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National Writers Series Scholarship Application

The National Writers Series supports Grand Traverse area high school students pursuing writing careers by bringing to life great conversations with today's best-selling authors. Download the 2021 Scholarship Guidelines


  • Eligible writers must be an 11th or 12th grader during the 2020/2021 school year with a permanent residential address in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, or Leelanau County; and attend public, parochial, private or home school.

Application Details

  • Applicant must complete an online application, a photograph of themselves, and submit a manuscript. All materials should be submitted via the online application. The deadline for the Nonfcition, Fiction and Poetry categories has passed. The Journalism deadline has been extended through March 12, 2021 by midnight.
  • Manuscripts in the genres of Fiction, Nonfiction, Journalism and Poetry will be accepted; a student writer may submit in only one category.
  • Nonfiction manuscripts- A nonfiction piece that includes an essay, micro-memoir, historical piece, or documentary treatment of an issue.
  • Journalism manuscripts- An article about a contemporary issue that could be published in a print publication, including newspapers, magazine or online.
  • Photos and application information may be used in National Writers Series materials.

General Guidelines for Fiction, Nonfiction and Journalism Submissions

  • The title page must have the title of the work in the center. Under the title, if the work is prose, indicate if it is fiction, nonfiction or journalism. There should be no identifying information on the title page or anywhere in the submission.
  • Double-space the text of your paper, and use Times New Roman font. The font size should be 12 pt.
  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks. Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides. Your first page should have the title and begin about one-third down the page.
  • Indent the first line of paragraphs one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you use the Tab key as opposed to pushing the Space Bar five times.
  • Create a footer that includes your title in the lower left-hand corner at the left margin and numbers all pages consecutively in the lower right-hand corner, at the right margin.
  • Maximum length: 2,000 words. If your work is longer, you may submit an excerpt.
  • Please see sample nonfiction manuscript, “Paper Dragons” by Abby Woughter, 2010 and 2011 scholarship winner.

General Guidelines for Poetry Submissions

  • Only one poem per page. Start each new poem on a new page. Maximum three pages of poetry. For example if a poem is two pages long, you can add one more one-page poem. 
  • If a poem exceeds one page, continue on second page. Make sure poem title is in a footer, at left margin with page number against right margin.
  • Maximum number of lines per page is 32 including double-spacing. Single space lines within stanzas. Double space between stanzas.
  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks. Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Use Times New Roman, 12 pt. font.
  • The title page must have the title of the work in the center. The word poetry should be under the title. No other identifying information should appear on the title page or anywhere else in the manuscript.

Additional Scholarship Information

  • Manuscripts will be read in March by the National Writers Series Scholarship committee, comprised of Michigan writers who are specialists in the genres they are judging.
  • All applicants will be contacted by the Community Foundation and the National Writers Series scholarship committee by mid-April. Winners will be recognized at an NWS author event in 2021.
  • By accepting a scholarship, the winners agree to an editorial/ revision process with a contest reader. 

If you have questions regarding the online application process, please contact Gina Thornbury at the Community Foundation at gthornbury@gtrcf.org or 231-935-4066.



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