Support the Vonda N. McIntyre Sentient Squid Scholarship

Help us help writers learn how to combat cultural toxicity and create narratives that represent and reflect the world.

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Yes, this is possible! And we need your help to make it happen for more people.

Writing the Other aims to help authors at any point in their career path and from every background, including those who don’t have the money to pay us.

In general, we want to be able to set aside at least a quarter of the available spots in our classes for writers who need full or partial scholarships. To meet this goal, we need to raise funds from direct donations OR get up to $2,000 in monthly support via our Patreon. And because we are in a fiscal sponsorship with Clarion West, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, all donations are tax deductible.

Want to make a large (over $1,000) donation? Please contact us first.

About the Vonda N. McIntyre Sentient Squid Scholarship

Our fund is named for author Vonda N. McIntyre, an award-winning and beloved science fiction and fantasy novelist who passed away in April 2019, and whose generosity is the reason this scholarship exists. In 2016, Vonda offered to pay for a registration in an upcoming Writing the Other class so writers who couldn’t afford to take it could still benefit. Though she didn’t want public credit, we named the scholarship “Sentient Squid” in secret honor of a character in her Starfarer book series, the “squidmoth” Nemo.

When announced, her anonymous donation inspired others to donate as well, covering all or part of the enrollment fees for two additional students. Enough donations came in afterwards that we were able to establish a small scholarship fund. Over the years Vonda gave to the fund on multiple occasions, always without wanting credit, and promoted it whenever we had a fundraising drive. Because of her support and example, Writing the Other has been able to offer scholarship spots in every course since Spring 2016 and make our classes more financially accessible. To date, the Sentient Squid Scholarship has provided over $15,000 in financial aid to a wide range of deserving applicants. Approximately 20% of alumni have benefited directly from scholarship funds.

Will you help us reach our goals? A donation from you would really help us in supporting more voices telling more and more inclusive stories.

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What Our Scholarship Students Say

The Sentient Squid scholarship allowed me to take my first ever writing workshop. Beyond teaching me invaluable information regarding writing the “other,” this class provided exercises to improve my craft, opportunities to expand my network, and access to terrific resources. I was able to take a subsequent class with the alumni discount & use the resources to identify additional online workshops appropriate to my budget, schedule & genre. I’m an older working mom who’s managing various health challenges–both my own & my kids. Until I won this scholarship, I thought writing workshops were just a dream for me. A “one day” thing. Now I’m aware of accessible options available.

—Dianne McNeill

I’ve been blessed to receive multiple Sentient Squid Scholarships, and the courses I’ve taken through them have completely changed the way I approach my fiction writing. I am grateful for everything I’ve learned, and for the huge collection of resources I’ve gained for future research.

—Dianna Gunn

“I can’t begin to describe what I got out of being able to take this course, and I wouldn’t have been able to take it without [donor] contributions. I screamed when I got the email saying I’d received a scholarship, because I knew how amazing this opportunity would be.”

–a Student

Receiving the Sentient Squid Scholarship both instilled further confidence in me as a writer and enabled me to grow in ways I wouldn’t have been able to without taking the Description Deep Dive class. Both my ability to describe other kinds of people and my ability to describe anything in general improved massively, and I noticed immediately it in my writing after the class was over. I’ve continued to improve since then by using the tools given to me during that class. Receiving the scholarship has had long-term effects on my writing that I wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise.

— James Henry Feeman

“Each Master Class gave me additional tools to see even more facets of the world in ways I hadn’t before; these tools are already helping to make my writing stronger with every new story. With pre-teen twins and a single-income household, there’s not a lot of money to spare on professional development for a non-earning writer—even though it helps lead to future earnings. [The scholarship] allowed me to participate at a level I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.”

–a Student

“A scholarship to attend Writing the Other’s class on Deaf and Blind Characters came at a time when my family could not have afforded my attendance otherwise. The information has been incredibly valuable since the seminar, and I am pleased to say I prevented me from making grave errors in writing a blind character in my work in progress.”

–a Student

For two years I had the outline of a novel in my head but couldn’t get it started because I wanted it to be diverse and I didn’t know how to accomplish that. “Writing the Other” was just what I needed. I started the novel the day after the webinar ended. There are lots of problems in writing a novel, but making it diverse shouldn’t be one of them. This webinar scholarship was such a blessing.

— Mary Williams

Being given the chance to attend on a sliding scale means that I have an opportunity to join a writing workshop I wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. It’s my goal to find, study, and correct the unexamined biases (particularly in regards to sexuality and neurodiversity) that’s undoubtedly crept into my writing. I hope to fail better in the future, while understanding that there’s no real “end-game” to be achieved and that improving on our biases is an ongoing and never-ending process.

— a Student

As a financially struggling trans man, I don’t have the means to attend classes for professional development, despite how much I want to and how much I know it would improve my work. I was lucky enough to receive a Sentient Squid Scholarship which removed that financial burden, allowing me to attend the Deep Dive into Building Inclusive Worlds course. The course changed the way I look at world building and the scholarship gave me the space I needed to expand my knowledge and grow as a writer. Please support the scholarship and all of the incredible work of Writing the Other. Your support helps struggling writers like me and improves our community profoundly.

— Luke Tolvaj

As a school librarian in a public high school, I have shared what I learned from Writing the Other workshops in talking with students about their writing. The scholarships gave me the tools to go beyond, “That’s problematic, you should re-do that” in our discussions. I have also been able to improve selecting books for our library and making recommendations for books used in classrooms.

— a Student

The Sentient Squid Scholarship was a unique opportunity for me, and I’m thankful for it. I’m from Brazil, and we don’t have many creative writing classes here and classes about “writing the other” are nonexistent. It gave me the chance to learn how to write better and to rethink the way I write, while it also taught me how to tell my own experience better. I’ve had always tried to write outside of the dominant culture, thinking about ways to escape toxic tropes and unlearn internalized patterns that reinforce the marginalization of certain people, and this class gave me plenty of tools to do that. It has been more than a year since I finished the class, and I still find myself going back to what they taught me.

— Jordana

I was very hesitant about applying for a scholarship, but I’m so glad that I did! My economy didn’t allow for me to spend any money on a writing course, but if it was one course I wanted to do, it was Writing the Other. It definitely lived up to my expectations! I got a lot of new things to consider in my writing, plus answers to many of my questions and also the courage to keep trying to write diverse characters and not feel too bad when I fail. I wouldn’t have done the course if not for the scholarship. Because of it I got the confidence to write some of my best stories, which are much more layered now that I’ve really thought about their characters in depth.

— a Student

The scholarship meant a lot to me. Unemployed, it gave me the ability to attend the Worldbuilding Class. This class expanded my horizons, showed me my own biases, and got me back into writing after a long absence. I loved this class, and hope to see more like it.

— Meghan Mac

Contact Us using the form below to make a large donation to the scholarship fund

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