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Clarion South stocktake

It's been two years since the last Clarion South writers' bootcamp took place in Brisbane. It was about this time (February to be exact) that we finished the 6 week slog.

Essentially, it is a writing 'camp' that is arranged weekly with a live-in tutor who guides the group through daily critiquing sessions of each others' work. Each participant produces a new story per week and it is picked apart systematically in an attempt to improve it, celebrate it and give it and the writer the best chance at producing publishable work.

It is a confronting process for those new to it all and those who lack skin the thickness of leather. My writing definitely came out of it stronger, though I'm not sure I did.

The next Clarion South was likely to happen next year in 2012, but the issue of an affordable venue has been a problem for some time and has not yet been resolved, despite the best and selfless efforts of the convenors – this message on the clarion south site:

Thanks for your patience with us.

As you may know Clarion South had to change venues at short notice in 2009 following the sale of the Griffith University accommodation facilities to a private provider. The new venue was out of our price range, but with some fundraising help from the community we were able to deliver the 2009 workshop as originally planned.

Since then we’ve been looking to find a new permanent home for the workshop. The workshop is important to us and we know there are lots of writers keen to hear about its future.

While we had been hoping to be in a position to run Clarion South again in 2012, we’ve been unable to find a suitable venue for the workshop. It’s important to us that the cost of any workshop we run remains within financial reach of most writers.

Unfortunately we’ve been unable to lock in a viable venue option that would allow us to run the workshop at an acceptable cost to writers. The cheapest option would still more than double tuition fees.

So, with regret, we must tell you that at this stage the workshop is on hold indefinitely.

We know many of you will be disappointed, and so are we. Clarion South has been a great experience for us and we’re proud of the great writers in Australia and overseas that the workshop has helped.

In the meantime we will continue to look for a venue that enables to run the workshop in the format for which it has become famous. We will alsoinvestigate other configurations and opportunities that might give the workshop a future in Australia.

Thank you again for waiting patiently for this update. We have greatly appreciated the support of the speculative fiction community around the

This is a very real shame. In the context of awards, achievements and recognition, it is not small feat that CS09 has produced multiple award nominees for such prestigious events as the Aurealis Awards and the Ditmars.

Without Clarion South, I would not have the connection to the writing community that I have now. I would not be as good a writer as I am now. I would not believe in my writing as much as I do now. I’m not sure how to put a price on such awareness, and I’ll always remember Clarion South 2009 as my crucible.

More posts about Clarion South 2009, my experiences, and its alumni to follow.

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Reader Comments (2)

Is there anything similar for workshopping novels in Australia?

Louise Curtis

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLouise Curtis

Unfortunately no, Louise. Not as far as I am aware. Short stories are the ideal format for these types of things for obvious reasons. Prior to attending Clarion South I hadnt written a short story since high school - I submitted a portion of a novel-in-progress.

Actually, it occurs to me that there is something relevant for novels - the Queensland Writers' Centre holds "Year of the Novel" workshops. Have a look at the structure of that sort of thing. Depending on where you live you might try to contact your local Writers' organisation.

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBen

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