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The Dashew Center for International Students & Scholars is proud to present the Kurnitz Creative Writing Award, a UCLA tradition of over 50 years. This unique writing competition is specifically designed to engage the international community here at UCLA. In submitting original pieces, international students are given the opportunity to express their creative talents through writing.


$3,800* in scholarship prize money to be allocated to winners

  • First Prize: $2,500
  • Second Prize: $1,000
  • Third Prize: $300

*Please note that the actual award amount for each prize may vary as the award amount is subject to federal taxes. 


History of the Award

Harry Kurnitz was a playwright and screenwriter who worked in Hollywood in the 1930’s & 40’s. Along with his own passion for writing, he wanted to create opportunities for young writers, especially those whose native language was not English. In 1965, Kurnitz and his business manager, Charles Goldring, created an endowment at UCLA for these awards that have given visibility and support to the talents of dozens of UCLA students from majors throughout the campus and countries across the globe. We invite you to be part of this tradition!



To participate, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Applicant must be foreign-born and not hold U.S. citizenship.
  • Applicant must be a currently enrolled UCLA *international degree seeking student or EAP student on the main campus, who has a valid non-immigrant visa and is eligible to receive monetary awards from a university. 
  • The applicants' native language must not be English, which will be reinforced with a signed affidavit. 

*Please note that UCLA Extension students, Visiting Graduate Researchers, UCLA certificate program students, U.S. permanent residents (P.R.), and AB-540 students are ineligible for this award. 



Participants may submit multiple entries, but you may only submit ONE in each of the following categories:

Category 1: Screenplay, Novel, Television Script, and Short Play. 

Category 2: Feature/Short Story

Category 3: Poetry (entry must include 3 or more poems of any length, individual poems will not be accepted)

*See application for maximum page restrictions. 



All submissions must be an original work by the participant and the work cannot have been previously published (including online). Participants may only be awarded once during the course of the competition. Entries must be submitted in English, typed, double spaced, on 8-½” x 11” paper, one side only (the only exception is that poems may be single or double spaced depending on the authors’ artistic preference). Entries will be coded and distributed to judges without the author's name or identity to ensure fairness.



All entries must be submitted online using the UCLA Scholarship Portal by Friday, March 6 at 11:59 PM. Applicants must fill out all information required on the form. By completing the profile on the portal, you will also be considered for other scholarship opportunities that you may qualify for. Late applications will not be accepted!



The application will open Monday, January 6th through the UCLA Scholarship portal. Click here to access the portal.

*The winners will be announced at the Dashew Center's End of the Year Banquet. The event will be held Wednesday, May 20th from 6 PM to 7:30 PM. Tickets will be sold on our website a month before the event. Award finalists will be emailed special instructions about attending the banquet.*

When: January 06, 2020 12:00 AM ~ March 06, 2020 11:30 PM
Where: UCLA
Audience: Students

Cost: Free
Registration: No Registration
What Students Say
Dear Jennie,

It is Thanksgiving Day today. Thank you for your great work at the international student center! Those great programs and events colored my life in UCLA. Thank you for bring us to Solvang trip, football and basketball game! Thank you for offering those free tickets to palys and concerts, free food:)! Thank you for so many other great things! Thank you for being a cheerful and helpful friend! My stay in the US wouldn't be that wonderful without you!

Happy Thanksgiving and have a great holiday season!
Hugs, Wei
Dear Mr. Ericksen:

First I'd like to thank you for directing such an amazing place as Dashew Center, I as an international student appreciate all your work and programs. I'm writing you to give you some feedback about the trip to Yosemite. This was the best trip ever, I'm really glad you are looking into new directions to integrate international students and this trip has been my best experience at UCLA (I'm starting my third year as a graduate student). Jennie and all her staff organized perfectly this trip. The hotel was good as well as all the activites they programmed. My expectations were completely overcome by their work. Not only we had an amazing time, they always tried to integrate everyone to form one group. We worked as a team and now I think that all of us will never forget this three lovely persons that made this trip a reallity. Thank you very much.

Mauricio Comas-Garcia