Clarion Conversations

While the Clarion Workshop isn’t happening in person in San Diego this year, we wanted to bring the Clarion community together in a different way this summer. We hope you’ll join us for Clarion Conversations, a series of Zoom-based conversations about writing speculative fiction with a just tiny fraction of the amazingly talented Clarion alumni, instructor, and broader community. Join us from June 24th to July 29th for these conversations!

Make sure to RSVP to each conversation individually via the links below:

Stories of the Fantastic and the Strange – June 24, 5pm PT / 8pm ET (register here)

This week, our guests are Catherynne M. Valente, Alyssa Wong, and Ashley Blooms, moderated by Karen Joy Fowler. With them, we’re honored to have a conversation about the challenges and opportunities of writing speculative fiction that incorporates the fantastic and strange. Whether it’s myths or monsters, fantasies of the future (and Eurovision) or the feeling of everyday magic, each of these writers draws from a wide array of genres to create their unique and powerful stories.

 

Catherynne M. Valente is the New York Times bestselling author of over two dozen works of fiction and poetry, including Space Opera, Palimpsest, the Orphan’s Tales series, Deathless, Radiance, and the crowdfunded phenomenon The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Own Making (and the four books that followed it). She is the winner of the Andre Norton, Tiptree, Sturgeon, Prix Imaginales, Eugie Foster Memorial, Mythopoeic, Rhysling, Lambda, Locus, Romantic Times’ Critics Choice and Hugo awards. She has been a finalist for the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. She lives on an island off the coast of Maine with a small but growing menagerie of beasts, some of which are human.

 

Alyssa Wong’s stories have won the Nebula Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the Locus Award. She was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and her fiction has been shortlisted for the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and Shirley Jackson Awards. She writes for Overwatch. She lives in California and can be found on Twitter as @crashwong.

 

Ashley Blooms is the debut author of EVERY BONE A PRAYER, about a young girl who, in trying to learn more about her secret empathic ability, becomes entangled in her Appalachian community’s dark past. She must try to help heal their wounds–and her own–in order to break generational cycles of abuse. The novel will be published in the fall of 2020 by Sourcebooks. Born and raised in Cutshin, Kentucky, Blooms received her MFA as a John and Renee Grisham Fellow at the University of Mississippi. Her short stories have appeared in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Strange Horizons, among others. Her nonfiction has appeared in the Oxford American. She’s been awarded scholarships from the Clarion Writer’s Workshop and Appalachian Writer’s Workshop, served as fiction editor for the Yalobusha Review, and worked as an editorial intern and first reader for Tor.com. She currently lives in rural Kentucky with her partner and dog, where she is at work on a middle grade book.

 

Karen Joy Fowler is the author of six novels and three short story collections. Her 2004 novel, The Jane Austen Book Club, spent thirteen weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list and was a New York Times Notable Book. Fowler’s previous novel, Sister Noon, was a finalist for the 2001 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction. Her debut novel, Sarah Canary, won the Commonwealth medal for best first novel by a Californian, was listed for the Irish Times International Fiction Prize as well as the Bay Area Book Reviewers Prize, and was a New York Times Notable Book. Fowler’s short story collection Black Glass won the World Fantasy Award in 1999, and her collection What I Didn’t See won the World Fantasy Award in 2011. Her most recent novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, won the 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction and was short-listed for the 2014 Man Booker Prize. She is the co-founder of the James Tiptree, Jr. Award and the current president of the Clarion Foundation (also known as Clarion San Diego).

 

 

Writing the Future – July 1, 5pm PT / 8pm ET (register here)

This week, our guests are Eileen Gunn, Ted Chiang, Lilliam Rivera, and Sam J. Miller, moderated by Kim Stanley Robinson. With them, we’re thrilled to explore how they imagine and make use of the future in their fiction. Sliding between meticulously envisioned technological advances, extreme social shifts, critical dystopias, and, occasionally, glimmers of better possibilities, these writers will discuss how they approach writing tomorrow in their stories.

Eileen Gunn is an American science fiction writer and editor, born in 1945 in Massachusetts. She is the author of a small but distinguished body of short fiction published over the last three decades. Her story “Coming to Terms” won the Nebula Award in 2004. The same year saw the publication of her collection Stable Strategies and Others. Her other work in science fiction includes Questionable Practices: Stories, editing the pioneering webzine The Infinite Matrix and producing the website The Difference Dictionary, a concordance to The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. A graduate of Clarion, Gunn now serves as a director of Clarion West. Other life experiences have included working as Director of Advertising at Microsoft (reporting directly to Steve Ballmer), traveling across Siberia in 1973, and being a member of an outlaw bike club.

 

Ted Chiang’s fiction has won four Hugo, four Nebula, and four Locus awards, and has been featured in The Best American Short Stories. His debut collection, Stories of Your Life and Others, has been translated into twenty-one languages, and Exhalation: Stories. He was born in Port Jefferson, New York, and currently lives near Seattle, Washington.

 

Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning writer and author of the young adult novels Dealing in Dreams (March 2019), The Education of Margot Sanchez (February 2018), the middle grade novel Goldie Vance: The Hotel Whodunit (March 2020) by Little, Brown, and the forthcoming Never Look Back (September 2020) by Bloomsbury. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Elle, to name a few. Lilliam lives in Los Angeles.

 

Sam J. Miller is the Nebula-Award-winning author of The Art of Starving (an NPR best of the year) and Blackfish City (a best book of the year for Vulture, The Washington Post, Barnes & Noble, and more – and a “Must Read” in Entertainment Weekly and O: The Oprah Winfrey Magazine). A recipient of the Shirley Jackson Award and a graduate of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, Sam’s work has been nominated for the World Fantasy, Theodore Sturgeon, John W. Campbell and Locus Awards, and reprinted in dozens of anthologies. A community organizer by day, he lives in New York City.

 

Kim Stanley Robinson is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. He is the author of nineteen previous books, including the bestselling Mars trilogy and the critically acclaimed Forty Signs of RainFifty Degrees BelowSixty Days and CountingThe Years of Rice and Salt, and Antarctica. In 2008, he was named a “Hero of the Environment” by Time magazine, and he recently joined in the Sequoia Parks Foundation’s Artists in the Back Country program. He lives in Davis, California.

 

The Future is Queer – July 15, 5:30pm PT / 8:30pm ET (register here)

 

This week, our guests are José Iriarte, Jordy Rosenberg, and Nicasio Andrés Reed, moderated by Ellen Kushner. The conversation, named in honor of the Delany-Kushner-Sherman “The Future is Queer” scholarship for Clarion students, will explore speculative fiction through the eyes of these four writers whose work centers queer stories and experiences, the writers who inspired and paved the way for them, and what the future of the field looks like.

We encourage attendees of tonight’s conversation to make a contribution to the Delany-Kushner-Sherman/The Future is Queer Scholarship, which recognizes the continued work of Samuel R. Delany, Ellen Kushner, and Delia Sherman as active LGBTQ writers in the field of science fiction and fantasy, and their contributions as Clarion faculty members who have been particularly supportive of LGBTQ students over the years. The scholarship provides financial support for Clarion students who self-identify as part of the broader queer community. In addition, it recognizes the need for more queer representation in speculative literature, and the many hardships queer writers face due to employment, home, and financial discrimination. Our hope is that the Delany-Kushner-Sherman scholarship will help more queer writers attend the Clarion Workshop.

José Pablo Iriarte is a Cuban-American writer and teacher who lives in Central Florida. José’s fiction can be found in magazines such as Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Fireside Fiction, and others, and has been featured in best-of lists compiled by Tangent Online, Featured Futures, iO9, and Quick Sip Reviews, and on the SFWA Nebula Award Recommended Reading List. Jose’s novelette, “The Substance of My Lives, the Accidents of Our Births,” was a Nebula Award Finalist and was long-listed for the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award. Learn more at www.labyrinthrat.com, or follow José on Twitter @labyrinthrat.

Nicasio Andrés Reed is a Filipino-American writer, poet, and essayist whose work has appeared in venues such as Queers Destroy Science FictionStrange HorizonsLightspeed, and Shimmer. Nico has gone back and forth between the United States and the Philippines over the years, and is currently pursuing an MA in creative writing at the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Find him on Twitter @NicasioSilang. and support him at https://ko-fi.com/nicasio.

Jordy Rosenberg is the author of Confessions of the Foxa New York Times Editors Choice selection, shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, a Lambda Literary Award, a Publishing Triangle Award, the UK Historical Writers Association Debut Crown Award, and longlisted for The Dublin Literary Award. Confessions has been recognized by The New Yorker, the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Kirkus Reviews, LitHub, Electric Literature and the Feminist Press, among other places, as one of the Best Books of 2018. Jordy’s work has been supported by fellowships and residencies from The Lannan Foundation, The Ahmanson-Getty Foundation, and the UCLA Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies. Jordy is a professor of 18th-Century Literature, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Critical Theory at The University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Ellen Kushner’s paying jobs have included folksinger, book editor, national public radio host, writing teacher, audiobook narrator, and pilgrim at Plimoth Plantation. Her Riverside novels include Swordspoint, The Privilege of the Sword (Locus Award, Nebula nominee), and The Fall of the Kings (written with Delia Sherman), and a growing collection of short stories. She lives in New York City with Delia Sherman, no cats, and a whole lot of airplane and theater ticket stubs she just can’t bring herself to throw away.

Remembering Octavia/Writers of Color at Clarion – July 16, 5pm PT / 8pm ET (register here)

This week, our guests are adrienne marie brown, Lisa Bolekaja, and Senaa Ahmad, moderated by Shelley Streeby (Clarion Workshop Faculty Director). The focus this week is to highlight the contributions of writers of color in the Clarion community, looking back to early student Octavia E. Butler and to the future through the eyes of these three writers, including two Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholars—a scholarship for Clarion students of color sponsored by the Carl Brandon Society.

The Carl Brandon Society has tirelessly dedicated itself to increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction. We encourage attendees of tonight’s conversation to make a contribution to the Butler Scholarship Memorial Fund.

adrienne maree brown is the author of Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling GoodEmergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds and the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements. She is the cohost of the How to Survive the End of the World and Octavia’s Parables podcasts. adrienne is rooted in Detroit.

Lisa Bolekaja is a speculative fiction writer, screenwriter, podcaster, and film critic. She is a graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop and was named an Octavia E. Butler Scholar by the Carl Brandon Society in 2012. When not writing, she co-hosts a popular screenwriting podcast called “Hilliard Guess’ Screenwriters Rant Room”. Her SF/F work has appeared in Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, The WisCon Chronicles: Volume 8, the anthology How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens, “Uncanny Magazine”,  Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler, and SyFy Wire. She divides her time between San Diego, Los Angeles, Italy, and numerous Science Fiction /Horror conferences throughout the country. 

Senaa Ahmad’s short fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, PRISM InternationalStrange Horizons, and Uncanny Magazine. A Clarion 2018 alum, she has received the generous support of the Octavia Butler Scholarship, the inaugural A. C. Bose Grant from the Speculative Literature Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Toronto Arts Council, and the Ontario Arts Council. She’s the recipient of the 2019 Sunburst Award for Short Fiction, and is working concurrently on her first two short story collections.

Shelley Streeby is an author and educator whose interdisciplinary research is situated at the intersections of American Studies; Literary and Cultural Studies; Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies; and Critical Ethnic Studies. She is a Professor of Literature and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego and the director of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop.

Editing Speculative Fiction and Poetry – July 22, 5pm PT / 8pm ET (register here)

This week, our guests are John Joseph Adams, Ruoxi Chen, and Brandon O’Brien, moderated by Theodore McCombs. We’ll be discussing the state of publishing speculative fiction and poetry and how these three editors approach their work.

 

Holly Black and Kelly Link in Conversation – July 29, 5pm PT / 8pm ET (register here)

For our final week, we’re thrilled to have the incredible Holly Black and Kelly Link in conversation about craft, community, surviving as a writer, and what Clarion has meant to them.