Meet Our Terry Dodd Scholarship Winner

For the first time this year, Lighthouse was able to offer four Lit Fest fellowships to emerging writers. Each recipient received full tuition for one of our weeklong Master Workshops with a visiting author, an experience that can often be too costly for those experiencing financial hardship.

One of those fellowships was made possible through the Terry Dodd Memorial Scholarship Fund set up to honor late Lighthouse instructor and playwright Terry Dodd. Leticia Darlina Tanguma was this year's recipient and will get to take a master dramatic writing class with playwright and screenwriter Daniel Goldfarb

We recently talked to Leticia about her work and what the scholarship means for her. Here's what she said: 

On writing:

My writing involves reflecting certain moments in my life and actual historical and current events with the elements of fiction, magic realism, and cultural traditions and legends. Screenplay writing, to me, is the perfect journey to develop these aspirations. 

Terry Dodd:

In 2013, playwright Terry Dodd was kind enough to mentor me one on one at the Community College of Denver. The screenplay I had shared with him was very dark, but with his guidance, he helped me find hope within the story—hope I could not see until he pointed it out. For that, I am forever grateful. He helped instill a deeper respect of dialogue and story, and he will be missed. 


For the last two years I have experienced homelessness because of a sudden increase in rent, a problem many people in Denver face. Also, since November, my income has decreased due to a loss of work because I have had to deal with health issues and with helping my father, who had an accident and an injury. While I have found housing, it remains a struggle to maintain rent, car insurance, and groceries. Despite all of this, I still write and do my artwork. Writing and art lifts me, and, in addition to my family, is often my only hope to persevere. 

The master workshop: 

Attending this workshop will inspire me and will help me bring an important and unique voice often unheard in mainstream circles. It is my hope that this voice will always reflect and honor the lives of people experiencing similar challenges to be heard not as objects of pity, but rather as equals that despite economic circumstances are still deserving of acquiring knowledge, information, skills, and critique, and, despite economic circumstances are still obligated to contribute thought that may enlighten the universe like anyone else, especially through writing. 

The future:

My ultimate goal after workshopping my screenplay is to eventually submit it to local theater companies, other opportunities, or even the Sundance Film Festival, and hopefully from there, something even beyond my imagination (an actual movie – you never know!) 

Editor's note: Leticia will give a preview of her screenplay at our 20th Anniversary Literary Circus on June 15!