A Visit to Remember: Valerie Bolling Uses Her Renée Watson Scholarship to Write 15,000 Words

Jun 16, 2024 | Black Voices, Scholarship Stories

Our friend and faculty member Valerie Bolling was the 2024 recipient of the Renée Watson Scholarship, which annually supports a week-long independent writing retreat for a Black woman writer.

Valerie said: “This was the first time I have stayed at Highlights for an entire week; my other visits have been for three nights. Having a week here was absolutely incredible. It allowed me to accomplish another first. I worked on a new type of writing for the first time. Thus far, all of my books have been kid lit, but I began drafting a book for teachers while here. I had already planned my outline and met with my editor because I knew that once I got here, I wanted to plow into this project and take full advantage of the time that I was gifted. I set a goal for myself to complete three chapters, and I actually completed four. Writing almost 15,000 words was quite a feat for someone who usually writes short, rhyming texts of anywhere from 30 to 120 words. My longest picture book is probably in the 700-word range.”

According to Valerie, “This visit is one I will definitely remember, and I will be forever grateful to Renée Watson for establishing the scholarship.”

Valerie was able to stay in the Renée Watson Cottage, and (fun for us) her car was the first one to use our new EV charging station!

Photo of Valerie Bolling outside the Renee Watson Cottage

Thank you to our faculty for this Guest Post!

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