What we’ve been getting up to

We just filed our annual tax return with the IRS, which meant that we reviewed what we’ve done recently. We want our supporters to know at least as much about that as the IRS does, so here goes.

2020 was a pivot year for most people and organizations, as we all struggled to deal with the sudden changes required by the pandemic and by the public response to the killing of George Floyd. Our response to the pandemic was to switch from in-person events to online events. The Carl Brandon Society presented five programs online during 2020. Our world became bigger, not smaller, even as we all stayed inside. Average attendance at these online panels was 45, with 88 attendees at the most popular. The panels continue to be available on YouTube.

The response to the killing of George Floyd included an outpouring of donations to organizations that grapple with issues of race. Since the Carl Brandon Society’s mission is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction, we were among the organizations that received much larger donations than usual, which has positioned us to be able to serve our community in more ways. We are currently working on how best to use these resources, both short-term and long-term.

2021 was a growing year, building on 2020’s success. We presented two online panels similar to those held in 2020. In addition, we held two online town halls to gather ideas from our community about what we should do next, attended by writers and editors of color from countries worldwide to give us direction about what resources of those that we can provide are most needed now. In 2022, we will begin holding workshops by and for writers and editors of color developed in response to the 2021 town halls.

In July, 2021, we sponsored a party/gathering space for BIPoC at CONvergence, an annual convention for fans of science fiction and fantasy in Minneapolis. It was our only in-person event during the pandemic so far.

In 2020, Akwaeke Emezi received the 2019 Parallax Award for a work of speculative fiction created by a self-identified person of color for their novel Pet. Michele Tracy Berger received the 2019 Kindred Award for a work of speculative fiction dealing with issues of race and ethnicity for her story “Doll Seed.” Going forward, we have expanded our Kindred and Parallax awards to include separate awards for short fiction and novels, with a $1000 honorarium for each of the four awards. As with other organizations, the pandemic has interfered with some of our normal operations. We expect to name recipients of these awards for works published in 2020 and 2021 by year-end 2022.

In 2020 and 2021, because of the pandemic, neither Clarion in San Diego nor Clarion West in Seattle held an in-person workshop. In 2021, Clarion West held their six-week summer workshop online rather than in person, while Clarion in San Diego deferred for another year. We granted two Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarships to students participating in the online Clarion West workshop — double the number we’re committed to granting annually. For 2022, both workshops are back to in-person attendance, with Clarion West having a mix of students originally admitted in 2020 and those admitted this year, and Clarion in San Diego having only those students admitted in 2020. We have granted a total of three Butler scholarships for these 2022 in-person six-week summer workshops.

We’re serving as the fiscal sponsor for Hydra House’s Ex Marginalia project, a book of essays about writing by authors who will not and cannot remain in the margins. Scheduled for publication in Fall/Winter 2022, the nonfiction collection is edited by multiple award-nominated author, editor, and 2014 Octavia E. Butler scholar Chinelo Onwualu.

We’re excited about what we’ve been able to accomplish in the past few years, and we look forward to doing more. We especially look forward to being able to get together again in person, while keeping on with the remote events that allow for more access to more members of our community.

K. Tempest Bradford, Maurice Broaddus, Candra K. Gill, Jaymee Goh, Kate Schaefer, Nisi Shawl, and Yang-Yang Wang
The Carl Brandon Society Steering Committee

PS: Thanks again for all you’ve done to make this possible! Please consider continuing to support our work by making a tax-deductible donation at carlbrandon.org/donate/.

Fundraising Tally, Big Thanks, And The Winners of the Butler Scholarship eReader Drawing

Last night the Drawing came to a close and now it’s time to announce the winners of the 5 eReaders and the autographed Dark Matter anthology. But first, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who made this fundraiser successful.

We raised $4,520 from tickets sales and so far $490 in direct donations since the drawing began. We haven’t even calculated all of the donations sent in via mail yet! Right now the total stands at $5,010, which is simply amazing. Our original goal was just $1,000. Once we blew past that in the first 4 days, we set our sights on raising $3,200, the price of a Clarion West tuition. Once we met that goal, our next was to raise $4,950, enough for a tuition to Clarion Diego. In the last 30 hours of the drawing we sold 799 tickets and blew past that goal, too. Thanks to those of you who bought tickets and donated we were able to exceed our goals time and again. We appreciate your participation and generosity so much. Thank you.

Next, a huge, huge thank you to Jenn Brissett. Without her we never would have been able to pull this drawing off. She did all the technical wizardry on the backend and when problems arose (and they did… oh they did) she worked hard to fix them and keep the drawing going. All while doing her graduate work and under major time crunches. Jenn is nothing short of an angel, and we all so, so appreciate her hard work.

Thanks to the other folks behind the scenes who helped put this whole thing together: Candra Gill, who took care of all the other technical needs surrounding the CBS website plus was smart about everything; Nisi Shawl, Claire Light and Kate Schaefer, who gave support, advice, guidance, and time as we rushed to make this whole thing a reality; Pablo Defendini and Nivair Gabriel who volunteered to convert stories into ePub files to make them compatible with the eReaders (for which I am eternally grateful); Matt Kressel whose work on the KGB Raffle inspired us to try it here and who offered advice and technical know-how. And thanks to the members of the Carl Brandon Society board who gave the green light to begin with.

I can never convey enough gratitude to the companies that donated the technology. Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Spring Design all jumped at the chance to be a part of this fundraiser. Thanks for making such wonderful, tempting eReaders and for supporting literature in the digital age.

A big, big thank you to all of the writers and publishers who sent us fiction, poetry and essays to include with the eReaders. The full list is here. The eReaders were a big draw, of course, but your donations added an extra layer of awesome to the prizes.

Everyone who spread the word about this online, on social networks, via blogs, or by word of mouth: thank you.

And now, here are the winners:

The winner of the Spring Design Alex eReader is: Kang-Yun Tsai
The winners of the Barnes & Noble Nook are: David Linder and Joshua Kidd
The winners of the Kobo Wireless Reader are: Jessica Nasca and Molly Aplet
The winner of the autographed copy of the Dark Matter anthology is: Deanne Fountaine
Congratulations to all of you! If we haven’t contacted you directly yet, we will very soon.

Last Day To Win An eReader! To Tempt You, Some Surprises…

It’s here! The final day of the eReader drawing to support the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund. Less than 12 hours to buy tickets and win a Barnes & Noble Nook, a Kobo Wireless Reader, or an Alex eReader. And, of course, there’s still an autographed Dark Matter up for grabs.

We’ve spent the last week urging you to buy tickets and show your support, and many of you already have. As we’re in the final stretch, we’re hoping for one last surge of ticket buying. To that end, we have some surprises for you.
First, we’re adding one more short story to the mix by Nalo Hopkinson! The story has not yet been determined, but it’s Nalo. I mean, what more could you want?
Not enough? Okay then, we’re also throwing in a copy of Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories, edited(and donated) by JoSelle Vanderhooft. This won’t even be out in stores until January. You will get an advanced peak at this steamy goodness. But only if you buy tickets.
And finally, if eReaders don’t move you, if free fiction and poetry and essays don’t move you, if autographed first editions don’t move you, maybe this will:
…what the Octavia E. Butler Scholarship [meant] to me… it meant everything.
…I deeply value my Clarion a-ha moments, but realistically speaking, I might have been willing to take out a loan for Clarion.
It was having that trust while I was there, and after. And needing to live up to it.
That gave me both the cluebat that I should stand for things I care about, and the confidence to do so when it scared the shit out of me. …The scholarship, and Butler’s writing, both helped me become someone other than the sit down and shut up outsider.
…the POC at the last few Clarions have knocked my socks off, and the Butler scholarship helps some of us become people who’ll knock your socks off.