Called the Phoenix Books Howard Frank Mosher Scholarship, the $10,000 award will be merit-based and given annually to an emerging fiction writer from Vermont in his or her first year of VCFA’s MFA in Writing & Publishing residential program. The first scholarship will be awarded in the 2018-2019 school year. Phoenix Books provided the gift and funding for the purpose of an annual MFA in Writing & Publishing scholarship, said VCFA President Thomas Christopher Greene.
“Phoenix Books embodies the spirit of independent booksellers in the state and we at VCFA couldn’t be more grateful for their generosity and to partner with them on this project. This scholarship is a wonderful tribute to Howard Frank Mosher who was a giant in Vermont. Howard was the first significant writer to support my own work many years ago and we became personal friends. No writer was better known in this state and among his peers for his generosity,” said Greene. “Phoenix Books has stepped up in a big way in a manner that Howard would appreciate, nurturing a new generation by providing opportunity that otherwise might not be available.”
“Michael DeSanto and I and Phoenix Books are honored to create this scholarship at VCFA. Howard was a great supporter of this institution and I believe he understood its intrinsic value to writing, to writers, and to the arts. Our hope is that this scholarship will support the works of new emerging Vermont writers, which Howard and VCFA have both done so well,” said Renee Reiner, co-owner with Michael DeSanto of Phoenix Books.
Mosher, who lived in Irasburg, was the award-winning author of 13 books that mostly took place in and around Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. He passed away in January 2017 after a short illness. His last book, Points North, will be released this January.
“This scholarship is the perfect way to honor Howard’s memory. He always tried to help new and upcoming writers by offering them advice, and often times encouraged them to pursue an MFA. He was also a champion of local bookstores. He used to say that independent booksellers were the ones that made him a success,” said Mosher’s widow, Phillis Mosher.
Greene and poet Daniel Lusk, speaking on behalf of Phoenix Books, announced the scholarship’s creation during the third annual Vermont Book Award Gala held at VCFA on September 23, 2017. Mosher was a judge for the 2015 Vermont Book Award and this year’s gala was dedicated to him.