2019 Odyssey Writing Workshop Scholarship Opportunities


The Odyssey Writing Workshop is an acclaimed, six-week program for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror held each summer in New Hampshire. Writers apply from all over the world; only fifteen are admitted. For those attending, Odyssey is pleased to announce that five scholarships and one work/study position are available.

GeorgeMartin*New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin is excited to once again offer a scholarship to help a horror writer with financial need attend Odyssey. Martin explains, “Odyssey has become legendary for the challenges it sets for students and the enthusiasm with which they meet those challenges. And all that writing, learning, critiquing, and sweat yields great results. Among Odyssey’s alumni are New York Times bestsellers, Amazon bestsellers, and award winners.”

The Miskatonic Scholarship is awarded each year to a promising writer of Lovecraftian cosmic horror, a type of fiction Martin loves and wants to encourage. The scholarship covers full tuition, textbook, and housing. Martin says, “It’s my hope that this new scholarship will offer an opportunity to a worthy applicant who might not otherwise have been able to afford the Odyssey experience.”

Last year’s scholarship winner, Valerie San Filippo, explains the impact of the Miskatonic Scholarship on her Odyssey experience: “I wouldn’t have been able to attend Odyssey if not for George R. R. Martin and the Miskatonic Scholarship. Odyssey and the scholarship made it possible for me to devote my mind and heart fully to my craft, to level up my writing, and to meet some of the most wonderful, talented people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I left the workshop motivated and professionally equipped to take on the writing world. To know that George supported my writing journey heartens me beyond belief. To any writer out there who wants to attend Odyssey but worries about the cost, I encourage you to apply for the Miskatonic Scholarship. It’s an incredible opportunity. I’m so glad I applied.”

Applicants must demonstrate financial need in a separate application. A panel of three judges will select the winner from among the applicants who have demonstrated financial need, using the writing samples sent with the workshop applications. Martin notes, “we are not looking for Lovecraft pastiches, nor even Cthulhu Mythos stories. References to Arkham, Azathoth, shoggoths, the Necronomicon, and the fungi from Yuggoth are by no means obligatory . . . though if some candidates choose to include them, that’s fine as well. What we want is the sort of originality that H. P. Lovecraft displayed in his day, something that goes beyond the tired tropes of werewolves, vampires and zombies, into places strange and terrifying and never seen before. What we want are nightmares new and resonant and profound, cosmic terrors that will haunt our dreams for years to come.” Contact Odyssey Director Jeanne Cavelos (email jcavelos@odysseyworkshop.org) for the Miskatonic application, which is due April 1.

*Bestselling author and Odyssey graduate Sara King is sponsoring the Parasite Publications Character Awards to provide financial assistance to three character-based writers wishing to attend this summer’s Odyssey. The Parasite Publications Character Awards, three scholarships in the amounts of $2,060 (full tuition), $500, and $300, will be awarded to the three members of the incoming class who are deemed extraordinarily strong character writers, creating powerful, emotional characters that grab the reader and don’t let go. No separate application is required.

*New this year, the Chris Kelworth Memorial Scholarship will be offered to a Canadian writer admitted to Odyssey. Chris, a 2013 Odyssey graduate, was an inspiration to many Odyssey alumni and a strong believer in creating systems and participating in events to increase his productivity, such as setting goals, attending workshops, and participating in NaNoWriMo. This scholarship, funded by alumni and friends of Chris, will cover $900 of tuition. A separate application is required and due April 1. Contact Odyssey Director Jeanne Cavelos (email jcavelos@odysseyworkshop.org) for the Chris Kelworth Memorial Scholarship application.

*One work/study position is also available. The work/study student spends about six hours per week performing duties for Odyssey, such as photocopying, sending stories to guests, distributing mail to students, and preparing for guest visits. Odyssey reimburses $800 of the work/study student’s tuition. The work/study student will be expected to fulfill the regular requirements of Odyssey in addition to these duties. Contact Odyssey Director Jeanne Cavelos (email jcavelos@odysseyworkshop.org) for the work/study application, which is due April 30.

About Odyssey

odysseyThe Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the mission of helping promising writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror improve their work. Odyssey’s six-week, intensive workshop, held each year since 1996, is widely considered one of the top programs for writers of the fantastic. Odyssey director Jeanne Cavelos is a former senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell, bestselling author, and winner of the World Fantasy Award. Top authors, agents, and editors serve as guest lecturers. Intensive instruction in advanced writing techniques, in-depth feedback on manuscripts, and one-on-one guidance help students to make major improvements. Graduates say they learned more in six weeks than in two years at a creative writing MFA program. Fifty-nine percent go on to professional publication.

This summer’s workshop, held on the campus of Saint Anselm College, runs from JUNE 3 to JULY 12, 2019. Class meets for over 4½ hours each day, 5 days a week, for workshopping and lectures. Students spend about 8 hours more per day writing and critiquing each other’s work.

The early action application deadline is JANUARY 31, and the regular application deadline is APRIL 1. All applicants receive feedback on their writing sample.

Odyssey is funded in part by donations from graduates, grantors and supporters, and in part by student tuition. Tuition is $2,060, and housing in campus apartments is $892 for a double room and $1,784 for a single.

In addition to the five scholarships and work/study position, other opportunities for financial assistance exist. 

Writers from the New York Metropolitan Area (including New Jersey) are eligible to apply for the Donald A. and Elsie B. Wollheim Memorial Scholarship, created by the New York Science Fiction Society–the Lunarians. The amount of the scholarship is variable.

Members of the Horror Writers Association are eligible for one or both of the scholarships they offer, each worth $2,500.

Since Odyssey is a member of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, those accepted into Odyssey can apply for AWP’s three Kurt Brown Prizes, scholarships of $500 each.

For more information, visit http://www.odysseyworkshop.org/workshop.html. The Odyssey site offers many programs and resources for writers, including online classes, webinars, a critique service, consultations, coaching, free podcasts, author interviews, writing tips, and a monthly online discussion salon.


Interview: Graduate & Guest Lecturer Sara King (Part 2 of 3)

SaraAuthorpicAlaskan writer Sara King will be a guest lecturer at this summer’s Odyssey Writing Workshop. She is the bestselling author of The Legend of ZEROOuter BoundsGuardians of the First Realm, and her latest urban fantasy series, Sunny Day, Paranormal Badass, among others. She’s an alumna of the 2008 Odyssey Writing Workshop and has spent the last six years forging a successful career in independent publishing in the sci-fi and fantasy genres. To her chagrin, she is owned by four 120-plus-pound Tibetan Mastiffs, cautiously maintains a flock of ninja chickens, and has so many literary irons in the fire that she’s losing count. Thankfully, whenever she needs writing inspiration, she can step out her front door to go wandering in the Alaskan wilderness until she gets cold or almost dies—usually one or the other, but sometimes both—and then stumble home with fresh stories to tell and a new respect for falling, drowning, hypothermia, disorientation, and aggressive 1,500-pound wildlife.

Part 1 of this interview, posted last Sunday, is available here.

For the past four years, you have sponsored the Parasite Publications Character Awards, which provide scholarships to three character-based writers attending Odyssey. Thank you for your generosity! What draws you to character-driven fiction? What do you think plot-driven writers could learn from writers of character-driven fiction?

Uh oh. You asked The Question. (Warning: What follows is a rant on the state of science fiction as an art form, how it lags behind the other genres in both readership and author diversity because it is actually less evolved creatively than the other genres, and how it needs to be brought up to par with all the other genres by intrepid people like you.) Well, for one, I can’t believe you’re asking this question. It’s my humble opinion (f*** it, I’m not very humble) that character-driven fiction is the best kind, hands down, because it allows readers to fully submerge themselves in the minds, situations, and psyches of another human being, enriching them for life afterwards. Name me one other medium that can do that. It allows people to live lives they haven’t lived, experience emotions they otherwise wouldn’t experience, and make friends they otherwise wouldn’t have had. The most gripping stories are character driven. Stephen King, Dean Koontz, George Lucas, George R.R. Martin, Patricia Cornwell, Orson Scott Card, David Baldacci. Every thriller I’ve ever read has been character driven, and they have to be—otherwise people won’t have any investment in whether the character lives or dies, and the end result of the thriller would be moot. Same for romance or fantasy. Continue reading “Interview: Graduate & Guest Lecturer Sara King (Part 2 of 3)”