Goddard announces new PEN North American Centers partnership, scholarship

PLAINFIELD, Vt. — Goddard College is pleased to announce a new $10,000 scholarship that will provide writers from anywhere in North America with a pathway to earning an MFA in Creative Writing.

The Goddard/PEN North American Centers Scholarship expands upon the Goddard/PEN Center USA Scholarship, which was awarded to Erik Rodgers, a student in Goddard College’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program, in 2016. The new scholarship represents a partnership between Goddard College and PEN America, PEN Canada, PEN Mexico, and PEN Center USA. Together, these PEN centers comprise the North American branches of PEN International, the world’s preeminent literary organization. Members of any of these PEN centers are eligible for Goddard’s new scholarship.

“We selected PEN’s North American centers as our partners for this scholarship because PEN’s mission of championing free speech and the rights of writers is profoundly aligned with Goddard College’s progressive educational mission,” said Elena Georgiou, director of the Goddard MFA in Creative Writing Program. “The Goddard MFAW highly values the work of socially engaged writers, and therefore, offering the opportunity to any PEN member is thrilling to us. Additionally, because we are a low-residency MFA, with campus sites in both Vermont and Washington state for our semi-annual residencies, any PEN member who lives in North America is well located geographically to attend our program.”

PEN International is the world’s leading international literary and human rights organization. PEN members, who range from prominent published authors to student members, share the same commitment to literary activism and excellence that defines the Goddard MFA in Creative Writing Program.

“PEN America is proud to be a partner on this scholarship,” said Rob Spillman, PEN America Membership Committee Chair. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for our members to pursue their creative goals and hone their craft in an environment that recognizes the importance of standing in solidarity with threatened writers around the world and the need to advocate for the liberties that make free expression and great literature possible.”

Beginning in fall of 2017, the College will award one $10,000 Goddard/PEN North American Scholarship to an applicant in Goddard’s low-residency MFA in Creative Writing Program. This award is made possible by gifts from faculty and friends of Goddard College.

“Several Goddard faculty members are PEN members,” Georgiou said, “and have been active in PEN’s campaigns to defend free expression and to promote emerging literary talent from diverse and underserved communities. We conceived the Goddard/PEN North America Scholarship to recognize the values that Goddard and PEN share and to reduce the financial barrier that too often prevents even the most committed writers from continuing their education.”

North American PEN members who do not hold a bachelor’s degree and who otherwise do not meet the criteria for admission to the MFA program may apply for admission into the BFA in Creative Writing Program at Goddard College. All PEN members who are admitted to the BFA in Creative Program will receive a one-time $1,000 BFA Goddard Engaged Artist Award. PEN members who are admitted to the MFA in Creative Writing Program but who do not receive the Goddard/PEN North American Scholarship also will receive a one-time $2,000 MFA Goddard Engaged Artist Award.

About Goddard College

The mission of Goddard College is to advance cultures of rigorous inquiry, collaboration, and lifelong learning, where individuals take imaginative and responsible action in the world.  Goddard College offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a number of disciplines. Founded in 1976, Goddard’s low-residency MFA in Creative Writing Program was the first of its kind in the nation. The low-residency program is offered at campuses in Plainfield, Vermont, and Port Townsend, Washington. It is a 48-credit, student-centered program ideal for students with family, work, or personal obligations who choose to hone their writing skills while maintaining their other commitments. The program regularly hosts luminaries from the theater and film industries and the publishing trade, and conducts a Visiting Writers Series and Visiting Alumni Writers Series as well.