Final Two Days of the Butler Scholarship Drawing

We’re down to the wire in our fundraiser for the Octavia E. Butler scholarship. You only have two days left to buy tickets and win an eReader and/or an autographed copy of the Dark Matter anthology. Why should you support the scholarship? Here are 5 reasons:

1. You can offer students the same opportunity Octavia Butler herself had:
As a young writer, Octavia’s writing instructor (Harlan Ellison) encouraged her to attend Clarion. However, the financial means came from a source much closer to home. Butler’s mother, who worked as a maid, lent her the tuition fee. I remember Octavia telling my Clarion West class that her mother used the money she’d been saving to fix her teeth. I can’t find a record of that on the web, but I did find an interview where she talks about her mother lending the money and that “It really got her back up when other family members criticized me for writing.”
“Neile called me up shortly after I filed my financial aid application and told me that… A person had paid my full tuition. Someone who wished to remain anonymous.
… When that anonymous person paid my tuition, I felt like she or he was saying to me: your voice matters. I believe that enough to give you thousands of dollars. Prove me right.
This is why, ever since its inception, I have been a supporter of the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship. Each year, this fund does for two students of color going to Clarion and Clarion West what that donor did for me, which is to say: your voice matters.”
3. from Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, 2009 Butler Scholar and Clarion West alum:
“I remember telling people about how receiving the Butler Scholarship made me feel like my dreams had been given wings. …[Without it], the chances of me attending Clarion West would have been close to zero.
To me, being given that scholarship was like receiving word that there were people who believed in me and in the stories that I had to tell. There were people who believed that what I had to say was something worth saying and something worth listening to. This knowledge inspires me even now that I am far away from all the beloved people who inspired me and who continue to inspire me. Each time I sit down to write, I think of the people who support the Butler scholarship and there aren’t enough words to say how thankful I am for you. You may not be aware of it, but in my darkest moments, the knowledge that you believed in me has kept me here.”
4. from Claire Light, Clarion West 2003 alum and Carl Brandon Society board member:
“Writers of color [are] disadvantaged on a regular basis, as a regular basis. This happens from inception (writers of color aren’t encouraged as much by teachers, don’t have as many role models who look like us and come from similar backgrounds, don’t have as many opportunities to take after school classes or go to camp, etc.) through education (writers of color aren’t as actively recruited by writing programs, are overlooked or subtly discouraged by teachers and administrators, are often more in need of scholarships and financial support and often have less access to such, etc.) to breaking into the literary world (writers of color aren’t as actively recruited by publishers and editors, may have less access to information about how to break into publishing, may write from a perspective that isn’t recognized or understood by editors, etc.) and then getting their published work recognized (writers of color are often ghettoized into publishing categories that aren’t recognized, writers of color are rarely reviewed at all, much less in the most read and respected publications, writers of color are rarely nominated for prestigious awards, works by writers of color are too rarely assigned in “general” literature classes — as opposed to “ethnic” literature classes, etc.)
… Without programs geared toward encouraging, training, and promoting writers of color, I for one would never have gotten to the point of entering grad school or going to Clarion West, much less completing work and getting it published.”
5. from Jeff Vandermeer, author and Clarion instructor:
“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.”
Tickets are here. Want to skip that and donate directly? Send a check or money order made out to The Carl Brandon Society (with Butler Scholarship Donation in the note) to:
The Carl Brandon Society
P.O. Box 23336
Seattle, WA 98102