Alumni News

Clarion West Alumni News, July 2015

It’s the busiest time of year for Clarion West—the Six-Week Workshop, the Summer Reading Series, and the Write-a-thon are in high gear! The Six-Week Workshop students arrived in Seattle this year at the beginning of a historic heat wave, but they’re soldiering through and getting some excellent work done.

If you’re in the Seattle area, we would love to see you at the Summer Reading Series. Our last reading event of the summer with Cory Doctorow is coming up, and if you buy your tickets in advance you’ll be entered to win a book signed by Doctorow.

The Write-a-thon is going strong, and we appreciate every writer who participates and every sponsor who donates. This Six-Week Workshop had to move to a new location this year, which has increased our costs for housing significantly. The Write-a-thon is a chance for you to help with those increased costs, and help us keep tuition low for our future students.



The Locus Awards were announced on June 27, and Ann Leckie (CW ’05) won the Best Science Fiction novel award for Ancillary Sword. Congratulations, Ann!



Ballantine Books/Del Rey (Penguin Random House) has acquired North American rights to Indra Das’s (CW ’12) debut novel The Devourers (published in the Indian subcontinent by Penguin Books India), and will be publishing it in the US and Canada in 2016. From the publisher’s announcement: “The Last Werewolf meets Interview With a Vampire in this tale of Alok, a professor in present-day Kolkata, who is beguiled by a mysterious stranger into translating ancient texts which detail the accounts of a pack of shape shifters and a human woman in Mughal India during the 17th-Century, pulling Alok deeper and deeper into the world of predators . . . and prey.”

Marlee Jane Ward (CW ’14) has had her story “The Walking Thing” published at Interfictions. This story was workshopped during the fourth week of the 2014 Six-Week Workshop.

Fabio Fernandes (CW ’13) will be publishing a collection with Francesco Verso’s Future Fiction, an imprint of the Italian publishing house Mincione Edizioni. It will be an e-book edition containing four stories, published in Italian.

Genevieve Williams’ (CW ’02) short story “Good Behavior” appears in Perihelion SF this month.


Life Events
Beatrice EvansBeatrice Hild Gentry Evans, daughter of M. Huw Evans (CW ’12 and Workshop Administrator) was born on June 2. She was 6lbs, 15oz, and 19 inches long. Kate and Beatrice are both healthy and happy as can be, and Beatrice is an excellent eater and a pretty darn good sleeper. Her big sister Eleanor is ecstatic about having a sibling. Congratulations, Huw, Kate, and Eleanor!


New Ventures
Michael Matheson (CW ’14) now has a Patreon! Patreon is a wonderful way to support your favorite writers and artists.

Jenni Moody (CW ’11) has been accepted to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s PhD in Creative Writing program, with a teaching assistantship and the Chancellor’s Award.


Alumni Interview
Indrapramit Das, Clarion West Class of 2012

Indra DasAN: What one thing are you proudest of since you completed the Clarion West Workshop?
ID: Getting an agent, and a book deal (in the Indian subcontinent, now on to other territories!).

AN: What are you working on now?
ID: Always a myriad of things without actually working on any of them as much as I should. But mainly, my next aim is to finish a second novel. I don’t know whether this’ll end up being the case, but the current plan is to expand a short story I sold to, about a few characters in Kolkata, India, spiritually and practically dealing with the impact of the dead rising up and walking again. I tend to be easily bored by zombies because of cultural overexposure, unless the execution is great (no pun intended) in whatever story they’re in, so I challenged myself to write a zombie story that I wouldn’t find generic or boring (or stereotypically post-apocalyptic).

AN: Tell us something we don’t know.
ID: I tend to have vivid, detailed waking hallucinations at night, in between or on the cusp of sleep. They sometimes persist for several seconds after I literally get up off my pillow. They will often take the form of living things, elaborate floating machinery and robotic drones, or insects/arachnids of various sizes.

AN: What’s your favorite part of writing? Least favorite?
ID: When you’re actually writing. As in, putting down words continuously for hours. There’s so much other stuff to writing—thinking, researching, more thinking, plotting, deleting, editing, proofreading, reading, re-reading, starting, ending, false starting, eating, drinking, staring, and on and on. Those stretches where you’re just straight-out writing like a classically imagined writer give me such euphoria that it literally feels like a drug. Literally. I do not use that word too lightly.

AN: What’s one question you wish people would ask you? (And the answer, if you’re so inclined!)
ID: Would you like several million dollars to let us adapt your novel/short story into a movie/TV series by an incredibly talented and smart bunch of people who would like to work very closely with you to bring your vision to screen in a way that will endure in the hearts and minds of thousands of fans for generations to come?
Answer: Why, yes, thank you!

AN: Why is speculative fiction important to you?
ID: It’s how I first started to read adult fiction, so I’ve always had a soft spot for it. It comforts me that we can literally do and create anything we can imagine within art.

AN: What one piece of advice would you give to the members of the incoming Clarion West class?
ID: Be prepared to be very emotionally vulnerable, and to use that in the relationships and art you make during the workshop. That Clarion West will be overwhelming, and hard work, goes without saying. But expecting the emotional intensity of the experience (I didn’t, but I quickly embraced it) and allowing yourself to get close to your classmates will make Clarion West easier, and hopefully, more rewarding.



Clarion West Alumni News, June 2015

It’s June, and that means it’s the most wonderful time of the year at Clarion West—Six-Week Workshop season! Writers are signing up for the Write-a-thon, and our amazing workshop staff members are taking care of all of the last little details before the students start arriving.

Speaking of the Write-a-thon, if you’re a writer who wants a great way to challenge yourself during the long days of summer, the Write-a-thon is a great way to accomplish your goals. If you haven’t signed up yet, now’s the time! Signups close on June 21. Learn more and sign up on the Write-a-thon page.

If you’re in the Seattle area, the Clarion West Summer Reading Series is a great way to get your speculative fiction fix and hear new work from our workshop instructors. Readings are on Tuesday evenings at 7 PM in Seattle’s University District. Planning to attend the Cory Doctorow reading on July 28? Buy your tickets in advance for a chance to win a book signed by Doctorow. See the event page for more information and to buy tickets.



The finalists for the Aurora Award for Canadian fiction have been announced, and Helen Marshall (CW ’12) is on the list twice: once for her poem “Aversions,” and once for her book Gifts for the One Who Comes After.

The Shirley Jackson Awards finalists were announced in June, and among the finalists are Helen Marshall (CW ’12) for her book Gifts for the One Who Comes After, and Siobhan Carroll (CW ’09) for her story “Wendigo Nights.”


K.C. Ball (CW ’10) has a new story in Perihelion: “White Russians and Old Lace.”

Emily Skaftun’s (CW ’09) story “No Alphabet Can Spell It,” is now live at Buzzy Mag. “The remaining three Fixie astronauts on their way to colonize CelBod have been out of contact with Earth for years. When they arrive on their new home planet, they find robots run amok, an elaborate garden, and a flock of semi-feral children and teens…and the genetic legacy of the human race may depend on this menagerie.”

cover art for Seriously Wicked by Tina ConnollyTina Connolly’s (CW ’06) book Seriously Wicked is now out and available for purchase wherever great YA is sold. “Camellia’s adopted mother wants Cam to grow up to be just like her. Problem is, Mom’s a seriously wicked witch. Cam’s used to stopping the witch’s crazy schemes for world domination. But when the witch summons a demon, he gets loose—and into Devon, the cute new boy at school. Now Cam’s suddenly got bigger problems than passing Algebra.”

Ossuary,” by Ian Muneshwar (CW ’14), is now live at Clarkesworld. This is his first professional publication—congratulations!

The latest edition of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet has stories by two Clarion West alumni: “The Blood Carousel” by Alyc Helms (CW ’12) and “The Shadow You Cast Is Me” by Henry Lien (CW ’12).

cover art for The Weave, by Nancy Jane MooreNancy Jane Moore’s (CW ’97) new novel The Weave is out this month from Aqueduct Press. The Weave brings us a first-contact story in which humans, seeking to exploit the much-needed resources of a system inhabited by creatures they assume are “primitive” and defenseless, discover their mistake the hard way.

Nisi Shawl (CW ’92) was interviewed by Aiesha Little of the Midwest Black Speculative Fiction Alliance. Nisi talks about the anthology Stories for Chip and what she loves about Samuel Delany’s work, the Writing the Other workshop, and the effect that reviewing has on her work. She was also interviewed by The Pandora Society about steampunk and her upcoming novel Everfair.

Helena Bell (CW ’13) has a new story in Lightspeed: “Mouth.” “When Ann was only five years old, she took her brother’s mouth. He’d been sleeping, or crying, it’s hard for Ann to remember now, but she remembers the way her hand stung as it came full against his cheek, and the rattle his teeth made as his mouth flew off his face and hit the side of his crib.”

cover art for The Dragons of Heaven by Alyc HelmsAlyc Helms’s (CW ’12) debut novel, The Dragons of Heaven , about a woman who takes on her grandfather’s superhero legacy, is coming out from Angry Robot in June 2015. The ebook and UK print version are available now. Due to a production delay, the US/Canada print version will be available June 30. Synopsis, blurbs, and purchase information can be found at the Angry Robot site.

Kris Millering (CW ’09) has a new story in Clarkesworld titled “This Wanderer, in the Dark of the Year.”

Curtis C. Chen (CW ’14) has sold his debut novel Waypoint Kangaroo and its sequel to Thomas Dunne Books. Look for Waypoint Kangaroo next year, and the sequel sometime in 2017.

Colleen Anderson (CW ’87) has recently sold two poems: “Morrigan’s Song” to Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, and “the moon: Fever Dream” to Pantheon. Her short story “Shaping Destiny” was published in Black Treacle last month.


Appearances, teaching engagements, and new gigs

Nisi Shawl (CW ’92) and K. Tempest Bradford are teaching an online Writing the Other workshop. Click through for the details: The class is currently full, but they do have a waiting list.

Cat Rambo (CW ’05) has announced her upcoming online classes, including workshops on character building, going from idea to draft, and a first pages workshop.

On July 11 at 3pm, Alyc Helms (CW ’12) will be holding her inaugural reading and book launch at Borderlands Books in San Francisco. Please join her if you’re in town!

Alyc is also the new assistant editor under David Higgins for the Science Fiction section of the Los Angeles Review of Books, specifically responsible for small press published and emerging authors. Her co-assistant editor, Taryne Taylor, is a Clarion graduate and is in charge of authors of color and non-American authors. Their team is looking to expand the range of works covered by their section and to present engaging, non-traditional reviews and essays that further the conversations taking place in SF&F. They are very interested in finding reviewers from within the SF&F community, so please feel free to reach out to Alyc if you have a review idea:


Alumni Interview
Interview with Alyx Dellamonica, Class of 1995

alyx dellamonica portrait 2014AN: What are you working on now?
AD: My fourth novel, A Daughter of No Nation, will be out in November from Tor. It is the second in my Hidden Sea Tales trilogy. As I write these words the first, Child of a Hidden Sea, is up for a Lambda award in the SF/F category. I am horrifically smug about that, even though I’m also telling everyone who’ll listen: “But my second novel was so much gayer!”

Anyway, it should come as no surprise that I’m now working on finishing the third book in this series. Its working title is The Nature Of A Pirate and I hope to have it turned in by summer.

The Hidden Sea Tales is an ecofantasy series, meaning that the genre is a mash-up of urban fantasy and environmental science. It’s Charles Darwin in Wonderland. Jared Diamond versus Narnia! The main character is Sophie Hansa, an ocean videographer from San Francisco, who discovers a world that might either be Earth’s far future or a parallel dimension. The world, Stormwrack, has Age of Sail technology, insane biodiversity, ludicrously complicated politics and a lot of magic. Being at heart an explorer and scientist, Sophie throws herself headlong into an investigation of Stormwrack’s relationship with our world.

AN: What do you do when you need inspiration?

Answer #2 – I rip my gaze out of my navel. I’m an avid wildlife photographer and walking around my home city, Toronto, looking for and documenting the animals who co-exist with humanity here is one of my primary hobbies. (Also icicles. Lately I’ve been shooting lots of icicles.) Like a lot of writers, I find it easier to think when I’m in motion: muscles working, an elevated heartrate and blood flowing to my brain all help the writing process far more than sitting around headdesking. (Of course that’s a word!)

Answer #3 – Coffee failing and in horrific weather, I haul tush to a museum and do the same thing, without the camera. I also read history and science articles, and occasionally watch randomly chosen documentaries.

Inspiration for me is largely about having new information to play with: things to consider, turn over, and transform into fiction. When it works, I feel like Rumplestiltskin, spinning straw into gold. When it doesn’t…well, you know how baby hippos go from nursing to eating their mother’s partially digested grass droppings? Which they turn into a more refined form of hippo poop? But that’s okay, is the thing. Baby hippos are supercute, and learning to revise their waste until it too is gold is just another part of the racket.

AN: What one piece of advice would you give to the members of the incoming Clarion West class?
AD: I went to Clarion West in 1995 and at that point the Internet was barely a thing. I got my very first dial-up e-mail account so I could be in touch with my wife and I can’t remember it being useful, at that time, for anything else. (I did try going into an IRC-type chat room and got mashed by a guy claiming to be a famous comic artist, but that’s beside the point.) Now it’s twenty years later and the Internet is everywhere. I love the Internet, don’t get me wrong. But it almost seems presumptuous to say anything about a Clarion West of the now. The world is different; what do I know? So I’m not going to be the one to tell you to shut off the Facebooks, get off my lawn, and write.

So instead! Consider thinking of Clarion West as a place where you can make bold and possibly unmarketable experiments. Try writing a whole story longhand if you’ve never done that before. Hell, try dictating. Then realize you’re a terrible proofreader and that voice-to-text software doesn’t do well with SF lingo and cry a few tears before going back to work. Try that completely ludicrous second person present POV story that you’re afraid is too pretentious for words. Write the thing about aliens who bleed from the eyebrows. Explore the inner longings of semi-sentient esophageal camera equipment on Venus. You can write neat, sane, tidy, and hopefully salable stories when you go home, but bust out the weird stuff, at least once, for your classmates. Mad scientist your face off! Be rowdy. Be an excellent human face to face, but on the page put down the things that will get you banned from grade schools! Dig up stories you wouldn’t tell a psychiatrist on your deathbed, turn them into fiction and, y’know, just see how it goes.

I say this not only as a writer, but as a UCLA Writers’ Extension Program instructor whose favorite student novels, time and again, are about things that would give your grandpa the vapors.

These student writers I’m talking about, they’re fearless. They go for it. So my one piece of advice, is to jump off literary cliffs for six weeks this summer. How else are you gonna learn?
A. M. Dellamonica has recently moved to Toronto, Canada, after 22 years in Vancouver.  In addition to writing, she studies yoga and takes thousands of digital photographs. She teaches writing through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.

Dellamonica’s first novel, Indigo Springs, won the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. Her most recent book, Child of a Hidden Sea, was released by Tor Books in the summer of 2014. She is the author of over thirty short stories in a variety of genres: they can be found on, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed and in numerous print magazines and anthologies. Her website is at


Looking for news from past months? You can find it at the Alumni News Archive.

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