We've created a new scholarship at the Port Townsend Writers' Conference to honor our fabulous first lady–former Conference program manager Carla Vander Ven, who ran the Conference from 1997 to 2007 with an unparalled grace, dignity, and knowledge of the environment that writers need to create their best work.
Carla’s ability to take care of the needs of people, both spoken and unspoken, transformed Centrum’s Port Townsend Writers’ Conference into the rigorous, yet nurturing community for writers that it remains–and, fortunately, although she left to buy Port Townsend Hospitality Services, her office remains only a tennis ball's throw from the Centrum buildings.
The Carla Vander Ven Scholarship will provide for the complete tuition, room and board for a selected student. There is no application process: the selection will be made based on standard scholarship application forms. You must be a registered participant in order to apply for scholarships.
Founded in 1974, the Conference provides workshops for beginning, emerging, and actively publishing literary writers. Such writers as William Stafford, Alice Walker, Richard Hugo, Margaret Atwood, James Welch, Raymond Carver, and thousands of others have come for 37 years to the Conference to hone their craft.
Carla worked at Centrum from 1984 to 1995, and, after a sabbatical with her family in Montana, from 1997 to 2007.
"Carla was part of what made me want to return year after year,” said Copper Canyon Press poet and Conference participant and faculty member Peter Pereira. ”She would always remember participants by name, and was always so helpful, no matter how small the request or concern.”
“Carla was a vital part of Centrum for decades and her dedication, devotion, and hard work have shown over the years as Centrum has grown, transformed, and blossomed,” said Jen Betterley, who has served as assistant program manager for the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference since 2004.