“The Ghost of Worshops Past: How Communism, Conservatism, and the Cold War still molds our path into SFF Writing”

At, S.L. Huang writes about the history of writing workshops and its influence on SF/F workshops and writing today.

“To those outside the industry, the name “Clarion” might not have much meaning. But to those with aspirations of being a professional SFF author—of joining those like Gaiman—workshops like Clarion can have a venerated status. The Clarion Writers’ Workshop boasts a stunning roster of alumni, including Kim Stanley Robinson, Ted Chiang, Octavia Butler, and Cory Doctorow—many of whom have returned to teach, creating a star-studded faculty that’s been joined by the likes of Harlan Ellison and George R.R. Martin.

SFF has a number of these well-regarded writing workshops, of which Clarion and the similar but separately-run Clarion West are the oldest. Others include Odyssey, Viable Paradise, Taos Toolbox, and Futurescapes.  All are audition-only with competitive application processes; all are a feather in a writer’s cap for queries or cover letters. Though certainly not the only way to succeed as a SFF writer, they are seen as a path toward becoming a professional.”

Read more here.

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