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Delia Marrero Receives First Harlequin Diverse Voices Scholarship

Delia Marrero is the first Seton Hill student to be awarded the Harlequin Diverse Voices Scholarship. These entrance scholarships are awarded annually to students accepted into the Writing Popular Fiction M.F.A. Program. The scholarships support authors who bring diverse perspectives to their writing in the romance genre. Awardees must also show exceptional talent and passion for pursuing a career in writing.

“We created this scholarship to support and encourage writers who aspire to bring more diverse voices to romantic and genre fiction. We congratulate Delia and we’re thrilled to partner with a program that’s built to foster successful popular fiction writers,” said Loriana Sacilotto, executive vice president and publisher for Harlequin Trade Publishing.

Delia found Seton Hill University when she was looking for low-residency M.F.A. programs. During her search, she also came across the Harlequin Diverse Voices Scholarship. She thought the Writing Popular Fiction Program was a great fit for her and that the scholarship would be an amazing opportunity. 

“I figured, it doesn’t hurt to try,” Delia says. “You’re going to get one of two answers: either you got it or you didn’t.”

During a period of quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Delia realized that she needed to do something for herself. Delia’s oldest daughter often pushed her to do more with her creative writing. That’s when Delia asked herself, “How can I expect my daughter to go after her dreams and goals if I don’t even try and make an effort for my own?”

“How can I expect my daughter to go after her dreams and goals if I don’t even try and make an effort for my own?”

The scholarships are open to new students who identify as members of underrepresented communities. Program faculty make the awards. Delia recognizes the importance behind sharing and promoting diverse voices through the use of books.  She says, “Different voices bring different perspectives, just like all the languages are different. Two Spanish speakers from different countries will have different words in their dialect. It’s bringing in those gems to our spaces of writing—we need more of it and it has to be more accessible to our readers.” 

Upon learning that she'd been accepted into the Writing Popular Fiction Program and awarded the Harlequin scholarship, Delia couldn’t wait to tell her daughters. Knowing she would be Seton Hill’s first ever recipient made her emotional.

Delia will begin the Writing Popular Fiction Program at the end of June. She believes she’s done the best she could on her own in terms of craft. She’s ready to gain new skills that will make her writing stronger and more captivating. She's also curious about the publishing process. “That’s what sparks the most excitement for me and what I enjoy the most about school.”

"We're so excited to welcome Delia into the Seton Hill Writing Popular Fiction family,” says Program Director Nicole Peeler, Ph.D. “Our commitment to helping people tell their stories, especially ones that have historically been silenced, is about more than our commitment to diversity. It's also that we're readers--we love books, and we can't wait to read unique, fresh novels. As readers and as teachers, we're honored to be a part of Delia's process, and we're grateful to Harlequin to help facilitate her success."