About us

Clarion West Writers Workshop is a nonprofit literary organization based in Seattle, Washington, with a mission to improve speculative fiction 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.


Speculative fiction—science fiction, fantasy, horror, magic realism, and slipstream—gives voice to those who explore societal and technological change, along with deeper considerations of underlying archetypes of human experience. 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 writers of color and women writers than white male writers. Within the limitations of the workshop, Clarion West is dedicated to improving those proportions.

Modeled after the original Clarion Workshop held in Clarion, Pennsylvania, which in turn was modeled on the Milford Writers Workshop, Clarion West has been held continuously in Seattle, Washington since 1984, with three earlier sessions held here in 1971, 1972, and 1973. From the beginning, the workshop been run by writers, for writers. The 1971 workshop was initiated by Vonda N. McIntyre, a Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author and a Clarion graduate herself, with the support of the original Clarion workshop’s founder, Robin Scott Wilson. In 1984 J.T. Stewart, a Seattle writer who attended the 1973 session, and another local writer, Marilyn J. Holt, reconvened the workshop.

Clarion West is honored to receive support from a broad and diverse group of organizations.  This support, along with individual donations, enables the organization to fulfill its mission.

Carl Brandon Society
Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
Empire and Great Jones Creative Arts Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
New York Science Fiction Society / The Lunarians, Inc.
Oregon Science Fiction Conventions, Inc.
SF3 (supporting the Women in Speculative Fiction Fund)
University Book Store

Clarion West receives generous scholarship and instructorship support in honor of the following individuals:

Elliot Alexander
Michael Alexander
Mark Bourne
Octavia E. Butler
Gordon R. Dickson
Leslie Howle
Robert and Dorothy Munson
Susan C. Petrey
Donald A. and Elsie B. Wollheim

Clarion West incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1986, with workshop alumni and other interested members of the science fiction community forming its first Board of Directors. With the help of many dedicated volunteers and a core of committed professional staff, Clarion West has produced some of science fiction and fantasy’s top writers and editors. Graduates have received every major form of recognition in the field, including the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards.