For Juneteenth: Recommended Readings by Black Authors

Black Stories Matter

What follows is the beginning of a living document listing the Clarion West community’s recommended reading by Black and African American authors. These authors are our alumni, instructors, staff, friends, and heroes, and they include writers of Clarion San Diego as well.

While we wish to keep this list focused on science fiction, fantasy, and horror, we recognize that these categories have been historically defined by white Western publishers and others who profit from writers’ work. Thus, there is room to include work beyond a rigid, postcolonial, capitalist definition of speculative fiction and SF/F/H.

This list is by no means comprehensive; please comment below with your suggestions to add to this guide.

CW Graduates:

Celeste Rita Baker (19)

Back, Belly and Side (Aqueduct Press, 2015)

De Motherjumpers” in Strange Horizons

Glass Bottle Dancer” in Lightspeed

Woody Dismukes (18)

The Way the Cowries Fall (Fall 2020)

Zombie of Palmares” in FIYAH: Magazine of Black Speculative Literature, April 2020

Rafeeat Aliyu (18)

“58 Rules to Ensure Your Husband Loves You Forever,” Nightmare, 2019 Locus Recommended Reading List

Gabriel Teodros (16)

“Lalibela” from Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements (AK Press, 2015)

Evidence of Things Not Seen (album)

Cadwell Turnbull (’16)

A Third of the Stars of Heaven” in Lightspeed

Loneliness is in Your Blood” in Nightmare

The Lesson (2019)

Justin C. Key (’15)

One Hand in the Coffin” in Strange Horizons

Afiya’s Song” in Fantasy and Science Fiction

Nana Nkweti (’15)

The Devil is a Liar” in The Masters Review

It Just Kills You Inside” in the New Orleans Review

Chinelo Onwualu (14)

“The Fine Print” New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color (Solaris, 2019)

An Owomoyela (’08)

And Wash Out by Tides of War,” Clarkesworld Magazine (2014) and Warrior Women (Prime Books 2015)

Jasmine Silvera (Rashida J. Smith CW ’05)

Death’s Dancer (2016)

Tempest Bradford (03)

“The Copper Scarab” in Clockwork Cairo, 2017

Sunspot Jungle: The Ever Expanding Universe of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 2019.

Ibi Zoboi (01)

My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich (2019)

American Street (2017)

Kiini Ibura Salaam (01)

Ancient, Ancient (2012)

Andrea Hairston (99)

Will Do Magic for Small Change (Aqueduct Press, 2016)

Craig L. Gidney (’96)

A Spectral Hue (2019)

Nisi Shawl (92)

Everfair (2016)

Filter House (2008)



New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color (Solaris, 2019) (ed. Nisi Shawl)

Octavia’s Brood: from Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements (AK Press, 2005) (ed. Adrienne Maree BrownWalidah Imarisha)

Dark Matter: A century of Speculative Fiction (2000) (ed. Sheree Thomas)

Dark Matter: Reading the Bones (Aspect, 2004) (ed. Sheree Thomas)

So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy (2004) (ed. Nalo Hopkinson)

Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany (Rosarium, 2015) (ed. Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell)

Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond (Rosarium, 2013) (ed. Bill Campbell and Edward Hall)



Samuel R. Delany

Babel-17 (Nebula Award 1966)

The Einstein Intersection (Nebula Award 1966)



Return to Nevèrÿon

Octavia E. Butler (Clarion Writers Workshop, 70)

Kindred, the Xenogenesis trilogy

Parable of the Sower

Parable of the Talents

“Bloodchild” and Other Stories

Minister Faust

The Coyote Kings of the Space-Age Bachelor Pad

From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain

Nalo Hopkinson (Clarion Writers Workshop, 05)

Brown Girl in the Ring

Skin Folk

The Salt Roads

Nnedi Okorafor (Clarion Writers Workshop, 01)

Who Fears Death


The Shadow Speaker

Akata Warrior

N.K. Jemisin

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

Broken Earth series

Karen Lord

The Best of All Possible Worlds

Redemption in Indigo

Tobias S. Buckell (Clarion Writers Workshop, 2000)

“The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex” in New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color (March, 2019)
reprinted in The Year’s Best Science Fiction Vol 1 (Sep. 2020)
audio version podcast at LeVar Burton Reads (May, 2019)

Hurricane Fever (Tor, 2014)

Xenowealth series (Crystal Rain et al.)


More Recommendations, Booksellers, and Resources:

Carl Brandon Society : The Carl Brandon Society’s mission is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction.

Nisi Shawl’s Crash Course in Black Science Fiction ( 

Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror  (documentary, streaming free on SHUDDER)

Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present by Dr. Robin R. Means Coleman (book)

30 Black Comic Book Authors You Should Know by Troy L. Wiggins

Sistah SciFi : (online bookshop) Founded by Isis Asare, Sistah Scifi is a cauldron of all things afro-futurism; Black mysticism, science fiction noir, and traditional voodoo; casting spells to uplift literature written by Black women.

More Black-Owned Bookstores 

Featured Black-Owned Bookstores

Tananarive Due (author, screenwriter, teacher)

Steven Barnes (author, screenwriter, teacher)

Charles R. Saunders and the IMARO books

Terence Taylor (horror author)

Douglas Kearney’s speculative poetry

Jason Mott (author)

Gary Jackson’s speculative poetry

Jason McCall’s speculative poetry

Editors’ note: We love our friend Matt Ruff, author of Lovecraft Country. While Jordan Peele and his team are bringing a live action series adaptation to HBO, Matt himself is a white author, and thus not officially included on the above list. 

Originally compiled by Rashida J. Smith, 6/2020

Updated periodically by the Clarion West team

Have suggestions for more? Corrections? Please let us know in the at

Clarion West Supports Black Lives Matter and the Struggle for Change

Clarion West condemns the ongoing injustice and violence against the Black community in America. Clarion West is not a political organization, yet there is no denying that fiction can be political, especially fiction created out of hope or despair or anger, or that envisions worlds that could have been or ones that are yet to come. 

Silence does not lend itself to change. We grieve with the loved ones of so many bright souls who have been taken too soon from our communities because of the color of their skin. We stand with those who righteously ask: “When will the killings end? When will justice truly be just?” Our board and staff are committed to doing the work within our organization to become better allies, dismantle white supremacy, and become more actively anti-racist in our communities. Most importantly, we will persist in bringing the work of voices previously marginalized to the fore and demanding the changes that will make this world equitable to all people.

Speculative fiction – science fiction, fantasy, horror, and all other genres that question what might be – is often a vehicle for exploring change and examining the assumptions on which our society is based. For people experiencing oppression, creating change through words is one way to challenge the status quo. When overt challenge is met with violence, or threats to personal safety, stories may be the only outlet available. 

Speculative fiction also has the power to inspire change. If so many technical innovations were inspired by stories, novels, and films, why not social change? Fiction reveals worlds and experiences beyond our own. In doing so, it can create paths to empathy and understanding. It expands our idea of what is possible for ourselves, those around us, and the reality we create together every day.

It is Clarion West’s mission to support underrepresented voices. This includes members of Black communities and other marginalized people who have been on the front lines of protests against systemic injustice and driving action for change. We express this mission not only by making our classes available to as many students as possible but by our selection of instructors who bring their experience and expertise to every lecture and critique. We seek out luminaries in the field who have shown us new and startling worlds in fiction: Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, N.K. Jemisin, Nalo Hopkinson, and Nnedi Okorafor are just a few of the instructors whose own work demands that we interrogate injustice, the legacy of our fractured past, and possibilities for our future. 

We encourage people who are seeking out resources or interested in learning more about systemic injustice, understanding privilege, and ways to support underrepresented voices to explore the following:

Need support for coping with oppression?

I’m white; how can I learn more?

Where can I donate?

  • Carl Brandon Society – An organization dedicated to racial and ethnic diversity in speculative fiction.
  • National Bail Fund Network – A directory of community bail and bond funds across the country
  • ActBlue Bailfunds – ActBlue is accepting contributions that will be divided evenly betweenBrooklyn Community Bail Fund, Minnesota Freedom Fund, and 12 other groups.
  • Campaign Zero is a comprehensive platform of research-based policy solutions to end police brutality in America.
  • The NAACP works to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
  • Black Lives Matter – The movement founded in 2013 following the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer.
  • Showing Up for Racial Justice – A movement especially committed to centering disability justice and poor/working class organizers.
  • Color of Change – The nation’s largest online racial justice organization.
  • Official George Floyd Memorial Fund – Covers funeral and burial expenses, mental and grief counseling, lodging and travel for all court proceedings, and to assist the Floyd family in the days to come as they continue to seek justice for George.
  • Victim Memorial Funds – A list of funds to support funeral and burial expenses and family support for victims of police violence.
  • Unicorn Riot – A nonprofit media collective dedicated to exposing the root causes of social, economic, and environmental issues.
  • Minneapolis Gas Mask Fund – Fundraiser to buy military grade gas masks for Black youth activists on the front lines, started by Isak Douah
  • Atlanta Solidarity Bail Fund – Support #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd protesters in Atlanta who are targeted for arrest.
  • Minnesota Freedom Fund – Community-based fund set up to pay criminal bail and immigration bonds for individuals who have been arrested while protesting police brutality.
  • People’s City Council Freedom Fund – Los Angeles-based fund helping to pay for legal support, bail, fines, and court fees for arrested protesters in the city, medical bills and transportation for injured protesters, supplies and PPE for field medics, and direct support to Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.
  • Colorado Freedom Fund – A fund that pays ransom (posts money bond, pays cash bail) for people unable to afford the cost of buying their own freedom.

How else can I help?

  • This amazing spreadsheet of national resources by @botanicaldyke includes legal support providers, national funds, and bailout funds by state.
  • Support Black-owned businesses (including bookstores!). Buy books by Black writers. Sign petitions. Call your representatives. Take classes from Black people. Listen. Vote.
  • If you’re in Seattle, here is a list of Black-owned restaurants. For Black and minority owned businesses across the US, you can search on The Intentionalist: find and support local businesses and the diverse people behind them.
  • Find and support policies for change through sites like 8CantWait, taking action on 8 policies that decrease police violence by 72%.
  • A comprehensive list of links to petitions and contact for representatives:
  • A living list of resources from the Bureau of Fearless Ideas.

Do you have a suggestion to add to our list of resources? Submit it here.

Changes for Clarion West in 2020

Dear Clarion West Community, 

We have been working closely with this year’s class and instructors on what options are the best for them individually and as a cohort. With everyone’s safety in mind, we have been discussing a range of options. Our final decision is to push back our schedule and hold this year’s class, with their 2020 instructors, next summer. 

In the meantime, we are making plans for this summer to provide classes, workshops, readings, and other virtual events that will help keep our summer traditions going and our Clarion West community together. We hope to see you virtually, wherever you are. 

This is the first time in the history of Clarion West that we have had to postpone a summer workshop. Please know that this is a big disappointment for all of us. If you have any questions for us in the meantime, please send me an email. 

 If you are looking for ways to support Clarion West, we are participating in GiveBIG 2020, which will be held on May 5–6 this year. We also invite you to join us for our annual Write-a-thon this summer with new activities and offerings to support our writers. 

Wherever you are, stay healthy, and keep writing, reading, and dreaming


Marnee Chua

Executive Director

Announcing the Clarion West Class of 2020

We are honored and excited to present the Clarion West Six-Week Summer Workshop Class of 2020. These 18 writers will study with Andy Duncan, Eileen Gunn, Tina Connolly, Caroline Yoachim, Nalo Hopkinson, Neil Clarke, and Ted Chiang this summer. Please welcome them into our community. This is an exceptional year to be navigating the six-week workshop, and we can’t wait to see how this group shapes their experience. Congratulations, class!

Fawaz Al-Matrouk (San Francisco, California, USA)

Sam Davis (Los Angeles, California, USA)

Naomi Day (Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA)

Varsha Dinesh (Kerala, India)

Louis Evans (New York, USA)

Tania Fordwalker (Hobart, Tasmania, Australia)

Amit Gupta (Nomadic)

Steph Kwiatkowski (Naperville, Illinois, USA)

P H Lee (USA)

Sloane Leong (Portland, Oregon, USA)

Serena W. Lin (Oakland/Cupertino, California, USA)

Alex Payne (Portland, Oregon, USA)

Sydney Rossman-Reich (Orlando, Florida, USA)

Allison Thai (Houston, Texas, USA)

Nestor Walters (Thessaloniki, Greece/Seattle, WA, USA)

Yilin Wang (Sichuan, China/Vancouver, Canada)

Joule Zelman (Seattle, Washington, by way of New Jersey, USA)

teri.zin (Jersey City, USA, by way of Trinidad)

Our highest priorities are the safety and well-being of our students, instructors, staff, and our entire community. We are passionate about helping our community of writers. More announcements regarding our summer contingencies are coming soon.

Take an Online Workshop with JY Yang!

Clarion West is proud to present our next online workshop, Advanced Short Stories and Critique with JY Yang (CW ’13)!

April 10-May 10, 2020. Attend from anywhere in the world, regardless of time zone! Register here.

Headshot of author and workshop instructor JY Yang

Things to know before registering: Limited to 8 students, register as early as you can. This is an advanced workshop for students with experience using the Milford style peer-critique and who have attended other intensive writing workshops, such as the Clarion or Clarion West six-week workshop.

About the class:

The workshop will run from Friday, April 10, 2020, to Sunday, May 10, 2020, conducted entirely online. Two stories will be submitted each week, starting on Friday, April 10. The class will have from each Friday to the following Thursday to read each set of stories. Online forum-style critiquing will take place between Thursday and Sunday, with guidance from the instructor.

Each student will receive an individual 30-minute one-on-one session with the instructor following their group critique, scheduled either during the workshop or the week following. The instructor will work closely with a small group of students to facilitate workshop and critique of a completed story draft of 7,500 words or fewer.

Registration is limited and reserved for advanced students who have attended other intensive writing workshops, such as the Clarion or Clarion West six-week workshops. The class fee is $250.

About the instructor:

JY Yang (they/them), also known as Neon Yang, is the author of the Tensorate series of novellas from Tor.Com Publishing (The Black Tides of Heaven, The Red Threads of Fortune, The Descent of Monsters, The Ascent to Godhood). Their work has been shortlisted for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy and Lambda awards. A Clarion West alum, they graduated from the University of East Anglia with an MA in Creative Writing and currently live in Singapore.

Join us from anywhere in the world for this exciting new workshop series!


Will I need to purchase any software?

No. Students must be able to use Zoom and WordPress and have a reliable Internet connection, but the class does not include any additional costs.

What is your refund policy?

Full refunds will only be offered if another student is able to take the class in your stead. As this class has limited seats, please only register if you are certain you will be able to attend and can submit a complete story draft for critique by April 10.

Postponed: Work for Clarion West: Development and Outreach Coordinator

The Development and Outreach Coordinator is a part-time development position responsible for the care and coordination of key relationships including, but not limited to our volunteers, grantors, and donors. This position involves specific administrative tasks, development and implementation of annual giving strategies, and working closely with the Executive Director (ED) and Art & Communications Director on the overall development and outreach plan for Clarion West.

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 women and LGBTQIA+ writers, writers of color, and writers from marginalized backgrounds. We believe that these communities must be centered in the work we do. Hence, we encourage applications from people with these identities or who are members of other marginalized communities.


  • Coordinate the tracking and submission of grant proposals, help identify new grant opportunities, manage grant reporting.
  • Provide timely, effective professional support to the Executive Director related to donor development and the Art & Communications Director related to outreach.
  • Work with the Executive Director to develop and implement an annual plan for donor cultivation and stewardship.
  • Record stewardship interactions in Salesforce (donor CRM management system) and create reports to show activity.
  • Coordination and implementation of 2-3 direct mail/donor appeal requests annually, including writing, design, scope and mail/email.
  • Coordinate the website and mailing package branding, language, and solicitation calendar for scholarships, the Women in SF Giving Circle, Instructorships, Monthly Sustainers, and Legacy Giving.
  • Support the implementation of annual donor recognition programs.
  • Support various board members with donor engagement and attend and support the board Development Committee. 
  • Maintain event sponsor relationships and help identify and build new ones. 
  • Support outreach and donor events throughout the year, including planning and implementation. 
  • Assist in recruiting, identifying, and training event and outreach volunteers.
  • Perform other duties or special projects as needed.

Qualifications and Competencies:

  • Bachelor’s degree preferred.
  • Strong organizational and time management skills.
  • Ability to interact effectively with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • 2-3 years of fundraising experienced preferred.
  • Strong record keeping skills and basic writing skills.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office.
  • Salesforce or CRM proficiency preferred. 
  • Prefer a strong interest in speculative fiction.
  • Must be eligible to work in the United States, based in Seattle preferred.
  • Understands and accepts other points of view and recognizes the value of different approaches.

Physical Factors/Working Conditions

  • This is a part-time, remote position. Availability for in-person meetings a must. 
  • Occasional use of personal vehicle.
  • Light lifting of supplies (25-30 lbs) preferred, not required. 
  • Involves non-regular hours for committee meetings and special events, especially during the summer and fall. 

Application Process

To be considered for this opportunity, submit a letter of interest outlining your qualifications for the position and a resume to Please include your cover letter and resume as PDF attachments to your email and list the position title in the subject line of the email.

Compensation and Benefits

This position is a 20 hour per week, hourly position. Compensation range is $24,000-$26,880 annually and is dependent on qualifications and experience. Benefit package includes: medical, paid holidays, sick leave and paid time off.

Closing Date
Open until filled

Equal Opportunity 

Clarion West is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified persons will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, or other non-related work factor as protected by law.

Blue Corn Creations Sponsors Scholarship for Native American Writers

With a gift of $1,000, Blue Corn Creations, a publishing firm undertaking a variety of Native American-themed projects, has launched a scholarship for writers of Native American descent at the Clarion West Writers Workshop.

“We’re excited about developing the next generation of Native superhero, science fiction, and action/adventure stories,” said Rob Schmidt, owner of Blue Corn Creations. “To do that, we also need to develop the next generation of Native writers. This scholarship will help accomplish that.”

Clarion West has helped emerging writers reach for their dreams of professional careers in speculative fiction since 1971. Every summer, aspiring science fiction and fantasy writers attend the Clarion West Writers Workshop, a six-week intensive whose instructors include the best and brightest in the genre. Attendees benefit from the opportunity to hone their craft with the guidance of successful writers.

“Historically the field has reflected the same prejudices found in the culture around it, leading to proportionately fewer successful writers of color,” according to Clarion West’s vision statement. That’s why the Blue Corn Creations scholarship is a great fit with Clarion West’s mission, said Schmidt. “With it the workshop can serve another group with untapped potential: Native Americans.”

The Blue Corn Creations Scholarship for students of Native descent will help cover tuition, fees, and lodging for one student in 2020. The winner will be awarded in a blind judging to those indicating an interest on the application form. 


Applications for Clarion West’s 2020 session begin December 1, 2019, and close March 1, 2020. The 2020 instructors are Andy Duncan, Eileen Gunn, Tina Connolly, Caroline Yoachim, Nalo Hopkinson, Neil Clarke, and Ted Chiang.

For further details, query Clarion West at To learn more about the workshop, visit

Blue Corn Creations and Clarion West encourage others to contribute to the scholarship fund. The goal is to establish a permanent full scholarship for students of Native American descent.

If you’d like to contribute, please 1) make a note with your online donation, 2) email us at, or 3) send a note designating your gift to the Blue Corn Creations Scholarship to: Clarion West at P.O. Box 31264, Seattle, WA 98103-1264.

Announcing Clarion West Online Workshops

Clarion West is excited to introduce online workshops for our alumni and the broader speculative fiction community. We’re committed to offering further education to our alums and bolstering social and professional ties far and wide. Our aim is to create a series of workshops on diverse topics like those of our One-Day Workshops located in Seattle as well as longer-running courses that will provide opportunities for ongoing critiquing relationships.

Our pilot workshop this fall will take place over the course of a day on November 10 and offer students the opportunity to craft speculative worlds with N. K. Jemisin. In a lecture format, a group of students will meet digitally for a two-and-a-half-hour class and work with Jemisin to develop a world in which they can home their stories.

This course on November 10 is our first foray into online workshops. We hope to offer more online programming in 2020. If you are interested in being the first to know about our future online offerings, please email us at

We’ll be planning more online workshops open to the broader community, as well as workshops for alumni to develop extended critique groups under the guidance of professional authors. If you are a Clarion West Six-Week Workshop alumnus, you can sign up for Worldbuilding: Macro to Micro with N. K. Jemisin here.

You can learn more about our on-site One-Day Workshops here.

Literary Legacy

We are honored to announce that Clarion West is the recipient of the literary assets of Vonda N. McIntyre, who wished that the organization manage her literary copyrights in perpetuity.

Looking for Vonda’s stories?

Many of Vonda’s digital works are on sale at Book View Cafe.

We are pleased to announce that a new print publication of The Exile Waiting will be released October 21, 2019 through Handheld Press. This new edition features beautiful new cover artwork by Jane Cornwell, which Vonda saw and approved of shortly before her death in early 2019.

Also included, a bonus short story! McIntyre’s forgotten origins story ‘Cages’ was first published in 1972 and was rediscovered during the preparation of this edition.

Contact Information

Questions relating to the literary trust of Vonda N. McIntyre can be sent to:

Janna Silverstein: or call Clarion West at (206) 322-9083.

Announcing Clarion West Weekend Workshops

Since 2011, Clarion West has offered year-round One-Day Workshops in addition to our marquee Summer Workshop. These One-Day Workshops have focused on specific aspects of the writing craft, drawing world-class instructors to Seattle for day-long intensive programs.

Following in those illustrious footsteps, we are thrilled to announce a new type of Clarion West experience: our very first Weekend Workshop, beginning Fall 2019.

In our first Weekend Workshop, Writing the Other, instructors Nisi Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford will lead students through avoiding common stereotypes and tropes in characterization, how to describe people from different backgrounds, building inclusive worlds, research, and more.

Our Weekend Workshops will continue to feature highly respected authors, who will provide thorough instruction in an area of their expertise. Like our One-Day Workshops, they will offer new writers opportunities to hone their craft and experienced authors a new lens through which to examine their work. The weekend-long  format (Saturday and Sunday) will provide greater value to out-of-town visitors, and allow greater flexibility and depth of instruction. They will incorporate a social aspect as well — in the form of Saturday night readings, socials and other events, offering students the chance to connect with the vibrant Seattle speculative fiction scene and network with others who share their passions.

Find out about our first Weekend Workshop here.
Find out about all our upcoming One-Day and Weekend Workshops here.