Writers-of-Color Scholarship Fund

The science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres derive their strength from the full community of writers who tell their stories. The faculty and alumni of the Viable Paradise workshop believe that diverse voices need to be heard, and there are stories, styles of storytelling, and points of view the field has yet to fully promote. We want to help see that change and are proud to put our conviction into practice by offering the Viable Paradise Writers-of-Color Scholarship.

Thanks to the generous support of the Viable Paradise community – in particular the students and faculty of Viable Paradise 21 – we are offering two half-tuition scholarships to help writers of color attend next year’s Viable Paradise workshop.

A writer of color who applies to attend Viable Paradise can apply for the Writers-of-Color Scholarship at the same time just by checking one box on the application. The readers who assess applications will not be given this information during the selection process.

Once the readers have decided whom to accept for the workshop, our application system will randomly select two scholarship winners from among those applicants who were accepted to the workshop and who also applied for the Writers-of-Color Scholarship. We will notify these applicants of their scholarship award when we notify them of their acceptance, and their tuition bill will be reduced by half.

This scholarship is intended to help writers of color attend the Viable Paradise workshop. If you identify as a writer of color and are accepted to Viable Paradise, then you qualify.

We recognize that “writer of color” is a general term, and that is intentional. Our goal is to promote diverse voices from as many racial, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds as we can. That is why we invite applicants to self-identify as writers of color, and aim to create a space in which they feel safe doing so. We trust all applicants will identify honestly.

Viable Paradise believes that all kinds of diversity are important. The Writers-of-Color Scholarship is our first initiative of this kind, and we have much to learn about how to offer and administer such programs.

As we move forward, we hope to either expand this program, or replicate it so as to cast a wider net and support an even broader array of voices. The Writers-of-Color Scholarship is a start to this process, and we look forward to learning more about how to support diversity in the coming years.

Viable Paradise is a small organization, with limited resources to fund such a scholarship indefinitely. By limiting the scholarships to half the cost of tuition, we can:

  • help two people attend the workshop each year, and thus bring in two new diverse voices,
  • help the workshop maintain the scholarship program for future VP classes.

We recognize that half a tuition still leaves many voices unheard, which is why our current program is just a start. We have announced stretch goals for this program, and if we raise a total of $2,600, we will not only award two half-tuition scholarships but also fully fund both scholarship students’ travel to and from the workshop.

We would like to do more. But since this is a new initiative, we want to start small and meaningfully, and see how it goes. As the program continues, we will be actively exploring how to better support diverse voices in the field of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

We’d love to hear your thoughts or feedback! You can reach out to us at: https://viableparadise.com/about-viable-paradise/contact/

Viable Paradise will never publicly announce scholarship recipients. Whether you attend VP on a scholarship or not, we will not put you on the spot in that way. Recipients, however, are free to announce it if they wish.

To help protect the safety of Viable Paradise students, faculty, and staff, applications are not anonymized. This means that the faculty and staff who review applications will see the names of people who applied (and whatever other information they have included in their application packet).

However, only the workshop’s treasurer and application coordinators will know whether an applicant has also applied for the Writers-of-Color Scholarship. Other faculty and staff reviewing applications will not.

We’d love for you to help our Writers-of-Color Scholarship! Here are some of the ways that you can help:

  1. Spread the word. Tweet, post to Facebook, tell your writers’ groups, tell your friends, tell your communities. Let people who could benefit from our writers-of-color scholarship or help the program know about it.
  2. Support the scholarship. If you’d like to make a tax-deductible gift to the Viable Paradise Writers-of-Color Scholarship Fund, you can do so online at: https://viableparadise.com/the-vp-community/support-viable-paradise/
  3. Sponsor an application. Maybe a loved one who can apply needs a little nudge. You can sponsor their application online at: https://viableparadise.com/vp-application-gift-certificate/

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