How Maria Marianayagam’s Online Scholarship Boosted Her Confidence

May 22, 2023 | Scholarship Stories

Maria Marianayagam says of her scholarship experience with us: “I want to say a HUGE thank you! This scholarship meant so much to me. Not only did it further my own craft, it gave me a confidence boost to move forward in this career.”

Maria’s Story

Maria took her first online course, Becoming a Nonfiction Writer, with partial scholarship support in 2021. She says of the instructors Jennifer Swanson and Teresa Robeson: “I learned a lot from their course and sold my debut shortly after. Jen also invited me to participate in her podcast because of my STEM background, which was a great opportunity as well.”

You can listen to Maria on Jennifer Swanson’s Solve It for Kids podcast here:
How Do Fossils Make Your Car Go?

In 2022 Maria was awarded another general scholarship and used it to take another online course, Line Editing Your MG or YA Novel. She said, “I’m currently working on a high concept young YA novel grounded in my Sri Lankan Tamil culture and tradition. I’m excited for kids to have this book as a mirror and window in their lives. It’s something I wish I’d had when I was young.”

She added, “The line-editing course was phenomenal! As I work through my next novel-length work, everything I learned will be instrumental in helping me revise.”

Maria is a a Sri Lankan-Canadian Tamil picture book and middle grade author—and a chemical engineer (her first career involved figuring out how to recover oil and gas safely.) Learn more about her at and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @msmarianayagam.

Maria’s two forthcoming books are:
The Amazing Power of Girls, illustrated by Skylar White, Sourcebooks eXplore, June 2024
Curry Means More, illustrated by Geeta Ladi, Astra Young Readers, Fall 2025

Maria Marianayagam

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