Women writers program seeking applications to its program


The Kentucky Women Writers Conference educates and celebrates Kentucky women writers. The project was founded in 1979 and is one of the oldest programs of its kind in the country. 

McKenna Horsley

In an effort to empower women writers, one program is seeking applications for its contests.

The Kentucky Women Writers Conference’s mission is to educate and celebrate Kentucky women writers. The project was founded in 1979 and is one of the oldest programs of its kind in the country. Director of KWWC Julie Wrinn said KWWC holds an annual conference that allows attendees to hone their writing skills and learn from expert writers from across the country, and in some cases the world.

“This event really grew out of a growing awareness around the creation of women’s studies programs in the early ‘80s. Women were underrepresented in the English literature canon,” Wrinn said. “I think certainly progress has been made since then … however, in terms of contemporary writers, men get published more than women.”

The 2016 conference will be held Sept. 15 through Sept. 18 at the Carnegie Center. Guest speakers will include, Natalie Diaz, a former basketball player who wrote “When My Brother Was an Aztec,” and Mary Karr, who is famous for her memoir called “The Liar’s Club.”

KWWC also holds events throughout the year such as a book discussion group and their biannual playwriting prize. The winning playwright’s work receives a world premier production.

One of the contests from KWWC is the Betty Gabeheart Prize. The winners from each category of non-fiction, fiction and poetry will receive $200 and admission to the September conference, where the winners will also read her manuscript. The deadline is June 1.

The other prize is postgraduate scholarships to attend the conference and a KWWC workshop. Five scholarships will be awarded to graduate students from any program based on need and merit. Applications include a cover letter that describes the applicants’ interest in the conference, five-page writing sample and must be mailed to the following address by June 1:

Postgraduate Scholarships

Kentucky Women Writers Conference

232 East Maxwell Street

Lexington, KY 40506

Wrinn encourages all women writers to apply. She said they usually receive 20 to 25 applicants and the committees look for strong writing potential.

“The authors that we are bringing to teach workshops at the September conference are premier writers who you would never have a chance to study with except at with some of the top MFA programs in the country,” Wrinn said.  “And so it’s really a great opportunity to have one-on-one attention in a small group classroom with some really fantastic writers. That’s what you’re trying to earn by getting that scholarship is getting that spot in that workshop. It could be a life-changing event.”

Wrinn said all writers of any gender are welcome to attend any of KWWC’s events. 

More information regarding KWWC’s prizes can be found here.