Clarion West Alumni News for June 2017

Welcome to the June edition of the Clarion West Alumni News! The Summer Workshop is about to begin, and Clarion West’s staff and volunteers are all working hard to prepare for the workshop and students. If you would like to help keep the Class of 2017 fueled and caffeinated, visit our Amazon wish list. Everything purchased from the list goes to stock the house.

You can also be a part of the workshop this summer by joining or supporting the Clarion West Write-a-thon! The Write-a-thon is a great chance to get some extra writing motivation this summer while supporting Clarion West. Visit the Write-a-thon page for more information and to register.


Andrea Hairston‘s (CW ’99) novel Will Do Magic for Small Change is a finalist for the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards for LGBTQ speculative fiction.

David Levine‘s (CW ’00) first novel, Arabella of Mars, won the 2016 Andre Norton Award. It has been shortlisted for the Compton Crook Award and the Oregon Book Award, and it appeared on the Locus Recommended Reading List. It will be reissued in mass market paperback on May 30, and the sequel, Arabella and the Battle of Venus, will be released in hardcover on July 18. His story, “Wavefronts of History and Memory,” is a nominee for 100 Year Starship’s Canopus Award.

Carolyn Ives Gilman (CW ’89) and Dominica Phetteplace (CW ’07) are both finalists for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award.

The 2017 Locus Award finalist list is out, and includes several Clarion West alumni:

  • In Science Fiction Novel: Daniel Abraham (as half of James S. A. Corey) (CW ’98), for Babylon’s Ashes
  • In First Novel: Curtis Chen (CW ’14), for Waypoint Kangaroo
  • In First Novel: David D. Levine (CW ’00), for Arabella of Mars
  • In First Novel: Nisi Shawl (CW ’92), for Everfair
  • In Novella: Kij Johnson (CW ’87), for “The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe”
  • In Non-Fiction: Kameron Hurley (CW ’00), for The Geek Feminist Revolution

The Shirley Jackson Awards finalist list has two alumni on it: Kij Johnson (CW ’87) for her novella, “The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe,” and Indrapramit Das (CW ’12) for his novelette, “Breaking Water.”

Shannon Fay (CW ’14) has been nominated for an Eisner Award (in the Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia category) for orange: The Complete Collection, vols. 1–2 (by Ichigo Takano, translated by Amber Tamosaitis, adaptation by Shannon Fay, published by Seven Seas).

The longlist of nominations for the 2017 Sunburst Award for Excellence In Canadian Literature of the Fantastic has been published, and includes several alumni:

  • Rich Larson (CW ’14), for “All That Robot Shit”
  • Helen Marshall (CW ’12), for “Caro in Carno”
  • Michael Matheson (CW ’14), for “Until There is Only Hunger”

Rich Larson (CW ’14) won the Asimov’s Reader Award for his story “All That Robot Shit,” and the 2017 Roswell Award for his story “Fifteen Minutes Hate.”


Caroline M. Yoachim‘s (CW ’06) story, “Carnival Nine,” was published in May in Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

A Heart, An Egg, A Lock of Hair” by Kelly M. Sandoval (CW ’13) appeared in Daily Science Fiction in May.

Tod McCoy‘s (CW ’10) poem “Sparking the Matter” appeared in the May/June edition of Asimov’s.

Steve Miller (CW ’73) and Sharon Lee’s latest book, The Gathering Edge, was published in May by Baen. This is the twentieth book in their acclaimed Liaden Universe series.

Amy Sisson‘s (CW ’00) novelette, “Places We Call Home,” appeared in the May 2017 issue of Perihelion, in both online text and podcast format. She began writing this story at Clarion West in 2000, but the only thing that remains from that very rough draft is the opening paragraph and the main character’s name. She also has two stories forthcoming: “Ménagerie in Motion” in Syntax & Salt, and “Jackpot Time” in Devilfish Review.

Mimi Mondal (CW ’15) is a co-editor on Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler. This book of essays, letters, and articles exploring and celebrating Butler’s influence on speculative fiction includes work by Stephanie Burgis (CW ’01), Christopher Caldwell (CW ’07), Cat Rambo (CW ’05), Nisi Shawl (CW ’92), Jeremy Sim (CW ’11), and Rachel Swirsky (CW ’05).

The first chapter of Alex Kane‘s (CW ’13) new book, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2018, Boss Fight Books) is now up at Glixel.

Maura McHugh (CW ’06) has a midnight movie monograph, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, now available to pre-order from Electric Dreamhouse Press. She also has a story, “Colours,” in the comic book anthology Outside. Her story was illustrated by John Riordan, and the anthology was edited by Amir Naaman and Doron Hamburger.

cover art for The Switch

Justina Robson (CW ’96) has a new book out: The Switch.

Eugene Myers‘ (CW ’05) new book, 1985: STORI3S FROM SØS, was published in May and is available exclusively at Barnes and Noble. This book collects three original stories—”SOS,” “DoubleThink,” and “1985.”

Ravana’s Children,” by Ian Muneshwar (CW ’14), was published in PodCastle in May.


Steve Miller (CW ’73) and Sharon Lee will be the Writing Guests of Honor at ConFluence in Pittsburgh, August 4-6, 2017. Steve will be giving a talk about writing workshops and why or why not an individual writer might want to attend.

Instructor news

cover art for Other Arms Reach Out to Me

Michael Bishop, who has taught for Clarion West twice, has some new publications out. His story collection Other Arms Reach Out to Me: Georgia Stories, with an introduction by award-winning academic Hugh Ruppersburg, will appear in June from Fairwood Press/Kudzu Planet Productions. His novelette, “Gale Strange,” will appear in the July/August issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction, and his novel Transfigurations will appear in November 2017 from Fairwood Press/Kudzu Planet Productions, featuring an introduction by Joe Sanders.


Ama Patterson (CW ’99), a SF writer and attorney, died on May 1, 2017. She was 56. Her obituary in Newsday includes quotes from her classmates Andrea Hairston (CW ’99) and Sheree Renee Thomas (CW ’99).

Her classmate Joe Sanders (CW ’99) remembers her:

Here is the first thing that you need to know about Ama Patterson in the summer of 1999: she was much, much more talented than the rest of us. The technology she imagined was more original, believable, and frightening. The fear she embedded in the conflicts that her characters faced was both recognizable and unconventional, so we recognized as valid their fear and had no defenses in place against it, as we had never seen anything quite like it ourselves.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can say that I only had to make my way a few lines into any new story that Ama turned in before I knew that what I was reading was better than anything I was going to write.

Here is the second thing that you need to know about Ama Patterson in the summer of 1999: she was such a wonderful, accepting, joyful person that you couldn’t bring yourself to resent her for being so much more talented than you were. She read others’ work with abandon, with the utter conviction that she was going to enjoy it. Had she been a competitive person, I could have resented her, but she believed in me, in all of us, with no reason to do so.

She was as talented as she was generous. Is there higher praise?

Trent Walters (CW ’99) had this to say:

Ama was among the sweetest of us. Her laugh was memorable the trill, the cascade, the shaking shoulders. She and I shared a love of Casandra Wilson and wasted an afternoon listening to her smoky, bluesy voice. Ama’s literary voice had its own charm that should have brought her at least minor acclaim, but her chosen genre favors the prolific, and she was anything but. Hopefully, a chapbook of her prose becomes available someday, so that others can be wowed and sense the awe that exploded in our brains when we first read her amazing sentences. We thought she’d take the genre by storm. But maybe she was too quiet, deferring her talents to others. Oh, Ama, we miss you.

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