Grant #460

The Mae Fellowship

August 2, 2021

How Can Beginning Writers Find Success? Mae-be This Fellowship Will Open Doors!

Courtney Young knows the writing life is a singular journey. And she also knows writers benefit from spending time with others who are also trying to write. Critical feedback, mutual support and camaraderie serve to help each other achieve their writing goals. So Courtneycreated The Mae Fellowship, a virtual program for a small cohort of women and non-binary writers. Inspired by the life and legacy of her mother, Lula Mary Leonard Young, known as “Lula Mae,” Courtney connects writers with professional and financial resources.

The first year’s program went well enough that Courtney has expanded the roster of (big name!) guest authors who share their insights with the cohort. Many of the guests have experience in bridging economic, institutional and geographic boundaries, as diverse women and non-binary writers often do. This AWB grant will go toward the purchase of those guest authors’ books.

Courtney wants at least one member of every cohort to find an agent, and the first cohort did not disappoint. The support of The Mae Fellowship community will be an asset to every participant. It’s a safe virtual space for writers to revise and edit work, and demystify the publishing process. By the end of their Fellowship, all of the writers should be clearer about how they want to usher their work into the world. It’s hoped they’ll have a solid manuscript, but it’s guaranteed they’ll have a community of writers willing to support her/them along the way.

The Mae The Mae Fellowship has included poets, memoirists, essayists, novelists, speculative fiction, horror, sci-fi romance and food writers, and Courtney has made diversity and inclusion a hallmark of the program. It’s just the beginning, she says, as she plans other ways to honor her mother’s memory. We are in awe of the daughter Lula Mae raised, aren’t you?

Category: Art, Women, Writing



After 11+ years, we’re signing off and closing applications for good. We’ve supported 571 projects with $571,000 in grant dollars. We’re so proud to have celebrated such incredible work. Please visit for more information on other AWESOME chapters! And thanks for sharing so much awesomeness with us.

Team Awesome Without Borders