Laptop theft at Clarion West sf workshop — donations needed — UPDATED

Update: We've raised enough to replace all the laptops and then some! See this post for more.

Clarion West, the famed Seattle science fiction workshop, has suffered a terrible theft: four student laptops were stolen yesterday. Clarion West (like Clarion in San Diego) is a grueling, six-week intensive boot-camp for science fiction writers. Students often quit their jobs and save for years to attend and it goes without saying that they can hardly absorb the cost of a new laptop in the middle of the workshop.

I'm flying to Seattle tomorrow to teach the third week of the workshop and I'm keenly aware of the chaos this will have wrought on the students. The workshop's organizers are soliciting donations — either hardware or cash — to get the students up and running. The workshop is incorporated as a 501(c)3 charity, so any donations are tax deductible.

I am donating all of my teaching fee to the fund. I hope that some of you will be moved to chip in whatever you can afford, to help fund the instruction of the next generation of great science fiction writers.

Here's the note that organizer Leslie Howle has sent around:

Four laptops were stolen July 4 from student rooms at the CW residence, and people in the SF community are responding swiftly and generously to help replace the stolen student computers.

If you'd like to donate to help the students replace the stolen laptops, please visit our Donate page and use the PayPal button, noting in the "Purpose" field that the donation is for "Computers."

This is the first time in our more than 25 years of workshops that something like this has happened, and we're doing all we can to get computers for students so they won't lose any writing time. The theft occurred while students were in class, and was discovered immediately afterwards. I called the Seattle Police Department to file a report, and we've taken steps to increase residence security.

News of the students' loss has spread quickly, and I deeply appreciate that friends, alumni, and writers in the community at large are offering donations to help students replace their computers. We'd especially like to thank Jay Lake for his generosity and for alerting others who might donate money or laptops.

This community is amazing and wonderful. Thanks for helping this year's CW writers, and for all your support. It means a lot to me, Neile, and all the rest of the CW volunteers and students. You guys are the best.