A faculty endowment and a creative writing workshop are coming to Northwestern University thanks to donations made by school alumnus George RR Martin, author of the novels “A Song of Ice and Fire,” about which the series “Game of Thrones” was based.
$3 million in donations from the novelist will help create the George RR Martin Intensive Summer Writing Workshop targeting journalists looking to broaden their horizons in creative writing. The program is expected to begin in 2024 and expects to accommodate six to eight people.
“Every journalist I know has a novel or a screenplay in their drawer that they would like to see developed,” said Medill School of Journalism dean Charles Whitaker. “I think writers are interested in storytelling in all its permutations.”
An additional $2 million will go towards the establishment of the George RR Martin Chair in Storytelling, an endowed chair that will lead the workshop while teaching courses in narrative nonfiction and creative writing. Classes will be open to Northwestern graduate and undergraduate students, and Whitaker hopes to be ready to accept about 18 students by fall 2023.
Martin, a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in journalism, reached out to the school to ask for a way to give back, telling Whitaker how important some of the classes he took at Northwestern were in shaping his work.
To find an instructor, the university plans to conduct a national search for the best candidate. Unfortunately, Martin won’t be leading the program but, according to Whitaker, he could come and give talks if his time permits.
The application process for the workshop has yet to be finalized, but Whitaker expects sample writing to play a part.
“George RR Martin is a prolific and iconic author with an international audience,” Northwestern Chairman Michael H. Schill said in a press release. “We are so grateful for his generosity to his alma mater, who will inspire and equip the next generation of Northwestern storytellers.”