Clarion West Alumni News for August 2015

The workshop is over, our newly-minted alumni have returned home, and our dedicated workshop staff are getting some much-needed sleep. It was a fantastic summer, and I’d like to thank everyone who supported the workshop and the Write-a-thon, attended the readings, and provided needed items for the students.

The instructors for 2016 have been announced, and applications will open in December. If you know a writer who might be ready for the Six-Week Workshop, let them know that we have all of the information they’ll need on the Six-Week Workshop pages.

Our fall One-Day workshops are open for registration—join us for workshops that will make your fiction feel more real with distinguished instructors Patricia BriggsKij JohnsonHannu Rajaniemi, and Hiromi Goto.

Events of Interest
The Seattle Public Library is celebrating the life and legacy of Octavia Butler with their event Pop-Up on the Plaza: Celebrate the Life of Octavia Butler at the downtown branch of the Seattle Public Library on August 26. The event kicks off with a live music set by local hip-hop legend Gabriel Teodros, and continues with a conversation with writers from the new anthology Octavia’s Brood.

The shortlist for the British Fantasy Awards has been announced, and Helen Marshall (CW ’12) is on the list for her book Gifts for the One Who Comes After. The Lightspeed “Women Destroy Science Fiction” issue is also on the list for Best Anthology, which features work by many Clarion West alumni: Rachel Swirsky (CW ’05), Kris Millering (CW ’09), Maria Romasco Moore (CW ’11), Tina Connolly (CW ’06), Rhiannon Rasmussen (CW ’14), Tracie Welser (CW ’10), Nisi Shawl (CW ’92), Sandra Odell (CW ’10), Nancy Jane Moore (CW ’97), Kameron Hurley (CW ’00), Helena Bell (CW ’13), and Georgina Kamsika (CW ’12).

Nicole Idar’s (CW ’13) story “The Naked Mole Rat Experiment” is a finalist for the Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction.

Curtis Chen (CW ’14) has sold his story “Laddie Come Home” to the 2016 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide anthology.

Mimi Mondal (CW ’15) had her story “Things to Do after They’re Gone” published in Daily Science Fiction.

Rich Larson (CW ’14) has been busy! His poem “I went to the asteroid to bury you” was published in Abyss & Apex, his story “Edited” was published in Interzone in July, and his story “God Decay” was reprinted in the Gardner Dozois anthology The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Second Annual Collection.

Bigfootloose and Finn Fancy Free cover art

The cover of Randy Henderson’s (CW ’09) next novel, Bigfootloose and Finn Fancy Free has been revealed, and the book is now available for preorder.

E. Lily Yu’s (CW ’13) story “Woman at Exhibition” was published in Uncanny in July.

Michael Smith (CW ’14), under his pen name Michael Hernshaw, has had his story “Hadley Full of Hate” published in The Sockdolager. This story was workshopped during the fifth week of the 2014 Six-Week Workshop.

The collection Stories for Chip has just been published. Co-edited by Nisi Shawl (CW ’92) and Bill Campbell, it includes work from Roz Clarke (CW ’07), Kathryn Cramer (CW ’84), Geetanjali Dighe (CW ’13), Fabio Fernandes (CW ’13), Alex Jennings (CW ’03), Anil Menon (CW ’04), Benjamin Rosenbaum (CW ’01), and Sheree Renee Thomas (CW ’99).

Appearances and New Ventures
Alex Kane’s (CW ’13) Kickstarter campaign for Asphodel: A Mythic Space Opera is in full swing! It has been featured in The A.V. Club and backed by 2013 Clarion West instructor Neil Gaiman. The comic book project was adapted from a story written for Samuel R. Delany’s week at Clarion West 2013, and marks Alex’s first foray into writing comics.

The Kickstarter can be found at and at

Curtis C. Chen (CW ’14) will once again be running the Open Read & Critique sessions (ORCs) at OryCon 37 in Portland, Oregon this November. For details, see the OryCon website.

Alumni Interview
Interview with Cassandra Clarke, Clarion West Class of 2010

Cassandra Rose Clarke

AN: What one thing are you proudest of since you completed the Clarion West Workshop? (Doesn’t have to be writing related)
CC: Becoming a professional writer, and, specifically, learning how to navigate the experience of conventions and networking and book reviews (both positive and negative). I have issues with anxiety, which is not a great thing for a writer, since you’re basically a public figure. Getting my books was published was a thrilling experience, but it was scary, too, and I’m proud of the ways I’ve learned to cope with the scary parts.

AN: What’s your superpower? Alternately, what superpower would you most like to have?
CC: I think I’d like to have the ability to teleport. Flying would be cool, too, but teleporting is faster and seems less tiring. I probably wouldn’t use it to be a superhero, though. I’d just travel a lot and skip traffic jams.

AN: What’s one book, movie, or album you wholeheartedly recommend?
CC: One of my favorite movies of all time is 2046, directed by Wong Kar Wai. It’s about a rakish pulp science fiction author living in 1960s Hong Kong as he tries to get over an earlier love affair; this narrative is intertwined with a Philip K. Dick-esque book he’s writing about a Japanese passenger aboard a never-ending train run by androids. It’s gorgeously shot and blends the science fiction elements seamlessly with the present-day story. It’s a bit like Margaret Atwood’s Blind Assassin (which I would also wholeheartedly recommend) in the way that it shows how important science fiction stories are for helping us navigate the real world.

AN: What one piece of advice would you give to the members of the incoming Clarion West class?
CC: Take advantage of the fact that you’re living in Seattle for six weeks. Get out and experience the city! Clarion West is designed to be intense, but if you hole yourself up in your room and do nothing but write, you’ll get burned out. You have to refill the well. One of my favorite memories of Clarion West isn’t related to writing at all—it was taking an afternoon trip to the zoo. Seattle is an awesome place and there’s a lot of inspiration waiting outside the CW house.

Cassandra Rose Clarke’s first adult novel, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, was a finalist for the 2013 Philip K. Dick Award, and her YA novel, The Assassin’s Curse, was nominated for YALSA’s 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults. Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons and Daily Science Fiction. Her latest novel is Our Lady of the Ice, forthcoming from Saga Press in 2015.

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