New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin created the Miskatonic Scholarship to support to a promising new writer of Lovecraftian cosmic horror attending the Odyssey Writing Workshop. As a boy, Martin came across his first story by H. P. Lovecraft. He says, “I had never read a story that scared me more . . . so of course I sought out more Lovecraft wherever I could find it.” Martin’s love of weird fiction grew, and he found that “No werewolf, no vampire, no thing going bump in the night could give me chills to equal those provided by the cosmic horrors that Lovecraft evoked.”
With the annual Miskatonic Scholarship, Martin hopes to provide “encouragement and inspiration to a new generation of writers.” And to one special scholarship candidate, Martin wants to offer the opportunity to learn and improve at the Odyssey Writing Workshop, one of the top programs in the world for writers of the fantastic. The scholarship covers full tuition and housing at the workshop.
The 2020 winner of the Miskatonic Scholarship is Scott Gray. Scott is a passionate writer living in New Hampshire. He developed a love of stories as a young boy, especially those that transported him to other worlds. To this day, Anne McCaffrey’s dragon riders and J. R. R. Tolkien’s hobbits hold a special place in his heart.
Scott’s love of fantasy drove him to try his hand at writing. He discovered that the magic found in the reading of a great story also existed in its telling. Since then, he has written short stories and is working on his fantasy novel.
Scott hopes that in the future, teenagers and adults get lost in the worlds that he creates.
Scott’s winning story, “The Path,” follows a man mourning his dead wife and struggling to adjust to life without her. Of his inspiration for the story, Scott says, “My wife is my heart and compass, and I cannot imagine a world without her. My love for her inspired me to write a story about a man navigating to adjust to his new reality while battling his beliefs and discovering there is life after loss.”
Jeanne Cavelos, one of the scholarship judges and director of the Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust, says, “The other judges and I loved the unique way that Scott’s story brought heart and a deep sense of humanity to this tale of cosmic horror. It evoked not only fear but also hope and joy.”
THE WALTER & KATTIE METCALF SINGING SPIDER SCHOLARSHIP
Funded by Pam Metcalf Harrington, Odyssey class of 2001, the Walter & Kattie Metcalf Singing Spider Scholarship is offered in honor of Pam’s parents, who encouraged a lifelong passion for reading and writing fantasy. The scholarship is also named for the infamous singing spiders, fictional characters who appeared in a novel excerpt submitted at Odyssey 2001. The scholarship is awarded to a fantasy writer whose novel excerpt shows great skill and promise, and it covers full tuition.
This year’s winner is Vikram Ramakrishnan, a Tamil-American writer and computer programmer who lives in New York City. He loves to write fiction about fantastic worlds imbued with South Asian elements. When he’s not writing, he’s either playing flamenco guitar or visiting arboretums with his Siberian Husky, Kratos. His short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Newfound, SAND Journal, and AE–The Canadian Science Fiction Review.
The winning novel excerpt, from Godmen Are Dropping Like Flies, impressed the judges with its strong world-building, well-chosen descriptive details, and intriguing magic system.
Vikram describes the key experience that triggered the writing of the novel, which is about a magic-user named Hari who works for the police: “A few years ago, I was trekking through southern India visiting temples with my father and we came across mystics who were convinced they had magical powers. They were captivating and I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I started picturing one of them leaving their temple-bound life behind to become a big city detective, which is how Godmen was born.”
Pam Metcalf Harrington says, “I absolutely loved the detailed descriptions of the characters and the setting. Hari’s magic is unique, and the story grabbed me from the first page.”
THE ENCHANTED BOND SCHOLARSHIP
Funded anonymously by an Odyssey supporter, this scholarship provides support to an outstanding fantasy writer each year. The scholarship awards $1,000 toward tuition.
The winner of the Enchanted Bond Scholarship is Francesca P. Rahe, a student currently living in Michigan. Her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She is an alumna of the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, and is looking forward to her Odyssey experience in the coming months.
Her winning short story, “Ashes and Dust,” was inspired by a combination of N. K. Jemisin’s fabulous Dreamblood Duology and an hour spent looking at her family’s photo albums.
The judging panel praised the story’s compelling voice, complex protagonist, and the emotional impact of the protagonist’s decision at the climax.
THE QUANTUM ENTANGLEMENT SCHOLARSHIP
Funded anonymously by an Odyssey graduate, the Quantum Entanglement Scholarship provides support to an outstanding writer of science fiction each year. The scholarship awards $1,000 toward tuition.
The 2020 winner of the Quantum Entanglement Scholarship is Maurice Haeems. Maurice has a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the University of Mumbai and an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Over the last 30 years, he has enjoyed successful careers in mechanical/fluid engineering, investment banking, and software entrepreneurship.
Thereafter, Maurice turned to his fourth career and first love–Writing, Storytelling, and Filmmaking. His first project, the multi-award-winning sci-fi feature film Chimera, which Maurice wrote and directed, was released in April 2019. Maurice is delighted and honored to be a part of the 2020 class of the Odyssey Writing Workshop.
Of his winning story, “The Third Incarnation,” Maurice says it represents his attempt at coming to terms with the practical and physical limitations of mass-positive superluminal travel, though he desperately hopes that he will be proven wrong within his lifetime. In the meantime, he continues to dream of Tachyons, Warp Fields, Worm Holes, and other equally cool conceptual conundrums.
Jeanne Cavelos, director of Odyssey, says, “Maurice’s story combines an unusual scientific premise with a fresh, vivid world and a character who excited me every time he appeared.”