About Clarion West
Clarion West Mission Statement
The mission of Clarion West is to provide a high quality educational opportunity for writers of speculative fiction at the start of their careers.
Speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror, magic realism, and slipstream) gives voice to those who explore societal and technological change along with deeper considerations of underlying archetypes of human experience. Clarion West brings new writers to the field of speculative fiction by providing a venue for a transformative experience in the form of a lengthy and intensive workshop focusing on literary quality, diversity of viewpoints, range of material, and other essential qualities.
Clarion West is a nonprofit literary organization and is committed to equal opportunity. Although there are fine science fiction and fantasy writers of all ethnicities, races, and genders, historically the field has reflected the same prejudices found in the culture around it, leading to proportionately fewer successful writers of color and women writers than white male writers. Within the limitations of the workshop, Clarion West is dedicated to improving those proportions.
As an extension of its primary mission, Clarion West seeks to make speculative fiction available to the public and thus holds readings and other events that bring speculative fiction writers and readers together.
Some Background on Clarion West
The Clarion West Writers Workshop has been held continuously in Seattle, Washington since 1984, with three earlier sessions here in 1971, 1972, and 1973. It was modeled after the original Clarion Workshop held in Clarion, Pennsylvania, which in turn was modeled on the Milford Writers Workshop.
The 1971 Clarion West Writers Workshop was initiated by Vonda N. McIntyre, a Clarion graduate and a Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author, with the support of the original Clarion workshop's founder, Robin Scott Wilson. Instructors included Harlan Ellison, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Samuel R. Delany (who has since taught six more Clarion West sessions).
In 1984 J.T. Stewart, a Seattle writer who attended the 1973 session, and another local writer, Marilyn J. Holt, reconvened the workshop.
Clarion West incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1986, with workshop alumni and other interested members of the science fiction community forming our first Board of Directors.
With the help of many dedicated volunteers and a core of committed professional staff, the Clarion West Writers Workshop has produced some of science fiction and fantasy's top writers and editors, including Gordon Van Gelder, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Andy Duncan, Justina Robson, Ben Rosenbaum, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Mary Rosenblum, Kathryn Cramer, David Marusek, Sheree R. Thomas, David Levine, Andrea Hairston, and many others. (For a more complete list visit our Resources page.) Clarion West graduates have received every major form of recognition in the field, including the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards.
If you'd like to become part of the Clarion West story, there are many ways you can do that, from attending or teaching the workshop through volunteering, donating, and simply spreading the word. For more information on how you can get involved, please visit our Workshop, Donate, and Contact pages.
Clarion West Board of Directors:
- Karen G. Anderson, Chair
- Vicki N. Saunders, Vice Chair
- Susan Gossman, Treasurer
- Kelley Eskridge
- Nisi Shawl
- Phoebe Harris
- Felicia R. Gonzalez
- Leslie Howle, Workshop Director (ex officio)
- Neile Graham, Workshop Administrator (ex officio)