Interlochen Arts Academy is still accepting applications for our upcoming academic year, which begins Sept. 5. Limited spots available. Application deadline: Aug. 22, 2022!

Full-tuition scholarship to Interlochen Arts Academy offered through Virginia B. Ball Creative Writing Competition

Young writers in grades 8-11 are invited to apply to Interlochen’s renowned creative writing program by October 31, 2021.

Photo of Elizabeth Keller

2021 Virginia B. Ball Scholarship Competition winner Elizabeth Keller

Young writers around the world are invited to apply to Interlochen Arts Academy’s renowned creative writing program to compete for a full-tuition scholarship funded by the Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Foundation.

Interlochen's one-of-a-kind creative writing program provides expert instruction to high school writers in a warm and supportive setting. Students benefit from small class sizes and a faculty of experienced and dedicated teachers who are also professional writers. Faculty provide individualized mentorship to students in building portfolios, submitting to contests, applying to college, and honing performance skills for public reading opportunities throughout the year.

Arts Academy senior Elizabeth Keller won the competition last year. “The scholarship allows me to focus on what I love to do,” she said. Keller started writing when she was very young—so young that she doesn’t remember why she first put a pencil to paper. “I’ve always been excited about words and stories, and that’s a big part of why I write,” she said.

Applicants are asked to submit writing samples by October 31, 2021 in at least two of the following genres: fiction, poetry, spoken word, personal essay/memoir, screenwriting, playwriting, comics, and experimental or unclassifiable writing.

Keller first discovered Interlochen through Arts Camp, which inspired her to do more with her creative writing talent. “I loved being surrounded by a community of creative people and having dedicated time for creative writing,” she said. “I learned so much in those three weeks of camp, I wanted to have the opportunity to work on my art during the school year. The scholarship made it possible for me to attend the Academy.”

Above all, Keller is thrilled for the opportunity to focus on creative writing and dedicate herself to both studying the literary arts and getting her own words down on the page. She also expands her perspective through Interlochen’s interdisciplinary community, where creative writing students collaborate with peers in music, dance, film & new media, visual arts, and theatre.

“It’s a great experience to be surrounded by many different art forms. I love seeing everyone’s work, and it’s a good environment to get inspiration,” she said. “Also, the creative writing program’s focus on a well-rounded education has already helped me become more comfortable with different genres, like poetry, that I have less experience with.”

Previous recipients of the Virginia B. Ball Creative Writing Competition Scholarship have gone on to earn degrees from Cornell, Yale, Princeton, and the University of Michigan. They have won or been shortlisted for numerous awards including the Norman Mailer Award for Fiction, the PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize, Juxtaprose's Short Fiction Contest, Wigleaf's Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions, and the Pushcart Prize. They have published books and have been featured in a variety of publications including Driftwood Press, Black Warrior Review, Kudzu House Quarterly, Broadly, Entropy, and more. Twenty creative writing students at Interlochen have been named Presidential Scholars in the Arts, one of the most prestigious awards for high school graduates.