Juliana Wu Scholarship Fund

SPARKers who may have difficulty paying their registration fee can apply to the Juliana Wu Scholarship Fund. Simply write to SPARKWritingFestival@gmail.com and mention the workshop you’d like to register for to secure your discount code for the registration process. (Several scholarships are available but in limited supply)

Juliana Wu, an extremely gifted artist and writer, was born in Chinatown, New York, to a Chinese scholar and his wife who emigrated to New York in the early 1940’s . From her early years, when she and her younger brother Joey hung out at their father’s Chinese laundry on Mott Street, she displayed her gift for a photographic memory. As soon as a customer walked through the doorway for a pickup, she handed the correct package to him or her, along with a handful of sweet smelling fresh leechee nuts. Her swinging black braids and bangs and mischievous smile stayed with them as they hurried down crowded streets to the next errand.

A top student, she won a scholarship to Hunter College where she majored in fine arts. Her long, graceful fingers had the flexibility to enable her to navigate the most intricate details. After graduation, she went downtown to some of the best teachers on Varick Street to study etching, engraving, and printmaking (her favorite medium). After several years as a print maker, she became acquainted with some science writers and began working on free-lance assignments in biomedical editing. She combined her interest in art with creative writing both in New York City and in Taos, New Mexico, where she received several grants as a writer/artist in residence.

She had a large circle of friends, both in and outside the Asian arts community. She was selective in her close companions and extremely loyal to them. Her favorite apartment was a large loft in the Bowery she shared with a photographer for many years. She regularly attended New York City Ballet performances and cherished her collection of ballet memorabilia. She actively supported The School of American Ballet.

Having no children of her own, Juliana dedicated time to mentoring young Chinese American girls on the lower East Side, tutoring them in difficult classes and inspiring them to reach out for their dreams. Her radiant smile and gentle joyful laugh announced her wherever she went.

She was working on a science fiction futuristic novel at the end of her life, the cause attributed to cancer.

It would have been Juliana’s honor to have a cup of coffee with the recipient of the Juliana Wu Scholarship for Southern Writers. Of course, you could anticipate that she would be an exacting (and loving) critic.

Funds for the Juliana Wu Scholarship have been made available by a friend of Juliana’s