The Kurt Brown Prizes

Formally known as the WC&C Scholarship Competition, the Kurt Brown Prizes award $500 each year to emerging writers in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction who wish to attend a writers’ conference, center, retreat, festival, or residency. The prizes are applied to fees for winners to attend one of the member programs in AWP’s Directory of Conferences & Centers. Winners, as well as six finalists, will also receive a one-year individual membership in AWP. Ultimately, the goals of the contest are to spread the word about the incredible work being done at local writing centers, conferences, festivals, retreats, and residencies.

In 1990, Kurt Brown founded WC&C, a coalition of writers’ conferences and festivals, to help these groups support one another and thrive. Kurt was a friend and mentor to many writers, a poet, editor, memoirist, essayist, teacher, and administrator. Today, the group he founded is an important part of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, which hosts more than 150 member programs. We hope you will take the time to visit our directory and explore them all. There is an excellent chance you will find one that meets in your local area that can help you connect with a community of writers and friends.

2018 Judges

Elizabeth L. Silver

Creative Nonfiction

Elizabeth L. Silver is the author of The Tincture of Time: A Memoir of (Medical) Uncertainty (2017) and the critically acclaimed novel The Execution of Noa P. Singleton (2013), which was the Amazon Best Debut of the Month, an Amazon Best Book of the Year, Kirkus Best Book of the Summer, and is published in seven languages. Silver’s writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, Lenny Letter, New York Magazine, The Washington Post, Literary Hub, The RumpusThe Los Angeles ReviewThe Millions, among many others. Silver has received fellowships and residencies from Ucross Foundation, Ragdale, Byrdcliffe Artist Colony, A Room of Her Own Foundation, and the British Centre for Literary Translation. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, the MA program in creative writing from the University of East Anglia in England, and Temple University Beasley School of Law, Silver lives with her family in Los Angeles. Visit Silver's website to learn more about Silver and her work.

Benjamin Ludwig


Benjamin Ludwig is the author of Ginny Moon (2017), featured as a Barnes & Noble Summer 2017 Discover Great New Writers Selection, one of Amazon’s 20 Best Books of 2017, and received starred reviews from Publisher’s WeeklyLibrary JournalBookPage, and Booklist. Ludwig’s novella Sourdough won the 2013 Clay Reynolds Prize for the Novella. A former English teacher and new-teacher mentor, Ludwig holds an MAT in English education and an MFA in creative writing. Ludwig is proud to serve as a mentor for AWP’s Writer to Writer program. Visit Ludwig's website to learn more about Ludwig and his work.

Leslie Harrison


Leslie Harrison is the author of Displacement (2009), which won a Bakeless Prize, and her second book, The Book of Endings (2017), was a finalist for the National Book Award. Harrison’s poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The New Republic, Orion, Poetry, FIELD, and elsewhere. Harrison has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, The Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Maryland State Arts Council. Harrison was born in Germany and raised in New Hampshire. She earned graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the University of California, Irvine. Harrison teaches at Towson University and lives in Baltimore. Visit Harrison's website to learn more about Harrison and her work.

Previous Award Recipients

Tribute to Kurt Brown
List of Winners

Check out previous winners