Tag: workshop

George RR Martin

George R.R. Martin Creates Scholarship for Ambitious Worldbuilders

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”.


Tyrion dancing

Via Wifflegif


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.


Featured Image Via The Studio Exec. 

Rikers Island Poets

Rikers Island Inmates Use Poetry to Feel Free Behind Bars

The women who live at the Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island might be inmates, but they’re also accomplished authors. A small group of women gather together once a week for a writer’s workshop where they are encouraged to write what’s on their mind. The drop-in workshop sees about ten attendees on average, and each hour and a half session begins with a free write, followed by a prompt, and finally, the participants read their work out loud.


The room is small, with bars on the windows, and the women hold golf pencils, as anything larger could be considered a weapon. This past Tuesday, the group celebrated the publication of their third book of work, reading excerpts of their poetry and a few new pieces.


“It’s peace of mind. You basically get out of jail for a couple hours, you get to put your thoughts on paper,” said Leanna Franco, a twenty-six year old inmate who has participated in the workshop for six of the eight months she has been there. “You look out the window and you see gates, but the time that you’re in here it’s like you’re not behind the gates.”


Franco writes about her past and her future, just like many of her fellow inmates. She was shocked to see how much they have in common. “A lot of times we’re writing about the same stuff,” said Franco. “It’s nice.”


Marina Abramchuck, a twenty-eight year old Brooklyn-born woman who predominantly writes poetry, joined the workshop about a month ago. “I like writing, expressing myself,” she said. “It’s hard to talk to people around here. It’s the one time of the week I can get away from all the drama and the craziness.”


The workshop is run by the New York Writers Coalition. Deborah Clearman has been running workshops at the women’s prison since 2011, and has edited the book of collected prose, Can You Feel The Free In Me: Writing from Rikers Island


The seventy-page book features contributions from twenty-three different writers, both current and former inmates. They talk about addiction, abuse, fears and hopes for the future. 


“Jail life is very stressful and very chaotic. They always have a lot on their mind and the writing just flows out of them,” said Clearman. “What they get is a chance to express themselves, hear themselves. And they listen too.”


Aaron Zimmerman, the founder and executive director of the NY Writers Coalition, said the workshop allows the participants to have a supportive space. “Everyone has so much going on inside them. Naming things is very important. If you can name something, then you can examine it. Our focus is working with people who aren’t heard from often enough.”


Featured Image Via AM New York.