Scholarships for 2020

2020 SF Writers Conference Scholarships

It is never too early to plan to apply for an SFWC Scholarship.
Review–and enter–the scholarships already available for the 2020 San Francisco Writers Conference below!

The 2020 Joyce Turley Scholarship

Joyce teaching Billie Jean King how to Speed Read!

Our beloved advisory board member and scholarship benefactor, Joyce Turley, passed away just before the 2019 San Francisco Writers Conference. She will be missed. As a tribute to her, we created this scholarship for the San Francisco Writers Conference in her honor. We know Joyce would approve.

Short Story Theme: The ‘Brownie Effect’.
Joyce baked and gave away her signature brownies with abandon. She would even stop at the tollbooth on the Golden Gate Bridge to give them to the toll takers back in the day…just to see them smile. Tell us a story about an act of kindness or a special friendship that made a difference.


  • Any genre is acceptable…fiction, nonfiction, poetry, memoir, or children’s story.
  • Entries must be submitted electronically using the link below.  The NAME on the file you upload should include your name.
  • On the first (cover) page of the entry file you submit: include your name, phone number and email address, a short bio, and any other pertinent information you want to share…such as why you want to attend the SFWC.
  • Your story should be no more than 500 words.
  • There is no fee to enter.
    Deadline: 5 p.m on December 10th.  Winners will be notified no later than Dec. 30th
    More details: The scholarship winner will receive a registration for the 2020 San Francisco Writers Conference event—including all regularly scheduled sessions, keynotes and social events during the main conference from Thursday, February 13th through Sunday, February 16th, 2020 which will be held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. Also included is the Speed Dating for Agents session during the San Francisco Writers Conference. Food, lodging, transportation, SFWC Master Classes or incidentals are not included. If the winner has already registered for the event, the scholarship can be applied to a future San Francisco Writers Conference or San Francisco Writing for Change Conference. It may also be gifted to someone else. (There is no cash value.) The decision of the judge(s) is final. By submitting your story, you grant permission for SFWC to use your likeness and samples of your entry for promotional purposes. 

Please CLICK HERE to upload your entry for the Joyce Turley Scholarship before 5 p.m. Pacific time on 12/10/19.

QUESTIONS? Contact Barbara at

THE DIRECTOR’S SCHOLARSHIP for the 2020 San Francisco Writers Conference

SFWC Director Laurie McLean is committed to giving diverse voices a chance to be heard. This scholarship pays for the full conference registration fee (not including travel or accommodations), plus breakfast with Laurie one day of the conference to discuss anything the winner chooses.

To enter, please write 500 words (or fewer) on why your writing, based on your personal experience as a member of a marginalized group, would be a great addition to the #ownvoices conversation. Examples of marginalized identities include racial minorities, LGBTQ+ people, religious minorities, and people with disabilities.

Laurie will make her selection based on the writing quality of the essay as well as the passion exhibited by the entrant.
It’s worth noting that Harry Louis Williams II, the winner of the 2019 Director’s Scholarship got an agent while at the conference!

Deadline for entries is December 31, 2019.

Please click here to upload your entry for the Director’s Scholarship before 5 p.m. Pacific time on 12/31/19.

The 2020 SFWC Student Scholarships for Bay Area High School Students

The SFWC Foundation is pleased to offer a limited number of one-day scholarships (for Saturday, February 15th) to San Francisco Bay Area high school students. As a way to encourage students to pursue a career in writing and publishing, they will get an insider’s look at the SFWC and meet presenters–authors, agents and book marketing professionals.

They will also get to attend any of the SFWC sessions they choose in areas of their particular writing interest. The student scholarship winner must agree to meet upon arrival with the SFWC Volunteer Coordinator in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency San Francisco by 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 15. The SFWC events will end at 6:00 pm that same day. Students may apply for a scholarship by sending us a double-spaced, 250-word essay on why books and writing are important. We would also like a sample of the student’s work.

Send your essay and writing sample to Barbara Santos, SFWC Scholarships, P.O. Box 326, Oakley, CA 94561 or email it to Barbara Santos at

Please include the name and address of your high school. Additionally we need the student’s address, phone number and email address. The winning student’s parent or guardian must sign an SFWC liability waiver that can be emailed in advance. The deadline for submissions is January 1st. Feel free to email questions to Barbara Santos at


San Francisco Writers Conference 2019 Photography: Melanie E. Rijkers #SFWC19

CATHERINE COULTER SCHOLARSHIP: Lana Krumwiede and Steven Browne

Eli Potter Blockchain and Crypto Currency Scholarship: Amber Price and Shelley Allen
(Donations from Eli Potter and AutoDesk made these possible.)

THE DIRECTOR’S SCHOLARSHIP:  Rev. Harry Williams and Kellen Akiyama
(Donations from Laurie McLean and Dr. Ellen Taliaferro made these possible.)

The 2019 SFWC Student Scholarship for Bay Area High School Students: Christina Abudayeh

The 2019 SFWC Student Scholarship for High School Students:  Jacqueline Prata

Congratulations to all.  As scholarships for the 2020 San Francisco Writers Conference become available, they will be posted on this page and announced in the SFWC Newsletter.  Subscribe to the free SFWC Newsletter!

Note: Our SFWC Scholarships have no fees and all have a simple submission process.  All adult scholarships offer a full registration to the event, and some offer additional goodies.

Don’t need a scholarship? Please consider helping someone who does by donating to the ongoing SFWC Scholarship Fund or contact Barbara Santos at if you would like to create a scholarship of your own.


From left top: Susan Tunney, Kate Farrell (SFWC Children’s Special Event Coordinator), Vicki Hudson. Bottom row: Jean Stillwell, Vickie Luo, Vidhima Shetty, Aashna Avachat, and children’s author Mitali Perkins.

The 2018 Dr. Ellen Taliaferro Scholarship Awarded to Susan Tunney.

2018 Vicki Hudson Emerging Writer Scholarship Awarded to Jean Stillwell

If you want to donate to the SFWC Scholarship fund, click here.

Want to start a scholarship in your own name and with your own guidelines? You can help other talented writers pursue a writing career. Now you can select the recipients of a scholarship to the SFWC that you create. We want to help as many writers attend the conference as possible, so we are offering a way for you to offer scholarships – in your name, your company’s name or anonymously.

The cost of a named scholarship is $1,000. You may be as involved as you like–choosing the theme, setting the rules and selecting the winner(s). Or you can give us guidelines and we will do the work! Each scholarship has a $1,250 value (cost of the event plus additional recognition for the recipient and you in the program.) Click here to see other Scholarship Donors!
To talk about creating a scholarship, please contact Barbara Santos.