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With the economy still showing limited signs of recovery, people are feeling less inclined to spend money on activities that aren’t necessary.  The Writer’s Center in Bethesda feels that money should by no means limit the access an individual has to resources that will help them cultivate their talents, and with that, they have announced their new initiative: The Undiscovered Voices Fellowship.

Anyone with an interest in writing and an annual income of less than $25,000 is welcome to apply for the fellowship, which will allow the winner to attend up to eight workshops at the center, between September 2009 and June 2010, for no charge.  All the applicants need to submit is a cover letter stating that they meet the eligibility requirements, two references, and a work sample in one genre.  Samples should be limited to 8 pages of poetry, 10 pages of fiction or nonfiction, or 15 pages of a script or screenplay.

The idea for the fellowship came about because the Center is attempting to reach out to populations that may be extremely talented but unable to afford workshops, which often cost around $200.  Applicants will be judged on the strength of their references and writing by Writer’s Center staff, members, and workshop leaders in September.

The ultimate goal of the fellowship is for the winner to make progress towards completing a manuscript of publishable work by the beginning of next summer.  Other than that, the style, genre, and length of the work are up to the winner, so the final product could be anything from a history of chewing gum to poems about the Middle Ages.  The winner will also speak to high school students in June 2010 about the craft of writing and what they learned in the workshops.

The Writer’s Center believes that all backgrounds and experiences should participate in writing and hope that the introduction of this fellowship will draw even more people to their resources.  More information is available on the Center’s website, www.writer.org, or by calling (301) 654-8664.