Texas’s own top author, Sarah Bird, who will be speaking in Dallas September 12 at the Authorlink Sociable Lecture Series, has been selected to participate in Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep’s Writers Lab. Sarah is one of only twelve chosen participants.

In April, Meryl Streep launched an initiative to encourage female screenwriters over the age of 40 and this week has seen the announcement of who will be included.

The Writers Lab, initially revealed at this year’s Tribeca film festival, received over 3,500 submissions, a number that was higher than anticipated. This then led to the number of participant being raised from eight to 12.

The women selected are: Sarah Bird, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen; Vanessa Carmichael, The American; Tracy Charlton, Raised Up; Kellen Hertz, Ashburn; Anna Hozian, Anchor Baby; Lyralen Kaye, St John the Divine in Iowa; Jan Kimbrough, The Glastonbury Cow Party; Billie Mason, The Cargo; Peres Owino, Basketweaver; Gretchen Somerfeld, Face Value; Janet Stilson, Jaguar Trail; and Kim Turner, It Goes Like This.

The lab is a collaboration with the Writers Guild of America East who were involved in the judging process and Streep, who has provided full funding. The writers selected will now take part in the first session from 18-20 September, involving mentors that include Kirsten Smith (Legally Blonde), Gina Prince-Bythewood (Beyond the Lights), Meg LeFauve (Inside Out) and Caroline Kaplan (Me and You and Everyone We Know).

In recent years, Streep has attached herself to films that are either directed or written by women, including It’s Complicated, The Iron Lady, Ricki and the Flash and the forthcoming drama Suffragette.