Apologies for yet another post today, but the Carl Brandon Society’s fundraiser for the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship ends on Monday. The scholarship “sends two emerging writers of color” to the SF/F workshops Clarion West and Clarion San Diego each year.
Relevant to that fundraiser, which involves entering a raffle for e-readers loaded with cool stories and poems, a writer I much admire, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz posted a blog entry about how much receiving the scholarship meant to her. Go check it out to get a sense how essential this scholarship is for those who receive it.
The Clarion workshop is important for reasons that go beyond the value of in-depth workshopping from six different experienced instructors and talks by other guests that provide talented beginners with the tools to improve their writing.
It is also important career-wise because many of the instructors can be of use in shortening the path to publication through sharing of contacts, resources, and leverage. Many instructors also aren’t just writers but editors, which is also of use. In addition, the connect to and comraderie with fellow students will, over time, mean more than being part of a community, since many Clarion students go on to have full-on writing careers.
Therefore, in short Clarion is partially about access, and lack of access for talented writers due to monetary concerns is something that diminishes the field and makes it even harder for talent to win out.
As I’ve said elsewhere, I know from personal experience and observation as an instructor at Clarion—and I know Ann would agree—that this scholarship truly makes it possible for immensely talented writers to have access to Clarion—writers who otherwise simply would not be able to attend. That makes it essential in my book.
If the raffle isn’t for you, but you still want to contribute to the scholarship fund, you can send a check made out to “The Carl Brandon Society” to:
The Carl Brandon Society
P.O. Box 23336
Seattle, WA 98102
To set an example, I’ve just written a check for $100. (As a full-time writer with little margin for error, that’s a significant contribution.)