Clarion SciFi & Fantasy Writing Workshop

Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Workshop prepares for its 37th year. East Lansing, Michigan from June 12 through July 22, 2005.


The Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Workshop is the best known and most highly regarded science fiction writing workshop in the country. Now in its thirty-seventh year, the Clarion Workshop is discussed frequently in science fiction publications and has national and international visibility. As Kim Stanley Robinson says, Clarion is "an integral part of the American science fiction community."

Clarion was founded by Robin Scott Wilson in 1968 at Clarion State College (now Clarion University) in Pennsylvania. Wilson built his system partly on the tradition of mutual criticism in use at the Milford Science Fiction Writers' Conference, a workshop for professional SF writers. Damon Knight and Kate Wilhelm, both directors of the Milford Conference, taught together at Clarion for 27 years.

Over one third of graduates have published since leaving Clarion. They include Ed Bryant, Octavia Butler, Bob Crais, George Alec Effinger, Nalo Hopkinson, James Patrick Kelly, Vonda McIntyre, Kim Stanley Robinson, Martha Soukup, Kelly Link, and Bruce Sterling.

For more information regarding Clarion Grads check out the "Awards and Nominations" and the "Clarion Recent Publications" listings in recent Newsletters. Also see the various Clarion Reports on the Links page or alum sites listed in the Alumni Directory.


Clarion attracts some of the most highly acclaimed science fiction and fantasy authors as teaching writers. This summer the Writers-in-Residence will be Cory Doctorow, Charles Coleman Finlay, Gwyneth Jones, and Joan Vinge, with Leslie What and Walter Jon Williams as the Anchor team; the Guest Editor will be announced at a later date. Individual biographies will be available soon on the 2005 Writers page.


Each summer, a small number of apprentice writers enroll for six weeks of intensive training. All selected have the potential for highly successful writing careers, with some already published. Most come from the United States, while a few are from other countries. They range in age from those in their late teens to those in mid-career, and represent a wide variety of academic and working backgrounds. All students are usually housed in close quarters where the atmosphere is conducive to helping one another and providing mutual support. It is mandatory for students to reside in Clarion housing. Applications are encouraged from minorities, handicappers, and women; facilities are handicapper accessible.

For more information on Housing.


Each week for the first four weeks a different professional writer conducts the workshop; the last two weeks are run by a two-writer anchor team. The resident writers live nearby and are continuously available. Mornings are devoted to critiquing manuscripts in a workshop setting; afternoons, evenings, and weekends are devoted to individual writing, conferences with the writer-in-residence, social activities and completing class assignments. The Guest Editor atends for a week, overlapping with two of the writers-in-residence stints. Tom Disch once said that the "six weeks of Clarion are the literary equivalent of boot camp." It is an intensive experience.

As of now, the course fee (tuition and workshop fees) will be approximately $1500.00 for both Michigan residents and non-residents. Participants will be enrolled as Life-Long Education students and will receive four undergraduate semester credits and a transcript from MSU. There will be an additional housing charge of $1000. A $100 non-refundable enrollment fee is required upon acceptance into the Workshop. Course fees should be in by May 1st; housing charges will be due upon arrival at Clarion. Those accepted into Clarion will be given instructions and more information regarding when fees are due.


Admission to the workshop is based upon the promise of the applicant's writing at its present stage. For this assessment we would like two complete short stories, each between ten and twenty-five pages long, which you feel represent your best work to date. Applications are judged by a reviewer panel comprised of the current and previous years' Anchor Teams, as well as the Director.

Although skills acquired or developed at Clarion would be useful in other kinds of writing, Clarion is a short story writing workshop. Please do not send screenplays, poetry, or portions of a novel. If you decide to apply, send 1) the short story manuscripts (double-spaced, on 8 � by 11 paper, with numbered pages and a word count for each), 2) the completed application form, and 3) a $25.00 application processing fee. Materials must be received by April 1, 2005. Decisions on individual applications will be made as soon as possible after the receipt of complete application materials (ideally within eight weeks) and all decisions on acceptance will be made no later than the first of May. International applicants may choose to pay all fees upon arrival (to avoid bank charges) if they can provide a major credit card number for security.


A number of scholarships and some financial assistance money will be available. You may apply for this by indicating "yes" in the proper space on the application form. Scholarship aid will be based on merit. Financial assistance will be based on financial need. Please return the Financial Assistance Questionnaire attached if you wish to be considered for financial assistance and/or any scholarships that may be available. Please note that Clarion support in the form of either scholarship or financial assistance comes primarily from external donor funds and is limited. Because students admitted to the LLE program are not considered degree candidates, they are not eligible for "financial aid" (such as State or Federal), including student loans. Participants may be eligible for the Hope Scholarship Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit, click here to learn more. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Lister Matheson, the Director, or Mary Sheridan, the coordinator for Clarion 2005. Leave a message at (517) 355-9598, fax (517) 353-4765, e-mail or, or write to the address below.


Lister M. Matheson
Director, Clarion 2005
c/o Mary Sheridan
112 Olds Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1047