George R.R. Martin has created the Worldbuilder Scholarship for budding science fiction and fantasy writers, which will pay for tuition, fees and lodging for a six-week intensive in Seattle known as the Clarion West Writers Workshop.

“The best fantasy carries us far from the fields we know, to worlds beyond the hill, worlds that, once visited, live on in our imaginations for the rest of our lives,” said the Game of Thrones scribe on his blog.

“These days, the world is in more need of wonder than ever before.”

Martin said the scholarship is open to applicants worldwide and will be offered on an ongoing annual basis. Each year’s winner will be selected in a blind judging based on financial need, as well as a demonstrated “talent for worldbuilding and the creation of secondary universes.” The deadline to apply is March 1, 2018.

The roster of instructors at the Clarion West Writers Workshop this summer include Karen Joy Fowler, Yoon Ha Lee, Daniel Abraham, Ken MacLeod and Ellen Datlow.

Though his Song of Fire and Ice series has achieved international acclaim now, Martin says the early days of writing were a challenge.

“I remember very well what it was like to be a writer starting out, struggling for sales and counting every dime. It is my hope that the Worldbuilder Scholarship will help the next great fantasist on the long journey ahead,” explained Martin.

“As Tolkien himself wrote, every journey begins with a single step.”