World-Building Essay Wins Award

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I’m pleased to note that my essay “Building Coherent Fantasy Worlds: Taoism and Earthsea” has been awarded the 2019 Library Research Award from Antioch University Los Angeles. The award came with a $700 purse, and I gave a short presentation on my research methods and process at a ceremony on May 15.

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The award committee made this comment in awarding the prize:

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“Your work ‘Building Coherent Fantasy Worlds: Taoism and Earthsea’ was excellent, exemplary. The committee was especially impressed and moved by the ways you traversed the concepts of Taoism and of LeGuin, both a melding and a juxtaposition of ideas and texts while creating your own small work to sit alongside those. It was an inspired and inspiring endeavor. Your use of library tools, the scholarship that the library collects, was well done, and allowed for a depth of interaction with the texts in question. And your paper, your writing, was a pleasure to read.”

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The essay circles around the subject of world-building—the way that writers of fantasy and science fiction create worlds that differ from our own but nonetheless seem believable. I focus primarily on the work of Ursula K. Le Guin, tracing the way that her lifelong interest in Taoism influenced her creation of the world of Earthsea. If you’re interested, you can read the paper by downloading it from the AULA Library website. I am working to adapt it into a craft essay for wider publication.
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(To apply for the award, I also had to write a reflective essay on my research process. You can read that essay here.)