Clarion South Writers' Workshop

The US-based Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers' Workshop, the most highly regarded genre writing workshop in the world, is coming to Queensland.

Clarion South, which will join Clarion West in the intensive six-week workshop tradition of the original, is intended for writers preparing for a professional career in speculative fiction. "This is not a workshop for beginners," says their PR. "It is has been designed to fill a niche for those emerging speculative fiction writers who lack opportunities to meet with their peers and polish their craft."

Clarion has been described as "boot camp" for sf writers. The Clarion experience consists of a six week, live-in "residency". Mornings are devoted to critiquing manuscripts in a workshop setting; afternoons, evenings, and weekends are devoted to individual writing and conferences with the writer-in-residence. Participants produce new work and continuously receive feedback on the structure, style and substance of their writing.

As with the Michigan University format—which has produced writers such as Kim Stanley Robinson, Bruce Sterling, Vonda McIntyre, Octavia Butler, George Alec Effinger and Nalo Hopkinson—six Australian speculative fiction writers will be on-call, and will each teach for one week during the six weeks of the workshop, conducting critique sessions and one-to-one conferences with the participants. Confirmed so far are Lucy Sussex, Terry Dowling and Jack Dann.

This is not the first time a workshop of this kind has been run in Australia (Ursula Le Guin hosted a shorter version in association with Australia's first Worldcon in 1975) but it is the first official Clarion event. Planning has begun for the first workshop, to be run in January and February 2004, somewhere in Queensland. Organisers are looking for people to help organise, fund-raise and spread the word to writers who may not have immediate access to the Australian speculative fiction community. People working behind the scenes to bring Clarion to the Southern Hemisphere include Marianne de Pierres, Grace Dugan and Kate Eltham. The website includes additional information, and a mailing list is available.

(Thursday, October 31 @ 00:54:08 WST)

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