Six-Week Application Readers
We are looking for well-read speculative fiction fans, writers, and teachers to help us select future Clarion West students. You will read fiction samples and short answers submitted to Clarion West by those applying to our six-week summer workshop. We are committed to assigning three readers to every application for a diversity of perspectives, to give a fair review to all applicants. We are actively encouraging People of the Global Majority and LGBTQIA+ writers to apply, and we have taken special care in making the workshop accessible for writers with disabilities and more accommodating for neurodiverse students. We want a diversity of perspectives in our review process so that we don’t miss opportunities to bring new voices to the workshop.
To learn more about the six-week workshop and qualifications, please read our FAQ.
You are not required to have attended a Clarion workshop or taught for us. We are delighted to have readers with experience as teachers, first readers for magazines, editors, and publishing staff, but none of these is a requirement to read for us. Above all, we want you to be well-versed in the speculative field, to know your own biases with regards to genre and themes, and to be excited to contribute to a community of writers.
We assess applications based on several categories: readiness, creativity and originality, the stylings of the storyteller, and expressiveness/voice. A full rubric will be provided to all readers. Our applicants come from all over the world and have different levels of education, opportunity, and writing experience. We are most looking for compelling stories told with a lot of heart, regardless of how perfect the grammar is, and applicants who are ready to learn and grow with a community of fellow writers.
A few additional guidelines:
- You may not be a current applicant to the workshop.
- Clarion West alumni may not read for their first year after the workshop (for example, a member of the class of 2022 must wait to read until the application season for 2024). This helps give recent alumni some distance from their own workshop experience, so that they can look at the applicants’ work with fresh eyes.
- Please disclose if you read for any magazines or anthologies in the speculative fiction field.
- Please do not advertise that you are reading for us during the application period. We do not provide story notes to applicants, and we don’t list our readers publicly for this reason. If you wish, following the announcement of our class when all applicants have been notified of their status, you may comment publicly that you read for us. (Some of our readers like to post general comments or encouragement about the strength of the stories they read.)
15 applications (though we’d love if you could commit to reading more! Some readers read dozens of applications).
We typically assign applications in batches of 5 at a time. You’ll be given guidelines on rating applications, and there will be opportunities to comment on each application. We ask readers to recuse themselves from rating the applications of anyone they know personally.
Workshop applicants may submit up to two short stories of up to 6,000 words each, or a longer story of up to 10,000 words, or a novel excerpt of up to 10,000 words with a synopsis of up to three pages. While Clarion West’s focus is speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc.), fiction of any genre may be considered.
Applicants are also asked to provide short answers to the following questions:
- Why do you want to attend Clarion West now? What are your goals for the workshop?
- Tell us where you feel you are in your career/writing practice, and your experience critiquing or being critiqued by others (if you have any).
- What skills or attributes as a reader, critical thinker, or classmate, or life experiences/perspectives, will you offer your workshop peers?
- Why do you write, and what does “success” as a writer look like to you?
- Is there anything in particular that you’d like your instructors and/or peers to know about you?
$5 honorarium per application read
Please submit a resume and short letter explaining your relevant qualifications and interest in reading to Residential Workshop Coordinator Jae Steinbacher at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your resume as a PDF attachment and list the position title in the subject line of the email.