Holden Minority Scholarship

The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, the first and most distinguished low residency program for poets and fiction writers, has always been a place exceptionally diverse in gender, age, occupation, academic background, and aesthetic views. Ethnic and cultural diversity, however, proved to be more challenging.

It is not easy to attract minority students without first achieving a kind of critical mass, so that no student has the discomfort of feeling overly visible or being seen as “representative.” This can be a difficult cycle to break, and, thanks in part to The Holden Minority Scholarship, it has been broken.

The Scholarship has both helped to build a more ethnically diverse population and brought to the Program students of extraordinary talent, some of whom could not otherwise have afforded graduate work. As of 2008, twelve Holden Scholar graduates have already published seven novels and five books of poetry and have edited two anthologies representing cross-cultural writers.

Inaugurated in 1995 by a generous donor, the Holden Scholarship was named for the late Dr. Reuben Holden, a revered President of Warren Wilson, who brought the MFA Program to the College and was its unfailing friend. Under the aegis of the Friends of Writers, an independent non-profit organization established by faculty and graduates of the Program, the Holden Scholarship has until now been sustained by the generosity of the Program’s faculty, alumni and even current students.

We thank everyone who has supported our efforts to make our literary community within reach of all artists, regardless of color. We ask that you continue to donate to the Holden Minority Scholarship as we work to make this MFA Program scholarship fully endowed.

Read About Past Recipients of the Holden Minority Scholarship