The $1000 Gulliver Travel Grant

The SLF Gulliver Travel grants are awarded annually, since 2004, to assist writers of speculative literature (in fiction, poetry, drama, or creative nonfiction) in their research. They are not currently available for academic research, though we hope to offer such funds in the future. We are currently offering one $1000 travel grant annually, to be used to cover airfare, lodging, and/or other travel expenses.

Our travel grants will be awarded by a committee of SLF staff members on the basis of interest and merit. Factors considered will include:

  • a one-page written description of the project in question, including details on the travel location and an estimated completion date (no more than 500 words)
  • a writing sample in the proposed genre (up to 10 pages of poetry, 10 pages of drama, or 5000 words of fiction or creative nonfiction); please note that the writing sample must be a solo work (work completed only by the applicant).
  • a bibliography of previously-published work by the author (no more than one page, typed); applicants need not have previous publications to apply.

If awarded the grant, the recipient agrees to write a brief report of their research experience (500-1000 words) for our files, and for possible public dissemination on our website.

PLEASE NOTE: This grant, as with all SLF grants, is intended to help writers working within speculative literature. If you’re not sure what areas that term encompasses, we recommend referencing our FAQ (question #2).

Travel Grant Application Procedures

  1. Send the three items listed above to our travel grant administrator as attached .doc files, to travel@speculativeliterature.org. Include a brief cover letter with your name and contact info (e-mail, phone in case of emergency). If you have questions, direct them to that same address.
  2. You may apply for travel to take place at any point in the following year (from October to the following October).
  3. Travel may take place from any country to any country, or internally within a country; the grants are unrestricted. Funds will be disbursed in U.S. currency (but can be sent through PayPal if that is more convenient for international recipients).
  4. Travel grant applications will be considered from July 1st to September 30th, annually. Applications received outside that period will be discarded unread.
  5. The grant recipient will be announced by November 15th, annually. All applicants will be notified of the status of their application by that date.

Special Note: On Poetry

Although the Speculative Literature Foundation accepts poetry samples for the Older Writers Grant, we believe it can be difficult for a set of short poems to compete alongside lengthy fiction samples. We recommend poet applicants to keep this in mind when submitting for the grant.

When comparing the speculative poetry we receive to the speculative fiction submitted for the grant, speculative poetry is, for the most part, too brief and far less detailed. Short speculative (spec) poetry provides brief, albeit vivid snapshots due to the far fewer lines. A 10,000-word sample has the potential to give us more to enjoy because its length allows for plot development, characterization and world-building.

Now, this is not to say that speculative fiction will beat out spec poetry each and every time. Often, we get speculative fiction that simply is not well-written nor features the best part of the story. Too many times an applicant sends a 10,000-word excerpt of a novel where little to nothing happens, but then includes a synopsis that is quite intriguing. We find that frustrating because we want to like the story based on that great synopsis.

So we suggest that poet applicants who write longer speculative fiction consider submitting a longer work for the grant instead. Good writing is good writing, no matter the length or form. But a short poem crammed word-for-word, line-for-line with wonderful goodness may not stay with us like a well-written 10,000-word fiction sample that invites us into its world, shows us around a bit, and asks us to stay awhile.

That being said, an applicant does not need to submit a 10,000-word novel excerpt to win the grant. Half of our winners have submitted short stories, and one of our Honorable Mentions submitted a play.

No matter what form or length you send us, please make sure that your poems, plays or long fiction samples are high quality and your best work. We look forward to your applications.

Grant Winners

To see a list of all previous Gulliver Travel grant winners, click here.