The Clarion Writer's Workshop is a prestigious breeding ground of sorts for science fiction and fantasy writers. Certainly no one has to go to Clarion to succeed in the field, but a lot of brilliant and award-winning genre writers have gone through the immersive six week program. I can tell you from personal experience that it can be absolutely life-changing — I literally would not be writing for this website (nor be making a full-time living as a writer overall) if I had not had the opportunity to work with Cory Doctorow at Clarion in the summer of 2013.
Each year, Clarion welcomes 18 students to the UCSD campus for the six-week program, which is taught by six established speculative fiction writers (most of whom went through the program themselves). However, there's been a little bit of a pandemic thing going on these past two years, so the Clarion "Ghost Class" of 2020 has had to push off their workshop experience for 2 years in a row. It's hard enough for most people to take off six weeks from work and life to just focus on the craft of sci-fi and fantasy storytelling; trying to plan around those six weeks in an indefinite holding pattern for two years while also contending with the added costs of COVID living makes things even harder. So the Clarion Ghost Class of 2020 has turned to IndieGoGo to help offset their costs so that they can finally attend the program (with any leftover money going to support future students). From the campaign:
In 2020, we were all accepted to the prestigious six-week Clarion Writing Workshop in San Diego. It was a dream come true for each of us. Then, the pandemic happened. Clarion UCSD was cancelled — two years in a row. In that time, we've changed and lost jobs, cared for and lost family members, graduated and had to start paying back student loans, moved across states, countries, oceans. We've even created at least two entirely new human beings. And because Clarion brought us together that fateful spring day in 2020, we've become friends online through all of it.
And now, finally, Clarion UCSD is back on! We couldn't be more excited. But all that life stuff over the past two years means some of us need extra help to get there. So instead of running a bunch of separate fundraisers at once, we joined forces to raise $1000 toward tuition for each of us. Those who don't need it are pooling our portion for those who do. And if we raise more than we need, we hope to help future writers like us attend in 2023 and beyond.
Aside from the general goodwill of supporting the next generation of science fiction and fantasy writers, the Clarion Ghost Class is offering some pretty cool rewards in exchange for your donation, including play scripts, comic books, manuscript feedback, and even a few subscriptions to the AI writing assistant Sudowrite.
Clarion's tuition barely covers its basic operating costs — but those operating costs can be expensive. I know I couldn't have attended the program without a scholarship in the first place, and I can't imagine having to hold out hope for 2 years that I wouldn't have to dip into whatever tuition money I had saved because of some other unexpected life change. So if you have some extra cash to spare on the future of speculative fiction, please consider giving some to this wonderful cohort of ghosts.
Help 18 sci-fi & fantasy writers go to Clarion [IndieGoGo]