Grants, Scholarships and Awards

The John Updike Review Emerging Writers Prize—Eligibility: Age 40 or younger.
A $1000 prize plus publication in The John Updike Review, awarded annually to writers 40 years of age or younger. Depending upon the quality of submissions, one or more winners will be announced annually. The review is looking for an essay by a young writer or critic that deepens our understanding of the work of John Updike. The writing may be scholarly or bellestristic in nature. Academics, critics, graduate students, assistant professors, novelists, poets, and short story writers are encouraged to submit 10-30 page essays. There is no deadline; submissions are open and rolling. Send submissions via attachment to:  Prof. James Schiff, Editor, The John Updike Review, For more information about the journal, visit the website.

The Robert M. Luscher Scholarship for Updike Research—Eligibility: Open to everyone.
A $1000 travel-to-collections scholarship awarded annually to enable students and researchers to study manuscripts and materials at Harvard, Reading/Shillington, or one of many John Updike archives (see Special Collections for a complete list). Preference will be given to students working on theses and dissertations and to those whose research focuses on Updike’s short stories. Scholars from all nations are invited to apply. The scholarship is provided by Julia Thompson and Aurora Sharrard in honor of their father, an Updike scholar and current board member of The John Updike Society. The society will determine the winner and may, depending upon the quality of proposals, choose not to award the scholarship in some years. Deadline for submissions is October 1 of each year. To apply, send a one-paragraph bio and 1-2 page proposal describing the project and how specifically special collections research is expected to help. Send submissions via attachment to:  Peter Bailey,

Schiff Travel Grants—Eligibility:  Scholars age 40 and under and current Updike Society members.
Up to five $1500 travel-to-conference grants for scholars 40 years of age or younger to enable them to attend the next John Updike Society conference, and up to five $1000 grants for society members needing assistance to be able to participate in the conference program. The grants are funded by The Robert and Adele Schiff Family Foundation, whose generosity enabled the society to purchase and maintain The John Updike Childhood Home. Both grants are merit- and need-based, and interested scholars should apply by November 30 the year preceding the next John Updike Society conference. To apply, send a one-page proposal for a 15- to 20-minute paper appropriate for the conference, along with a one-paragraph note about yourself, what grant you are applying for, and why the grant is important to you, to society president James Plath, The selection committee will make their decisions and announce successful applicants by the end of the second week in December.

The John Updike Childhood Home Scholarship—Eligibility: Graduating Seniors at Governor Mifflin High School (formerly Shillington High School, Updike’s alma mater) in Shillington, Pa.
The John Updike Childhood Home Scholarship is awarded annually to a graduating GMHS senior who has been actively engaged in working for the school newspaper and/or other clubs and organizations devoted to writing, art, and the humanities, or promoting the creative arts and/or reading in the community. The award consists of $500 and a one-year membership in The John Updike Society, which owns and operates The John Updike Childhood Home museum at 117 Philadelphia Ave. Membership includes copies of The John Updike Review published during the calendar year and free admission to the Childhood Home. Candidates should submit a summary of up to one page (typed, single-spaced) of their involvements and accomplishments by April 20 to Maria Lester, Director, The John Updike Childhood Home,

John Updike Tucson Casitas Fellowship—Eligibility: Open to everyone.
A two-week residency at the Mission Hill Casitas within the Skyline Country Club in Tucson, Arizona—casitas that John Updike owned and where he wrote during a part of each year between 2004-2009. Offered annually the last two weeks in May. The fellowship includes a $1000 prize provided by The John Updike Society, which administers the fellowship. The casitas stay is made possible by a generous donation from Jan and Jim Emery, owners of the casitas, which will have a collection of Updike books on site for the use of fellows. Updike wrote in all genres, so writers with any type of literary project are welcome to apply, as are scholars working on Updike criticism. Since Updike was an artist as well, multimedia projects will also be considered. Applications are due Nov. 1 of the previous year, with the winner and other applicants notified by Jan. 1. To apply, send a one-half to one-page proposal that details the project, any progress made thus far, the final form the completed project will take (e.g., where it might be published, or whether it’s part of a larger work), along with a one-paragraph bio/artist’s statement. Creative writers should also provide a five-page (and only five-page) writing sample. Send everything in a single PDF attachment to: Robert M Luscher,

2 thoughts on “Grants, Scholarships and Awards

  1. So you, some one, or group have decided that writers cannot “emerge” after their fortieth year. Now, perhaps I am making a hasty assumption and you do believe that emergence is possible for writers over forty, but you just aren’t interested in the work of these men and woman. As an emerging member of The John Updike Society, I would like to read the rationale for the position on this matter taken by your 253 members.


    James J. Harker
    JUS Member #254(?)

    • Of course writers can “emerge” after the age of 40. Grace Paley did. So did Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Raymond Chandler. But 40 is the industry-standard cutoff for “emerging writers.” We didn’t invent the term or the age limit, and while we can’t say what motivated the Yale Younger Poets Award and such awards (check out Poets and Writers Magazine and you’ll find plenty), our goal was simple: to try to encourage young people in grad school to maybe tackle an essay on Updike and hopefully like what they read enough to devote future studies to Updike. We thought about offering the prize to people in college or grad school, but the board didn’t want to exclude people who were independent thinkers and scholars outside of academia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *