About us

Students and staff at the Summer 2013 Writers Workshop. Photo by Vince Haig, 2013.

Clarion West Writers Workshop is a nonprofit literary organization based in Seattle, Washington, with a mission to improve speculative fiction by providing high quality education to writers at the start of their careers. As an extension of its primary mission, Clarion West also makes speculative fiction available to the public by presenting readings and other events that bring writers and readers together.

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. 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.

Modeled after the original Clarion Workshop held in Clarion, Pennsylvania, which in turn was modeled on the Milford Writers Workshop, Clarion West has been held continuously in Seattle, Washington since 1984, with three earlier sessions held here in 1971, 1972, and 1973. From the beginning, the workshop been run by writers, for writers. The 1971 workshop was initiated by Vonda N. McIntyre, a Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author and a Clarion graduate herself, with the support of the original Clarion workshop’s founder, Robin Scott Wilson. 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 its first Board of Directors. With the help of many dedicated volunteers and a core of committed professional staff, Clarion West has produced some of science fiction and fantasy’s top writers and editors. Graduates have received every major form of recognition in the field, including the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards.

Clarion West is honored to receive support from a broad and diverse group of organizations.  This support, along with individual donations, enables the organization to fulfill its mission.

4Culture
Amazon.com
Carl Brandon Society
Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
Empire and Great Jones Creative Arts Foundation
Inkshares
National Endowment for the Arts
New York Science Fiction Society / The Lunarians, Inc.
Norwescon
Oregon Science Fiction Conventions, Inc.
Potlatch
SF3 (supporting the Women in Speculative Fiction Fund)
University Book Store

Clarion West receives generous scholarship and instructorship support in honor of the following individuals:

Elliot Alexander
Michael Alexander
Mark Bourne
Octavia E. Butler
Gordon R. Dickson
Leslie Howle
Robert and Dorothy Munson
Susan C. Petrey
Donald A. and Elsie B. Wollheim

Our Staff

Rebecca Lane

Interim Executive Director

Rebecca LaneRebecca’s life’s work is driven by a passion for social justice and powerful change based in logic and equity. As a systems thinker and seasoned executive and development professional, she takes great joy in bringing a culture of philanthropy to every organization she supports. Nonprofit work is hard to do well; the best organizations have both discipline and spirit. In her personal life, she’s a textile artist and gardener.

Neile Graham

Workshop Director

neile-grahamCanadian-born, Neile has been in awe of what happens at Clarion West since she attended as a student in 1996 and is delighted that her life since is still full of writing and writers. She has three published collections and a spoken word CD of poetry, as well as numerous projects in the works.

Micaiah “Huw” Evans

Workshop Administrator

m-huw-evansA native of the Pacific Northwest, Huw attended Clarion West in 2012. He writes (mostly speculative) fiction and lives in Seattle with his wife, daughter, and far too many books.

Katherine Sparrow

One-Day Workshop Coordinator

Katherine SparrowKatherine is a writer and social worker living in Seattle with her partner, two kids, and the enigmatic Couch and Chair (guinea pigs). She attended Clarion West in 2005.

Kris Millering

Communications Specialist

Kris MilleringKris Millering is a linguist by training, a tech tinkerer by trade, and a writer and photographer by avocation. She moved to Seattle from Iowa twenty years ago, and now lives between the ocean and the mountains on the Olympic Peninsula. She attended Clarion West in 2009.

Suzanne Tompkins

Office Manager

suzanne-tompkinsAn independent association manager and meeting planner, Suzanne (aka Suzle) has been involved in SF fandom since the mid-60’s. She has co-edited four fanzines and helps to run numerous SF cons, most recently the Seattle Potlatches, as well as the 2011 and 2013 Worldcons.

Kate Schaefer

Database Administrator

Kate SchaeferKate’s past includes financial analysis for a large but now-defunct bank, database programming, attending Clarion West in 1992, and a great deal of sewing. Her present includes cloud database administration, volunteering for Clarion West, much sewing, and a long reading list.

Erik Owomoyela

Website Manager

erik-owomoyelaA former Nebraskan, Erik first moved west to attend Clarion West in 2010. He now lives in Seattle, finding creative applications for his journalism degree.

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