Applications now open for the 2019 Summer Workshop

We are now accepting applications to attend Clarion West’s intensive Six-Week Summer Workshop for writers preparing for professional careers in speculative fiction.

Held annually in Seattle since 1984, the Clarion West Summer Workshop has produced some of the most exciting and influential writers and editors in the field, including Gordon Van Gelder, Vina Jie-Min Prasad, JY Yang, Natalia Theodoridou, Kij Johnson and many others. Each week, students are taught by a different professional writer or editor. Graduates describe the workshop experience as challenging, inspiring, and life-changing, and as an educational and networking opportunity not to be missed.

Instructors for the upcoming six-week session are Elizabeth Hand, Stephen Graham Jones, Amal El-Mohtar, Ibi Zoboi, Jack Dann, Jonathan Strahan, and Ann Leckie.

Applicants should have mastered basic college-level writing skills and should have written several short stories, not necessarily speculative. Further details — dates, costs, and more — are available on our Summer Workshop Page.

The 2019 Clarion West Six-Week Summer Workshop runs from June 23 to August 2, 2019. Applications for the 2019 session are accepted up till March 1, 2019; applications received by February 10 are given a $25 discount on our application fee. Scholarships are available, and we encourage all students with financial need to apply.

Read our article on when and how to apply to the Summer Workshop (and get some great tips for your application essay). If you have more questions, read our FAQ or contact

Announcing the Clarion West Summer Workshop instructors for 2019

Clarion West is excited to announce the instructors for our 2019 Six-Week Summer Workshop:

Week 1 – Elizabeth Hand
Week 2 – Stephen Graham Jones
Week 3 – Amal El-Mohtar
Week 4 – Ibi Zoboi
Week 5 – Jack Dann and Jonathan Strahan
Week 6 – Ann Leckie

The Clarion West 2019 Six-Week Summer Workshop will take place from June 23 – August 2, 2019 in Seattle’s University District.

Founded in 1971, Clarion West holds a six-week workshop each summer geared toward helping writers of speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, and horror) at the beginnings of their professional careers. Each workshop is limited to 18 students, and each week features a different instructor, a highly regarded author or editor offering a unique perspective on the field. Applicants and students come from everywhere in the world, and graduates frequently go on to professional success.

Read more about our 2019 instructors on the Summer Workshop page.

Applications for the 2019 Summer Workshop open in December 2018. All applicants are eligible for scholarships and/or financial aid.

The Locus Science Fiction Foundation Honors Clarion West

Workshop Administrators Micaiah “Huw” Evans, Neile Graham, and Jae Steinbacher pose with the Special Award for Community Building and Inclusivity, awarded to Clarion West

Seattle, WA – The winners for the 2018 Locus Awards were announced on Saturday, June 23.

We are delighted to announce that Clarion West is the recipient of the inaugural Special Award for Community Building and Inclusivity. Accepting the award on Saturday were James Tiptree Jr. Award winner and Clarion West board member Nisi Shawl and Clarion West Workshop Director Neile Graham. A full list of award winners can be found on the Locus Awards Website. This is the second major genre award that Clarion West Workshop Director Neile Graham has accepted over the last year. Graham was also personally honored at the World Fantasy Awards for fostering excellence in the genre through her role as Workshop Director at Clarion West.

The Clarion West Six Week Summer Workshop is a transformative fiction writing workshop. The program helps diverse writers at the beginning of their career to develop their voice and acquire skills for success. Among writers of speculative fiction, the program is legendary. Each week is taught by a different instructor and while every Clarion West instructor is selected for their contributions to the field, some of the well-known writers and editors who have taught at Clarion West include Neil Gaiman, George R. R. Martin, Ellen Datlow, Karen Joy Fowler, Daniel Abrahams, N. K. Jemisin, and many more.

The Locus Science Fiction Foundation (LSFF) is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to the promotion and preservation of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Its central activity is the publication of Locus, the Magazine of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Field, and its website Locus Online. LSFF is also responsible for the annual Locus Awards, first presented in 1971, to recognize excellence in science fiction and fantasy literature. In addition, the Foundation is responsible for preserving the Locus Collection, a large, historical library of speculative fiction materials.

Clarion West Writers Workshop a nonprofit literary organization based in Seattle, Washington, with a mission to improve speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, and horror) 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.

Gardner Dozois, 1947–2018

We are grieved to report that writer, editor, and four-time Clarion West instructor Gardner Dozois has passed away due to complications from a systemic infection. The loss to our community is immeasurable, and we mourn his passing.

Gardner served as the editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine from 1984–2004, winning 15 Hugos and 35 Locus Awards for Best Editor. His critical work as a reviewer included a monthly column in Locus Magazine. He was a gifted writer, and his fiction won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story twice, as well as a Sideways Award.

His influential work as editor at Asimov’s, along with his annual Year’s Best Science Fiction anthologies helped shape the field of science fiction and fantasy. His importance to the field was recognized here in Seattle on June 25, 2011, when he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. This year, Gardner was awarded the Science Fiction Writers of America’s Solstice Award for lifetime achievement.

Gardner’s talent and experience as both a writer and an editor, his spot-on, constructive critical feedback, sage career advice, and innate fairness made him a great instructor. He was kind and helpful, and always honest. Gardner was well-loved and appreciated by students for his warmth and encouragement as well as his quick wit and ribald sense of humor.

Celebrated for his dedication and willingness to read through daunting slush piles to discover emerging talent, Gardner was the first-time publisher for many acclaimed writers. Clarion West students were occasionally treated to Gardner’s hilarious readings of writing mistakes culled from those anonymous slush piles. They were highly entertaining as well as educational.

Gardner was supportive of Clarion West, and kindly contributed comments about one of his former CW students for our Clarion West 30th anniversary anthology, Telling Tales.  He often kept in touch with former students and offered encouragement and advice.

His larger than life personality, talent and big heart will be missed, but his fiction, his impact on the writers he worked with, and his influence on the field as an editor and a critic will live on. Condolences to his family, friends, and all whose lives he touched. Thank you Gardner, for everything.

Gardner with the Clarion West class of 2002


by Leslie Howle

The Poul and Karen Anderson Memorial International Travel Fund


Counterclockwise from top: Karen and Poul Anderson; Astrid and Greg Bear; Ted Mahsun

Astrid and Greg Bear have just announced the Poul and Karen Anderson Memorial International Travel Fund, a ten-year commitment to provide an annual $1,000 for one international student traveling from outside of North America to attend the Clarion West Six Week Summer Workshop. The 2018 fund has been awarded to Ted Mahsun from Ipoh, Malaysia.

The travel fund will honor Poul and Karen Anderson, the parents of Astrid Bear, and their love of travel and meeting people in the worldwide science fiction and fantasy community.

Science fiction and fantasy writer Poul Anderson’s many awards include seven Hugo and three Nebula awards, and SFWA’s Grand Master Award. He was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2000. Karen Anderson was also a science fiction and fantasy writer of multiple works, and wrote the first published science fiction haiku in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in July 1962.

Introducing the Clarion West Class of 2018

We are honored and excited to present the Clarion West Six-Week Summer Workshop Class of 2018. Hailing from nine countries across five continents, these 18 writers will study with Daniel Abraham, Ken MacLeod, Yoon Ha Lee, Karen Lord, Karen Joy Fowler, and Ellen Datlow this summer. Congratulations, class!

EDIT: Class list updated 5/22/18.

Rafeeat Aliyu (Nigeria)

E.C. Barrett (Ithaca, New York)

Carson Beker (San Francisco, California)

Rachel Broderick (New York, New York)

N. C. Calder (U.K.)

Isabel Cañas (Chicago, Illinois)

Woody Dismukes (Queens, New York)

Clay P. Greene (Birmingham, Alabama/New Haven, Connecticut)

Dora Klindžić (Croatia)

Wen Ma (Hong Kong)

Ted Mahsun (Ipoh, Malaysia)

Rodrigo Assis Mesquita (Brazil)

Brittany Pladek (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Gregory Scheckler (Williamstown, Massachusetts)

Jen Sexton-Riley (Cape Cod, Massachusetts)

Rachel Simmons (Pennsylvania)

Dennis E. Staples (Bemidji, Minnesota)

Natalia Theodoridou (Greece/U.K.)

Mary Rosenblum (1952-2018)

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mary Rosenblum, a wonderful writer and friend of Clarion West. Mary passed away on March 11, 2018, in an accidental plane crash in Clark County, WA. She was 65 years old.

Mary attended Clarion West in 1988, and taught at CW in 2008 and 2012. Throughout her career as a novelist, she published widely in the science fiction and mystery genres. She remains firmly in hearts of many of our students, some of whom count her lessons among their most formative experiences as writers.

Condolences to her loved ones, from all the lives she touched here at CW.

Mary at Clarion West in 2008

Announcing the 2018 Sally Klages Memorial Instructorship for Clarion West

We are thrilled to announce that science fiction luminary Ellen Klages is sponsoring a 2018 instructorship for Clarion West’s Six-Week Summer Workshop.

The Sally Klages Memorial Instructorship, named in honor of Klages’s sister Sally, will cover travel, living arrangements, and remuneration for the resident instructor in Week Four of our six-week workshop.

Sally Klages, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 55, was a lifelong writer. She was born with Down Syndrome, but didn’t think of it as a handicap. It was what made her special. She was a founding member of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio (DSACO) and a board member of the National Down Syndrome Conference. An active participant in the Special Olympics, she won more than three dozen medals in swimming, diving, track and field, bowling, and cross-country skiing.

Ellen Klages devotes this instructorship to her memory. “It would have made her very happy — and very proud — to know that she is helping a new generation of writers find out how special they really are,” said Klages.

Click here to learn more about the Sally Klages Memorial Instructorship.

Interested in applying to be part of Clarion West’s 2018 Six-Week Summer Workshop? Applications are still open. Learn more on our workshop information page.

George R. R. Martin Announces New Worldbuilder Scholarship for Clarion West

George R. R. Martin at the Clarion West Six-Week Summer Workshop in 2012.

We are incredibly pleased and honored to announce that renowned fantasy author George R. R. Martin is sponsoring a new annual scholarship for the Clarion West Six-Week Summer Workshop.

Each year, the WORLDBUILDER SCHOLARSHIP will cover tuition, fees, and lodging for one Clarion West student who demonstrates both financial need and a talent for worldbuilding and the creation of secondary universes. The scholarship will be conferred via blind judging, and will not be limited by age, race, sex, religion, skin color, place of origin, or field of study.

“I remember very well what it was like to be a writer starting out, struggling for sales, and counting every dime,” says Martin. “It is my hope that the Worldbuilder Scholarship will help the next great fantasist on the long journey ahead.”

The Worldbuilder Scholarship will be awarded starting with the Clarion West Class of 2018. Click here to read George R. R. Martin’s full announcement.


UPDATE 1/31/18: To apply for the Worldbuilder Scholarship, submit a full application to Clarion West’s Six-Week Summer Workshop by March 1, 2018 and check “Yes” in the “Applying for scholarship aid” section. Further instructions will be given to accepted students.

Interested in applying to be part of Clarion West’s 2018 Six-Week Summer Workshop? Applications are still open. Learn more on our workshop information page.

World Fantasy Convention Honors Neile Graham

Photo credit: Tod McCoy
Neile Graham and Kij Johnson, fellow World Fantasy Award winners and Clarion West alumnae.

We are delighted to announce that Neile Graham, Workshop Director for Clarion West, has received the Special Award for “fostering excellence in the genre through her role as Workshop Director, Clarion West.” Neile accepted the award at the 2017 World Fantasy Convention award ceremony on November 5.

The World Fantasy Awards are a set of awards given each year for the best fantasy fiction published during the previous calendar year. They were first given in 1975, at the first World Fantasy Convention, and have been awarded annually since. This award is one of the three most prestigious speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and Nebula Awards (which cover both fantasy and science fiction).

The 2017 World Fantasy Awards were presented at the 43rd World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio, Texas, on November 5, 2017.