News

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. 

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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 info@clarionwest.org. To learn more about the workshop, visit https://www.clarionwest.org/workshops/summer/.

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 director@clarionwest.org, 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.

Work for Clarion West: Six-Week Workshop Administrator

Clarion West’s Workshop Administrator, Jae Steinbacher, has accepted the position of Six-Week Workshop Coordinator, leaving an open position beginning 2020. Clarion West is looking for someone to take on the position of Six-Week Workshop Administrator.

The Workshop Administrator works with the Workshop Coordinator to attend to all of the tasks that make our Six-Week Workshop possible: from selecting instructors, to managing the student selection process, to helping rearrange furniture, to organizing volunteers during move-in and move-out. The position calls for someone resourceful and diplomatic, who enjoys making sure even the tiniest detail is dealt with.

This is a paid position. Living in the Seattle area is a distinct advantage. The position requires being in Seattle (providing your own accommodations) for at least seven weeks over the course of the Summer Workshop. Clarion West alumni are given strong preference for this position.

Being the Workshop Administrator puts you at the center of the Clarion West action: you’ll be working with students, instructors, and members of the community to orchestrate one of the most intense six weeks in speculative fiction. If this sounds like you, contact us at info@clarionwest.org for more information.

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 strongly encourage applications from people with these identities or who are members of other marginalized communities.

Six-Week Workshop Administrator Job Description

Overall Responsibilities: The Six-Week Workshop Administrator serves as a representative of Clarion West and shares workshop leadership and tasks with the Six-Week Workshop Coordinator, taking the lead role in tasks related to CW students. These tasks include but are not limited to:

Workshop Administration
· Monitor workshop phone and email and respond to inquiries in a timely manner
· Assist the Workshop Coordinator on the Six-Week Workshop admissions process, including database liaison, application processing, acknowledgments, and status notifications
· Take the lead in communicating with readers about the reading process and bringing on new readers (the Coordinator will assist in identifying readers)
· Assist with communications with incoming classes, including acceptance confirmations, deposit confirmations, scholarship notifications, setting up the class listserv, updating, copying, and mailing student preparation packets
· Manage communication with workshop waitlist
· Create student tuition statements for the preparation packet and for the Special Projects Coordinator at orientation
· Compile student information regarding health, diet, and room requests, and forward diet information to cook, reserving rooms as necessary
· Update and print student orientation packets
· Provide names for diplomas to art director
· Take lead on move-in and move-out coordination (with classroom assistant/s)
· Take lead on student transportation coordination (with classroom assistant/s)
· Send student materials to instructors
· Liaison with workshop graduates, including occasional parties at appropriate conventions

Workshop Oversight and Communications (in partnership with Workshop Coordinator)
· Accomplish tasks on the Workshop Timeline
· Assist with all workshop logistics, including housing for instructors and students, move-in and move-out of students and instructors, and graduation day events
· Help facilitate smooth classroom mechanics and provide preventative and situational student problem-solving
· Help prevent and resolve student and instructor problems
· Assist and advise students and instructors as necessary
· Coordinate classroom set-up and supplies
· Coordinate workshop thank-yous, worker tips, and student surveys
· Coordinate updating/printing/photocopying of workshop documents, including student stories

This is a part-time position of fewer than 500 hours per year, with the majority taking place between June and July, during the Six-Week Workshop.

Pay is $25/hour.

Applicants must be able to live in Seattle during the Six-Week Workshop. A mix of remote and onsite work the rest of the year is negotiable.

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 strongly encourage applications from people with these identities or who are members of other marginalized communities.

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 workshop@clarionwest.org.

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: contractmanager@clarionwest.org 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.

The 2019 Worldbuilder Scholarship

George R. R. Martin, Tim Chawaga

The 2019 Worldbuilder Scholarship to attend Clarion West Writers Workshop has been awarded to Tim Chawaga of Brooklyn, New York.

The Worldbuilder Scholarship covers tuition, fees, and lodging for one student each year, and is funded by George R. R. Martin and blind-judged by Martin’s team. The scholarship is awarded to a student with strong worldbuilding skills. Martin says: “Every great story requires interesting characters, an engrossing plot, evocative prose, an important theme… but epic fantasy also requires a memorable setting. A ‘secondary universe,’ as J.R.R. Tolkien termed it, a world both like and unlike our own, with its own rich history and geography and customs, its own beauties and terrors.”

Tim Chawaga writes speculative fiction in Brooklyn. His work has most recently been published in Interzone, and he has a degree in drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Read more about George R.R. Martin’s Worldbuilder Scholarship here.

The 2019 Poul and Karen Anderson Memorial International Travel Fund

Counterclockwise from top: Karen and Poul Anderson; Astrid and Greg Bear; Eugenia Triantafyllou

The 2019 Poul and Karen Anderson Memorial International Travel Fund has been awarded to Eugenia Triantafyllou from Greece.

The travel fund, supported by Astrid and Greg Bear, honors Poul and Karen Anderson, the parents of Astrid Bear, and their love of travel and meeting people in the worldwide science fiction and fantasy community.

Science fiction and fantasy writer Poul Anderson’s many awards include seven Hugo and three Nebula awards, and SFWA’s Grand Master Award. He was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2000. Karen Anderson was also a science fiction and fantasy writer of multiple works, and wrote the first published science fiction haiku in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in July 1962.

Eugenia Triantafyllou is a Greek author and artist. She writes ghost stories. She currently lives in North Sweden with a boy and a dog. Her short fiction has appeared in Apex, Strange Horizons, Black Static, Liminal Stories and other venues. Find her on Twitter @foxesandroses or at https://eugeniatriantafyllou.com/.

Announcing the Clarion West Summer Workshop Instructors for 2020

Clarion West is excited to announce the instructors for our 2020 Six-Week Summer Workshop:

Week 1 – Andy Duncan
Week 2 – Eileen Gunn
Week 3 – Tina Connolly & Caroline M. Yoachim
Week 4 – Nalo Hopkinson
Week 5 – Neil Clarke
Week 6 – Ted Chiang

The Clarion West 2020 Six-Week Summer Workshop will take place from June 21 – July 31, 2020 in Seattle’s University District.

Founded in 1971, Clarion West holds a six-week workshop each summer geared toward helping writers of speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, and horror) at the beginnings of their professional careers. Each workshop is limited to 18 students, and each week features a different instructor, a highly regarded author or editor offering a unique perspective on the field. Applicants and students come from everywhere in the world, and graduates frequently go on to professional success.

Read more about our 2020 instructors on the Summer Workshop page.

Applications for the 2020 Summer Workshop open in December 2019. All applicants are eligible for scholarships and/or financial aid.

Vonda McIntyre (1948–2019)

The Clarion West community has been devastated by the passing of Vonda McIntyre, our founder.

Vonda passed away in her Seattle home on April 1, 2019, at 6:25pm, surrounded by friends. She was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic pancreatic cancer in February this year, and the swift progression of the disease shocked her entire community. She was 70 years old.

Since founding Clarion West in 1971, Vonda has been a continual inspiring presence at the workshop and in the Seattle writing community. She leaves behind generations of Clarion West graduates who benefited from her kindness, intelligence, grace, and wry sense of humor. She was well known among students for her yarn “sea creatures” or “coral brains,” which she crocheted every year for the class as stress relievers.

One of Vonda’s “sea creatures.” Photo credit Julie McGalliard (CW ’06).


Throughout her life, Vonda was a tour de force in the world of science fiction. She attended the original Clarion Workshop in 1970, where she was roommates with Octavia E. Butler. Just three years later, she won her first Nebula Award for the novelette “Of Mist, Grass, and Sand,” and followed it up with the novel Dreamsnake, which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards in 1979. She was the third woman to receive the Hugo Award. Over the course of her career, she penned a huge body of Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon and Tiptree award-nominated work, as well as several well-received Star Trek novels, including one which gave Ensign Sulu his first name, Hikaru. Her Nebula-winning fantasy novel The Moon and the Sun has been made into an as-yet-unreleased film, The King’s Daughter, starring Pierce Brosnan. Throughout her life, she was a champion and pioneer in feminist SF, and remained friends with SFF luminaries all around the Pacific Northwest, including a close friendship with Ursula K. Le Guin, who passed away in January last year. Vonda continued writing in her final months, and just two weeks ago was able to complete her final novel, entitled Curve of the World.

It is difficult to express how deeply Vonda contributed to the world of science fiction and fantasy in her 70 years. Through Clarion West alone, she leaves behind 40 years of graduates whose lives and careers have been profoundly inspired and changed by her efforts. We’d like to take this moment to express our deep sadness and regret at her passing, as well as celebrate the wonderful things she achieved in her life. Please check out her official obituary, hosted at File 770, as well as her CaringBridge page, for more from her closest friends and loved ones.

A memorial service for Vonda will be arranged in Seattle. She has requested that, instead of flowers, people make memorial donations to one of their favorite charities.

Vonda and Ursula K. Le Guin in 2004. Photo credit Kate Schaefer (CW ’92).
Photo credit SFWA.