NEWS ITEM

Clarion South Update

The Clarion South workshop recently announced new tutors and opened applications. They're also seeking letters of support for State Arts funding body applications, with Victoria's closing March 10.

Clarion South announced in mid-January that Brisbane-based horror and dark fantasy novelist Kim Wilkins, award-winning Canadian writer Nalo Hopkinson and US editor David G. Hartwell had joined the tutors teaching at the six-week workshop. Late last year Clarion announced its first three tutors: writers Lucy Sussex, Terry Dowling and Jack Dann. Each tutor will each be in residence at Clarion South for one week, leading critique sessions and having one-to-one consultations with the participants.

Applications for the workshop (to be held from 01-Jan to 14-Feb, 2004) opened in February, and will remain open until 31-July-03. Potential applicants are advised to consult the website, download application forms and read the guidelines—and apply early, as up to eight applicants will be accepted before the deadline in order to give participants more time to fundraise and plan. The "earlybird deadline" is 30-April-03, and applications have already begun arriving.

From PR material:

"Who Should Apply? Anyone who wishes to devote some time and energy towards the goal of being a professional speculative fiction writer. We encourage people of all skill levels, backgrounds and subgenres to apply. Clarion South selection readers are asked to look out for writers who show potential and who demonstrate a passion for their work, not just a competency with basic skills. If you've only written a couple of short stories, send them to us, the readers may see your potential to learn and grow as a writer. If you've been working hard for a few years, but feel that you haven't reached the level that you're aiming for, we hope the workshop will be able to provide the motivation, skills and contacts to help you achieve professional success. If you already think of yourself as a professional, but feel that you would benefit form the workshop's intense writing and critiquing environment, we also encourage you to apply.

The workshop focuses on short stories because we believe it is the ideal form to write and critique over a relatively short period of time. If your interest is in novels, plays or screenplays, your experience at Clarion South should provide you with valuable skills that you can apply to your chosen form.

The Selection Process. Applicants are asked to provide three copies of a 6000 word sample of their work, as well as a A$25 application fee and some paperwork. The manuscripts will be distributed to three readers who, not knowing the identity of the applicant, read the sample and give it a score from one to ten, based on guidelines. The scores, and additional comments, are collated and used to determine who is offered a place at the workshop. A more detailed description of the process is available on our website."

The workshop was recently awarded a grant from Brisbane City Council for $15,000, which will go towards the cost of one of the international tutors and administration overheads, as well as making a contribution to the scholarship fund ($2000 and growing) and improving the six-week community programme of free speculative fiction events. Finally, the money will go towards lowering the cost of the workshop by $150/applicant.

Clarion South is putting together a grant application to Arts Victoria for two full scholarships to attend the workshop. These scholarships would be available to two successful Victorian applicants. (Other State Arts bodies will also be approached for funding.) To assist the application, the organisers are calling for letters of support from Victorians who are thinking of applying to the workshop. The application is due on Monday the 10th of March, so letters (post to: Clarion South Writers Workshop, PO Box 1394, Toowong QLD 4068) would need to arrive on Friday (by post) or on Sunday (by email to Grace Dugan). The organisers advise:

"It's fairly straightforward. All you have to do is write a letter, preferably on some kind of letterhead, addressed 'To Whom it May Concern.' In the letter you should:
  • tell them about yourself and your writing
  • explain what a great opportunity Clarion South would be for you
  • mention how important it would be for you to receive a scholarship. (If you could say that you would be unable to attend without this financial assistance, that would also strengthen our case.)"

In other news, Marianne de Pierres has retired as a Clarion South co-convenor due to writing commitments, but will still be helping out in an advisory role. Clarion South's publicity manager Robert Hoge (media enquiries ph. 0438 120 401) has taken Marianne's place as the fourth co-convenor.

Clarion South is an initiative of Fantastic Queensland Inc.

(Thursday, March 06 @ 17:21:55 AWST)

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