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Since 1985, the Foundation has supported creative writing through the Whiting Writers Awards which are given annually to ten emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and plays. The awards, of $50,000 each, are based on accomplishment and promise. Candidates are proposed by nominators from across the country whose experience and vocations bring them in contact with individuals of extraordinary talent. Winners are chosen by a selection committee, a small group of recognized writers, literary scholars, and editors, appointed annually by the Foundation. Both nominators and selectors serve anonymously. The Foundation does not accept applications to the Writers’ Program.
Put aside for now the urgencies of the moment we are all grappling with and concentrate instead on the different urgency you feel as an artist. We need that. We need, more than we can properly say, stories and poems that will stick. Write until your mind goes blank. Write until your heart is nothing but ashes. Please.
Speaker, Whiting Writers’ Awards, 2008