MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - The Middlebury College Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and The Rona Jaffe Foundation have announced the establishment of the first annual Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference-Rona Jaffe Foundation Scholarships.  The scholarship program will fully fund three women in the early stages of their writing careers to attend a session of the conference, which takes place every August.  One award will be made in each of the genres of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction.

The scholarships mark a unique partnership between the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and The Rona Jaffe Foundation, which share the common goal of supporting and developing the careers of emerging writers.

While literary merit is the main consideration for awarding the scholarships, the new program is especially intended to support women who also meet one or more of the following criteria: a first-time Bread Loaf participant; an applicant with a nontraditional literary background, who is working outside of academia with or without a writing degree; or an individual who is in particular need of financial and creative support.

Candidates must be permanent residents of the United States, and writers who have published a standard trade edition of their work are not eligible for these scholarships.  Eligible candidates will be required to submit a writing sample in their chosen genre as well as a short statement addressing the scholarship criteria.  The scholarships will be administered by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and decisions will be made by its admissions board.

The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference is the oldest writers’ conference in the country. Since 1926, the conference’s workshops, lectures and classes have introduced generations of participants to rigorous practical and theoretical approaches to the craft of writing. Its list of faculty, guests and participants includes Robert Frost, Carson McCullers, Eudora Welty, Wallace Stegner, Katherine Anne Porter and Ralph Ellison as well as contemporary writers such as Toni Morrison, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Yusef Komunyakaa, Edward Hirsch, Ursula Hegi and Julia Alvarez.

The Rona Jaffe Foundation recognizes the special contributions women writers make to our culture and society and, through its programs, supports emergent women writers of exceptional talent and promise. Celebrated author Rona Jaffe (1931-2005) established the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards program in 1995. It is the only national literary awards program dedicated to supporting women writers exclusively. Since the program began, the foundation has awarded over $750,000 to 86 women. Jaffe was the author of 16 books, including “Class Reunion,” “Family Secrets,” “The Road Taken” and “The Room-Mating Season” (2003). Her 1958 best-selling first novel, “The Best of Everything,” was reissued by Penguin in 2005. More information about The Rona Jaffe Foundation is available at www.ronajaffefoundation.org.

Criteria for the Middlebury College Bread Loaf-Rona Jaffe Foundation Scholarships are available online at www.middlebury.edu/blwc or by contacting Noreen Cargill, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT 05753.  In 2008, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference will take place from Aug. 13-24; the postmark deadline for applications is March 1, 2008.