Clarion West’s New Scholarships to Encourage Black, Indigenous, and Writers of Color to Attend

Applications are open for the 2022 Clarion West Workshop for speculative fiction writers. Offered every summer in Seattle, Clarion West has over 600 graduates, including Russell L. Bates (winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Miami International Science Fiction Film Festival), editor Sheree Renée Thomas (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction), Nisi Shawl (multiple award-winning writer and editor based in Seattle), and Cadwell Turnbull (winner of the 2020 Neukom Institute Literary Award). 

Clarion West, as part of its commitment to addressing the barriers that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) face in the writing and publishing world, seeks to create a more inclusive, welcoming, and safe space for BIPOC writers in the community. Toward that end, Clarion West offers a number of scholarships to attendees of the Six-Week Summer Workshop. Among them are three offered to BIPOC writers, including a new scholarship offered in 2022 to Latinx/e writers.

  • The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship: managed by the Carl Brandon Society, the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Award is a full-tuition award given to one student who identifies as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color.
  • The Blue Corn Creations Scholarship: donated by Blue Corn Creations, this scholarship is a full-tuition award given to writers who identify as Native American/Indigenous writers from the Americas. 
  • The Flores Scholarship *new*: two full-tuition scholarship awards given to students who identify as Latinx/e.

Clarion West offers full and partial tuition scholarships for all writers in need. A full list of Clarion West scholarships is here. For more information about the workshop and to apply, read here.

Workshop Culture and Accessibility. As part of Clarion West’s commitment to an inclusive workshop environment, in 2020 they began updating their critiquing practices. A few of the updates are:

  • Providing a trained facilitator in every class session who is present to advocate for all participants and help each new instructor get to know their class and their critique goals better;
  • Providing a variety of critique options for the group to decide what will work best for their unique needs. Every group is different, and we want to recognize this by providing the time and space for each group to develop their own rules; 
  • Allowing greater agency for authors to determine their critique goals and to set their own limits; 
  • Encouraging the use of an author’s letter or introduction to each story, allowing the author’s needs to frame the response; and
  • Providing time during a critique for authors to respond to comments or pose additional questions of their own.

A New Location. In addition, Clarion West is committed to hosting in-person events in accessible spaces. In 2022, the Six-Week Workshop will move to Highline College in Des Moines, Washington.

This new location features accessible accommodations, with a short walk to the classroom and other coworking and social spaces. Clarion West participants will have access to the student center and cafe. The college is about a 20-minute drive from downtown Seattle and downtown Tacoma.

[Based on a press release.]

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