Scholarships available for mountain heritage literary festival

Published 9:34 am Friday, May 20, 2022

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Lincoln Memorial University’s (LMU) Mountain Heritage Literary Festival (MHLF) is coming up soon – June 10-11, 2022. Scholarships are available for anyone seeking financial assistance to attend, and contests are open as well. Organizers are excited to host the MHLF in person again after holding virtual events for the past two years. It will be held on the LMU main campus in Harrogate, Tennessee.

Founded in 2005 by best-selling author Silas House, the MHLF has grown from a small gathering of budding writers into one of the premiere literary events in the region. What sets the MHLF apart is a blend of a homecoming feel for returning attendees and a welcome, supportive environment for newcomers, all nestled among the picturesque and historic Cumberland Gap area.

“At the MHLF, we believe the best writers of the region include those who are unknown, unpublished, and maybe even unaware of their own talent. That’s why we have revamped our scholarship program and are offering 15 scholarships and partial scholarships this year,” said Patrick Wensink, MHLF director and assistant professor of creative writing at LMU. “We hope to foster new writers at our annual gathering through scholarships.”

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Writers in need of assistance are encouraged to apply. Write a short, one page essay about how attending this year’s MHLF would benefit your writing or other creative pursuits.

“There is no need to explain why you need financial assistance, but we do ask that only those who apply be writers who find the festival difficult to afford,” Wensink said. “That way we’re sure to be encouraging talent that might not otherwise be able to attend such gatherings.”

Scholarships only cover the cost of admission to the festival; housing arrangements, if needed, are the applicant’s responsibility. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.

“This year, we are offering more scholarships than ever before. This program ensures that all writers and dreamers in the area can join us, no matter what their financial situation,” Wensink said.

The two-day event provides workshops and panels ranging from fiction, nonfiction, poetry and songwriting workshops to panels on publishing, Appalachian culture and more. Past workshop leaders include notable writers such as Lee Smith, Donald Ray Pollock, George Ella Lyon and many other notable Appalachian and nationally recognized writers. Other highlights include several writing contests, keynote speeches, awards and concerts. This year’s keynote speaker is Rebecca Gayle Howell, an award-winning interdisciplinary writer from Kentucky.

“We are thrilled to finally be able to bring the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival back in person for its 16th year,” Wensink said.

In addition to the scholarships, contests are also open in various categories. Information on MHLF contests and scholarships can be found at The deadline for contests is May 20, 2022, and the deadline for scholarship applications is May 27, 2022. For more information or to enter an essay for scholarship consideration, email Grace Mahieu, assistant director of the MHLF and coordinator of LMU’s Arts in the Gap, at with the subject line: MHLF Scholarship.