George R. R. Martin has begun a new quest, but this one’s based in reality. In order to help create and inspire a new generation of authors, the Game of Thrones author has begun funding a scholarship for those with ambitions to create new fantasy worlds, because “these days, the world [has] more need of wonder than ever before”.
Martin’s newly founded annual “Worldbuilder” scholarship will fund one writer to experience the six-week writing course at the Clarion West Writers Workshop in Seattle. Clarion West, says Martin, is “one of the longest-running and most successful workshops in the world,” and while the workshop already offers a range of scholarships and financial aid, “you can never have too many”.
I remember very well what it was like to be a writer starting out, struggling for sales, and counting every dime. It is my hope that the Worldbuilder scholarship will help the next great fantasist on the long journey ahead. As Tolkien himself wrote, every journey begins with a single step.
According to Martin, the best epic fantasies “require a memorable setting … a world both like and unlike our own, with its own rich history and geography and customs, its own beauties and terrors.” The winner will be selected with a blind judging process and “will not be limited by age, race, sex, religion, skin color, place of origin or field of study,” and will demonstrate “both financial need and a talent for worldbuilding and the creation of secondary universes,” said the author.
Martin, known for his incredible worldbuilding abilities, sang the praises of other talented authors, including the late Ursula K. Le Guin, Jack Vance, Terry Pratchett, Robert E. Howard, Roger Zelazny, as well as the worlds of “Oz, Neverland, Narnia, Wonderland, Zothique, Gormenghast, and the list goes on and on and on.”
The scholarship will cover tuition, fees and lodging, and the first scholarship will be awarded for a place in the 2018 summer workshop.
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