Clarion West 1997

Clarion West is a science fiction and fantasy writer's workshop held every year in Seattle, Washington. For six weeks, aspiring writers work with award-winning authors and editors, learning more about their craft. They live together in a college dorm, and meet every morning for several hours of class. Then they go back to the dorm and write.

Both Clarion West, and its sister-workshop, Clarion (held in Michigan), are often called boot camp for writers. Those words just barely define the experience. For six weeks, all the students do is write, read each other's writing, and critique. Sleep is optional! Fortunately, Clarion West is held in Seattle, the coffee motherlode for the United States.

I attended Clarion West in 1997. The experienced overwhelmed me to a degree that I would never have imagined. I wrote six stories—two of which I've sold—and averaged five hours of sleep a night. And I met a new family: the other sixteen writers in my class.

I expected to work hard, though I didn't know I could still stay up all night and get by on so little sleep—All Praise to the God of Caffeine! But I never expected to become so connected to my fellow students. We're a typical family: we don't all like each other, and we're each closer to some people than others. Some of us have had success since the workshop; others may never write another story, much less sell one. But we're still family, still connected.

The Clarion West Class of 1997

Photo of the Clarion West Class of 1997
CW 97 with instructor Samuel R. "Chip" Delany. Seated on floor: Bob Kruger, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Barbara Billauer, Therese Pieczynski. Seated on chairs: Kate Major, C.J. Silverio, Leah Cutter, Chip Delany, Naomi Rivkis. Standing: John Gerner, Rick Wadholm, Bill Burkett, Alex Lamb, Robert Wexler, Nancy Jane Moore, Rob Furey, Susan Jett, Clay Evans.

For more information, visit the Clarion West website.

Click here to return to Nancy Jane Moore's biography.