The Octavia Project has just announced that their 2017 programming will be funded by none other than Ann and Jeff VanderMeer! The Octavia Project is a free summer program that teaches girls about science and technology using science fiction and fantasy. Founded in Brooklyn in 2014, it offers programs to girls from underserved communities both to help them acquire solid 21st Century skills, and to foster a love of SFF, and was “created to honor, support, and celebrate the imaginations of black and brown girls in Brooklyn, immigrant girls, and LGBTQ youth.”
The VanderMeers will be funding OP through VanderMeer Creative, and in addition to fiscal support, they’re offering “an all-expense paid scholarship (including air travel) to one 2017 Octavia Project participant to attend their summer writing intensive Shared Worlds at Wofford College in South Carolina in 2018.”
Co-founder and OP director Meghan McNamara was thrilled with the funding, saying, “Now in our third year, this sponsorship means we will have more time to create dynamic summer programming and get the word out to even more girls. It’s a dream come true at this stage in our development.” Co-founder Chana Porter particularly thanked the SFF community, saying, “From the very beginning, our greatest champions have come from the science fiction community. N.K. Jemisin, Malka Older, Ibi Zoboi, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, the staff of Tor.com—these members of the science fiction community helped make the Octavia Project possible.”
From the press release:
The Octavia Project uses girls’ passion in science fiction, fantasy, fan-fiction, and gaming to teach them skills in science, technology, art, and writing, equipping them with skills to dream and build new futures for themselves and their communities. Their inspiration and namesake is Octavia E. Butler, who broke barriers in writing and science fiction to become an award-winning and internationally recognized author (Kindred, Lilith’s Brood). The Octavia Project is inspired by her visions of possible futures and commitment to social justice.