SLF Travel Grant

What I’ve been doing in my spare time lately: I was one of the judges for the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Gulliver Travel Research Grant this year. I was one of the winners of this grant a few years back, and I used it for a kickass trip to Canyon de Chelly in Chinle, Arizona, in the Navajo nation. Winning this grant was one of the pivotal experiences that helped me feel like a “real writer”, and persist long enough to get an agent and sell a novel. So it felt great to give back, so to speak, and help another writer get this opportunity.

It was tough, though. There were so many really good applications. I wish the SLF had enough money to give more grants. (Speaking of which, you can donate to the SLF tax-free!) Unfortunately, we could only choose one. So here’s the press release:


PO Box 1693
Dubuque, IA 52004-1693 –

For Immediate Release: October 12, 2010


The Speculative Literature Foundation is delighted to announce that
its 2010 Gulliver Travel Research Grant has been awarded to author
Joel Arnold. The $800 grant will be used to help Arnold to travel to
Wyoming and Montana to research his Native American steampunk novel,
“Coyote Steam”.

One of the judges said of his writing sample: “This story had
uncomfortable subject matter – racism, bodily mutilation, and painful
legacies. It took effort to get through it…I thought I knew where
Arnold was going…but then he went somewhere entirely different and
resolved the story in a way that was both powerful and poignant. Days
later, I was still thinking about it.”

Arnold’s stories have appeared in Pseudopod, Chizine, and Weird Tales,
among others, and he has published several short story collections and
three novels.

This year there were many excellent entries. Four Honourable Mentions
were given:

Rob Davies
Nalo Hopkinson
Kate Milford
Michael Swanwick

The Gulliver Travel Research Grant is awarded to assist a writer of
speculative fiction in his or her research. As in previous years, the
2010 grant of $800 is to be used to cover airfare, lodging, and/or
other expenses relating to the research for a project of speculative
fiction. The grant is awarded by a committee of Speculative Literature
Foundation members on the basis of interest and merit.

The grant is named after Gulliver, a character in the 1726 story
“Gulliver’s Travels” written by Jonathan Swift. The story represents
one of the earliest examples of fantasy travel.

Applications for the 2011 Gulliver Travel Research Grant will open on
July 1, 2011.

Congrats to Joel!

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