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)