2022 Winners of Harvardwood Writers Competition & Most Staffable TV Writers

Harvardwood has announced its latest set of Writers Competition winners, also naming its Most Staffable TV Writers for 2022.

The official arts, media and entertainment alumni organization for Harvard University, Harvardwood looks to spotlight talented up-and-coming writers from diverse backgrounds and to connect them with mentors, as well as producers, agencies and management companies.

Writer-producers participating in this year’s program as mentors include Carlton Cuse (Lost), Mark Goffman (The Umbrella Academy), Teresa Hsiao (Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens), Colleen McGuinness (Life & Beth) and Jeff Melvoin (Killing Eve).

The winners of Harvardwood’s competition were chosen via a blind judging process. In addition to one-on-one mentorship, each will receive a cash prize.

According to the stats in the "2017 Hollywood Diversity Report" by UCLA's Bunche Center, Harvardwood's programs are dramatically more diverse in terms of race and gender than the current entertainment landscape. The organization has thousands of members worldwide, with chapters in Boston, Chicago, Georgia, London, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Washington, D.C., among other outposts.

In recent years, participants in the Harvardwood Writers Program and Competition have seen success with pilot sales to ABC, the CW, Disney+, Jim Henson Company, Netflix, Showtime, Sony, Syfy and TV Land, in addition to blind script deals at ABC Studios and Warner Bros. Harvardwood writers have been staffed on over two dozen shows—most recently on series like Almost Paradise (WGN), American Dad (Fox), Animaniacs (Hulu), Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens (Comedy Central), Billions (Showtime), Bridgerton (Netflix), DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (The CW), Emergence (ABC), Family Guy (Fox), Fear the Walking Dead (AMC), The Flash (The CW), Future Man (Hulu), The Goldbergs (ABC), Gotham (Fox), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu), Homeland (Showtime), How to Get Away with Murder (ABC), In the Dark (The CW), Jane the Virgin (The CW), Manhunt: Deadly Games (CBS), Marvel’s Runaways (Hulu), Power (Starz), Queen Sugar (OWN), The Resident (Fox), Shadowhunters (Freeform) and The Society (Netflix). Feature scribes participating in the program have wound up writing for such companies as Marvel Films, Circle of Confusion, Electric Entertainment and Netflix.

Participants have also secured representation at such venerable agencies and management companies as 3 Arts, Apostle, Benderspink, Brant Rose Agency, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, CAA, Circle of Confusion, Echo Lake, Gersh, ICM, Madhouse Entertainment, Management 360, Mosaic, Original Artists, UTA and WME, among others.

Here is the list of the winners of the 2022 Harvardwood Writers Competition.


RIVER KINGS by Penn Javdan* (drama)

Logline: Falsely imprisoned for killing a young boy, a terminally ill felon strives to break a dangerous bond between his estranged son and the dead boy’s father. 

Penn Javdan is a novelist, screenwriter, and essayist whose work has most recently been published in Toronto Life, HAD, and Bristol Noir. His fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, as well as Best Of The Net. Connect at pennjavdan.com and on twitter @ltrsxpenn.

Runner Up:

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY by Carolina Brettler* (drama)

Logline: When a young Latina starts work at a big investment firm, she must buy into the backstabbing, misogynistic culture of finance or risk losing the opportunity of a lifetime.

Carolina Brettler is a Colombian-American writer and director. After graduating from Harvard University, cum laude in Economics, she worked in finance as an Alternative Investments Analyst. Carolina is currently an assistant to two wonderful showrunners. She is repped by Industry Entertainment.

SHORTS Winner:

[OUTPUT] by Connor Riordan (drama)

Logline: After a drunk driver crashes into his car and leaves him with a medical implant, a grieving brother must come to terms with the tragic consequences of the crash.

Connor Riordan is a rising senior at Harvard studying History and Literature and Film. On campus and off, he is an actor and a writer, and has performed in productions like West Side Story (Tony), Macbeth (Macbeth), and the Hasty Pudding Theatricals. He is an avid lover of all things entertainment and is grateful to be a part of the Harvardwood community.


Winners (tied for first place):

MELLOW DRAMA by Eric Cheng* (comedy)

Logline: A closeted, Chinese American teen finally decides to chase his dream of becoming an Emma Roberts-inspired icon by joining his high school drama club, but his pursuit for authenticity is complicated when his midlife-crisis mom infiltrates to fulfill a dream of her own. 

Eric Cheng is a comedy writer and actor who tells stories from the queer and Asian perspectives. Currently, he performs sketch and improv at The Groundlings Theater. At Harvard, he studied Economics and Mind, Brain, and Behavior, was a cast member of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, and is the 2020 First Marshal.

OLIGARCHS by Deborah Cincotta (drama)

Logline: An international drama set in the complex world of three Russian oligarchs as they battle to keep their wealth and power, juggling their needs and that of their families with the ever-volatile demands of the Kremlin. 

Deborah Cincotta is an experienced development executive whose work recently evolved into writing film and TV scripts. She's led development at production companies at Disney, ABC/Signature and Columbia/Sony Studios.


MELLOW DRAMA by Eric Cheng* (comedy)
OLIGARCHS by Deborah Cincotta (drama)

* Eligible for network diversity programs

For more information about any of these scripts or writers, please contact [email protected]

Click here for the Harvardwood Writers Competition announcement in Deadline.


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