking care of himself and his emotionally compromised mother Anna. In a home where Batman-story-time happens one night and alcohol-infused violence happens the next, Dylan does his best to conceal his mother’s irregularities from the outside world. When it becomes apparent to their extended family that Anna can no longer take care of herself—or her son—Dylan must go live with his aunt and uncle, far away from everything he knows. Isolated and confused, Dylan will attempt to make sense of what his mother is going through, all the while hoping that one day soon, he and Anna can return home and be together again.

Karol Lagodzki (Mississippi University)

Fall Semester Finalist, 2018

Karol Lagodzki left Poland at twenty and has called the United States home for over two decades. His
non-writing careers have ranged from fixing stucco while dangling from roofs in Paris to sorting through
human cadaver heads in Jacksonville. His short stories have appeared in The Ryder Magazine, Streetlight Magazine and Tishman Review. He now lives in Indiana with his family and a large dog, and is a Creative Writing MFA candidate at Mississippi University for Women’s low-residency program. Find him at

His entry, Controlled Conversations, was selected as a finalist for the 2018 Fall Semester prize:

Controlled Conversations

Emilia’s life as a telephone operator in the 1982 Poland of martial law, secret police and shortages goes on quietly in a small lakeside town until she overhears a conversation. Antek, a Solidarity treasurer, seeks the town’s calm to protect the opposition’s money. The quiet is shattered by Roman, a secret police major, who wants the cash—for himself, not the motherland—and is happy to kill for it if that’s what it takes. With their desires and fears at odds, what each decides to do will determine who survives, who escapes the autocracy and who dies.

Mackenzie Gibson (University of Chicago)

Spring Semester Finalist, 2018

Mackenzie Gibson is currently a seventeen-year-old high school senior from the small town of Elkhart, Kansas. She plans to attend Wichita State University in the fall and major in creative writing. She has loved to read and write from a young age and plans to continue by becoming an author. Her favorite book is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling because it was the first book to teach her to love and appreciate the beauty of reading and writing.

Her entry, The Buried Society, was selected as a finalist for the 2018 Spring Semester prize:

The Buried Society

In a post-apocalyptic world turned to ice, black tiled walls, silence, and torture is all Athena Clark ever knew. As a child of Program X, that’s all she was allowed to know. When forced to take part in an expedition team to the surface, she must act against her morality to survive. Dark secrets unfold in the institute she was forced to live in for her entire life; Athena must choose between doing what is right and surviving to see the next day of the ongoing struggle.

Esther Spurlock (University of Chicago)

Spring Semester Finalist, 2018

In 2015, Esrther graduated from Seton Hill University with a Masters of Science in Mathematics and a dual minor in Computer Science and English literature. This past year, she has been volunteering for Mercy Volunteer Corps working at St. Boniface School in Cincinnati, Ohio. After her year of service ends, I am going to graduate school at the University of Chicago for their Masters of Science in Computational Analysis and Public Policy. With this degree, she hopes to use data to create social change. Her favorite books since childhood are The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle and Ferdinand the Bull by Munro Leaf. Her favorite authors are currently Alice Walker and Toni Morrison (although this changes frequently).

Her entry, The Second 10 Years, was selected as a finalist for the 2018 Spring Semester prize:

The Second 10 Years

150 years in the future, American finds itself in the grips of a second Civil War. While the first Civil War was sparked over rights of African slaves, this Second Civil War was sparked over rights for artificial humans. Two such artificial humans - Helen and Jack - cycle through the second ten years of the conflict, grappling with what people on all sides of the conflict believe about their place in society and their humanity.

Emily M. marvin (University of Iowa)

Spring Semester Finalist, 2018

Emily  is a junior undergraduate student studying English and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa. Writing has always been a passion of hers, and her goal is to become a published author and work in the publishing industry. At the moment, her favorite books include anything by Joe Hill, and the short story collection White Dialogues by Bennett Sims.

Her entry, These Bad Things, was selected as a finalist for the 2018 Spring Semester prize:

These Bad Things

The barren town of Klickitat, Washington is cursed. After moving across the country to help his mother take care of his ailing grandfather, Conrad Townsend stumbles into friendship with Victor Vigna, a charismatic young man with a reverence for the Black Angel: a haunting old statue that stands in the mountain cemetery rumored to possess the power to kill. The two boys and their cohorts raise hell in the canyon of Klickitat until Victor, inspired by the Angel, takes things too far. Four years later, Conrad is still living with the memory of that one summer and must learn to live with the things he has done.

Jamie Walker (University of California, Los Angeles)

Spring Semester Finalist, 2018

Working towards her goal of becoming a published author, Jamie is currently completing a bachelors degree in English with a Creative Writing Concentration at the University of California, Los Angeles. While Jamie loves a good urban fantasy, she’s also drawn to other genres such as adventure and horror, and memoirs. Some of Jamie’s favorite authors include Frank McCourt, Kim Harrison, and Chuck Palahniuk.

Her entry, Blood Omens, was selected as a finalist for the 2018 Spring Semester prize:

Blood Omens

Blood Omens is a multiple, first-person narrative that centers around 16-year-old Alice Greaves and her last year alive. After being declared terminal, Alice wants to spend the last year of her life living as much as she can while completing her so-called “Fuck-It” list. A self-professed gamer, Alice decides to venture out one fateful, Friday night to get a fake ID after making a deal with an online friend in her gaming guild for one. What should have been a short errand quickly turns into something else when Alice unwittingly stumbles into the shadow-filled fringes of our society and the ancient, secret race of immortal creatures that inhabit it.

Phoebe Angaye (Austin College)

Fall Semester Finalist, 2017

A sophomore at Austin College, Phoebe is an economics major and a creative writing minor. A Nigerian-American who was born and raised in the US, she has won a Silver Key from the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards Competition and has been published in Sprout, Canvas, and The Sleepy Aquarium. Phoebe is a lover of various genres and generally just loves a good story.

Her entry, Era of Zodiac, was selected as a finalist for the 2017 Fall Semester prize:

Era of Zodiac

The zodiacs are a group of 13 people who can travel back in time. Sana Hashimoto is the 13th zodiac and has the job of guiding the zodiacs. A faction of the zodiacs called the Nanashi that believe they can change the past for a better future. This worries the rest of the zodiacs because it is unknown what will happen if the current timeline is changed. Thus begins the fight to control time, and Sana's journey to stop the Nanashi before it’s too late. There's just one more problem: her father is the Nanashi leader.

La-tonia Willis (Antioch University)

Fall Semester Finalist, 2017

Born in New York, La-Tonia is currently enrolled in a Creative Writing MFA at Antioch University, Los Angeles. Her favorite book of all time is Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. She is the director and producer of Profiles: Women in the Arts and Technology NW, an ongoing short series on Public Access Television in Seattle.

Her entry, The Dakota Experiments, was selected as a finalist for the 2017 Fall Semester prize:

The Dakota Experiments

At Ondi Systems—a prominent New York City biotech firm—molecular biologist and research scientist Amara Cayne, discovers a secret ‘Internet Room’ and a hidden agenda behind the firm’s gene modification experiments.

Hunter Mason (Yale University)

Fall Semester Finalist, 2017

Born and raised in Mystic, Connecticut, Hunter came to love history and literature with the help of motivated parents, teachers, and books such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Les Miserables. Hunter now studies political science at Yale University, where he currently lives with his wife, Catherine.

His entry, Tide, was selected as a finalist for the 2017 Fall Semester prize:


Tide follows the life of young David Aarons, who is consumed with the idea of heroes and a longing to leave a legacy through the written word. When he is ripped from his family at the start of WWII, David finds himself confronted with the switch from writing about heroes to becoming one. As he confronts courage and cowardice, both in the hearts of others and his own, he comes to learn what true heroism is.

Joy Ferguson (Westmont College)

Fall Semester Finalist, 2017

From Santa Rosa, California, Joy is a senior double major in English and Political Science, hoping to become a political speechwriter if this whole novel thing doesn't work out. She's a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy, but also has a soft spot for the classics she was raised on.

Her entry, The Heir of Koninia, was selected as a finalist for the 2017 Fall Semester prize:

The Heir of Koninia

Sheltae Oesria Teminre is the favorite servant of Corladon's Duchess, her mysterious past ignored by a community that adores her. But when the Heir of Koninia, the Princess Maya, singles her out as the One Hero prophesied to defeat the Enemy of Koninia, Sheltae must confront her origins in the Enemy's camp, and learn to make peace with the many different identities she's created to keep herself and her sisters safe. Aided by the strange Captain of the King's Guard Marcov Zierin, Sheltae uncovers who she was meant to be while discovering what it is she might become in order to defeat her oldest and most personal foe.

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