Clarion Workshop: Now Accepting Applications for 2012

Hey, weren’t you just saying to yourself, “Damn, I wish I could take part in an awesome, intensive six-week workshop in science fiction and fantasy, taught by amazing writers like Jeffrey Ford, Marjorie Liu, Ted Chiang, Walter Jon Williams, Holly Black, and Cassandra Clare, in a fantastic San Diego setting?” I’m pretty sure I heard you saying that. Because I was over here when you said that. Lurking. As I do.

Well, I have excellent news for you, because, in fact, this year Clarion, the amazing six-week science fiction and fantasy workshop, taking place on the campus of University of California, San Diego, is being taught by none other than Jeffrey Ford, Marjorie Liu, Ted Chiang, Walter Jon Williams, Holly Black, and Cassandra Clare. I know! The coincidence, it is astounding.

And in even better news, the application period for this year’s Clarion class is open and runs through March 1st. So now is the time to get your stories together and submit them. Here are the details.

As most of you know, I taught at Clarion last year, and I’m here to tell you that it’s a great experience for developing writers. You get up-close and personal instruction from some of the best writers in the genre,  and get the benefit of both their skills in the craft and their real-world publishing experience. And you spend six weeks with fellow emerging writers, developing a bond and friendships that last for years. Talk to any Clarion grad and they’ll tell you that it is one of their foundational experiences as a writer. This year’s faculty is pretty damn awesome, with more award winners, New York Times bestsellers and cross-media experience than you can shake any number of proverbial sticks at. 

Also: Dude. San Diego. I could eat fish tacos every day, man.

Thus endeth my sales pitch. Except to say: If you want to write good science fiction and fantasy, and a workshop is what you’re looking for, I don’t see you regretting the Clarion experience. Get to it, people.

18 Comments on “Clarion Workshop: Now Accepting Applications for 2012”

  1. I would love to!!!! It sounds awesome, and each year that goes by that I haven’t gone is a bad one. But six weeks…I’d have to lose my job. :(

    What are the chances of getting in? Could I apply just for the fun of it? With the firm knowledge that I probably won’t get in anyway?

  2. tmso:

    I’m not sure it profits anyone, including yourself, for you to apply if you don’t intend to go.

    What I suggest instead, if this is something you’d really want to do, is find a way to budget time one year to go, and then send an application that year.

  3. tmso: There’s another SFF writing workshop called Viable Paradise (which I’m pretty sure Scalzi teaches at some years) that is only a week long. Much easier to schedule time off work for.

  4. I’ve been planning to apply to Clarion and Clarion West this year. Saved all my vacation time for last year just to be sure to have the time I need to get in. The line up for Clarion looks good, and the instructors for Clarion West include G.R.R Martin and Chuck “Fight Club” Palahniuk. Either would be a great experience.

  5. When I first heard about Clarion, I thought, “Who can afford to take six weeks off?” And then the next year, I realized I could. Applied the first day they took applications.

    When I went in 2004, Clarion was still in East Lansing MI at Michigan State.. But don’t worry about the city — you won’t have time. (evil grin)

    And one of my classmates was… Marjorie M. Liu. I stayed up late one night helping her connect her fax machine to the sorority’s phone system, since while at Clarion, she’d sold her first book deal.

    Yeah — magic happens at Clarion. Also no sleep.

    Dr. Phil

  6. You know, this year, instead of whining about how I could never afford to take six weeks off work (though, you know, if I applied I would TOTALLY get in, amirite?), I am going to donate to one of the many fine scholarship programs to help people who can attend Clarion afford to do so.

  7. I might have to seriously consider quitting my job if I were to get into Clarion.


    @mythago- nice idea, but it’s not clear from that link how you would actually do that. Do you have any more info?

  8. I was/am part of Darkstar (the UCSD Scifi/Fantasy Club) for a number of years.

    In short… yeah, Clarion is awesome. I’d go if I wasn’t already a perfectly well employed writer. =)

  9. Sean, the link is a little vague but if you go to the individual scholarships, many of them have donation information. I’m sure they are all very worthy, though I am somewhat biased to the Carl Brandon Society, which not only supports the Octavia E. Butler scholarship but holds the Con or Bust auction each year.

  10. mythago,

    Thanks for the reminder- I try to manage a donation or two to the Carl Brandon Society each year.


  11. Full line-up for 2012 Clarion West: Mary Rosenblum, Hiromi Goto, George R.R. Martin, Connie Willis, Kelly Link & Gavin Grant, Chuck Palahniuk. Awesome, yes? Plus encounters with Greg Bear, Cat Rambo, Eileen Gunn, Timmi Duchamp of Aqueduct Press, and other local authors, editors, and publishers, including, um, me.

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