February 13, 2018
George R.R. Martin is funding a scholarship to bring a little wonder into this world
by Michael Moglia
Let me begin by dashing your hopes: the story you’re about to read discusses George R.R. Martin, but contains no updates on Winds of Winter. Sorry. I’m as impatient as you are.
Instead, this is a story about Martin himself — by all accounts, a charitable guy. As Alison Flood reported late last month in the Guardian, Martin has recently funded the creation of an annual scholarship to cover the attendance of one aspiring “worldbuilder” at Seattle’s renowned Clarion West Writers Workshop.
How does one secure the scholarship? In Martin’s words, the scholarship will be given based on “both financial need and a talent for worldbuilding and the creation of secondary universes,” after a blind judging process that does not consider “age, race, sex, religion, skin colour, place of origin or field of study.”
Martin knows a thing or two about worldbuilding. Besides what we learn about the world of Westeros and Essos in his, oh, mildly popular Song of Ice and Fire series, in 2014 he co-authored, with Elio Garcia, Jr. and Linda Antonsson, The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros — a book that should be considered the standard of worldbuilding perfection, and one that reveals just how much work and passion sometimes go into creating a coherent fantasy world.
Martin is no stranger to philanthropy. In 2014, famously, he offered to name a character after anyone who donated 20,000 dollars or more to the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and the Food Depot of Santa Fe. So five years from now, when you’re still impatiently waiting for book six (jk, it better not take that long), and you turn to another series to satisfy your fantasy craving, you just may be immersing yourself in a world that got a boost from George RR Martin’s generosity. As Martin told Flood, “These days, the world is more need of wonder than ever before.”
Michael Moglia is an intern at Melville House.