Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet two towering figures of feminist sf, Ursula K. Le Guin and Vonda N. McIntyre

photo by Eileen Gunn
Ursula Le Guin gave me my very first blurb, for Ammonite. She didn't know me from Eve, but I marched up to her at a reading in Atlanta, and said that thing all writers dread: "I've just written my first novel. Will you give give me a blurb?" She ventured that her rule was to read only first novels by new women writers. I said that I qualified. She agree that if that was so she would  read the manuscript. It was. She did. She liked it. She blurbed it very generously.* She also told me that  the Irish names were too much and way too difficult to pronounce. She was right, of course. She often is.

We've had drinks and dinner with Ursula many times since--very often with her great good friend, Vonda McIntyre (who also generously blurbed Ammonite, but that's a whole other story). Both writers are sharp, smart, and funny. Both are passionately committed to a cause dear to my heart: the visibility of women's writing. Ursula, Vonda, Elizabeth A. Lynn, Joanna Russ, James Tiptree Jr., Octavia E. Butler: these are the women who made it possible for writers like me to exist. So I'm thrilled to announce that Ursula is coming to Seattle in October. You can meet her and Vonda as they hold a conversation for a small audience of their friends and readers in a lovely private venue.
They're doing this (again, generously) because they believe in Clarion West, the fabbest non-profit f/sf writers' workshop on the planet--which Vonda co-founded.

Here's how it works: you pay $50 and in return you get half an hour of cocktail chat with fellow audience members, and the stars, accompanied by delicious--I mean it, really good--hors d'oeuvres, and wine or beer or soft drinks**. This is followed by an hour of wicked, honest and unmissable conversation as Vonda interviews Ursula. And then you get to ask questions. Think about that: you get to talk face to face with these embodiments, pioneers, pillars and exemplars of feminist science fiction.***
It will be a great evening. I've been to this venue before: thoroughly accessible, intimate, and comfortable. But not only will you have a fabulous time, you will be helping Clarion West. This event is the kickoff for the beginning of a year-long celebration of the workshop's 30th continuous year of existence. Every single cent of your $50 will benefit this workshop and help it to be around another thirty years.
Here's the official blurb:
Join Ursula K. Le Guin and her interviewer Vonda N. McIntyre on Saturday evening, October 13, as they help us kick off our upcoming 30th Anniversary Year. From 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. we'll celebrate Clarion West's past record of excellence and reflect on our future growth at the Uptown Hideaway, 819 5th Ave N., in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood.
Attendance is limited to 100 people. Tickets are $50 each. All proceeds benefit Clarion West. Register here.
Kelley and I will be there, of course, as supporters of Clarion West (Kelley is the current Board Chair), as friends of Ursula and Vonda, and as grateful fans of the women who blazed the trails that others can now follow. Come join us.

* "A knock-out first novel, with strong likeable characters, a compelling story, and a very interesting take on gender." If that doesn't match the quote on your copy of the book, it might be because the current edition of the book sports a second blurb, taken from Ursula's comments as a juror for the 1993 Tiptree Award. So I'm doubly lucky.
** The food and drinks are donated by generous board members, and they're definitely a cut above the fare usual at this sort of thing. I had a throughly fabulous time at the George R.R. Martin event.
*** You think I'm overstating the case? I'm not. Go read their work. Go do some research on the ways they've supported the community for the last forty years. You'll see it doesn't go nearly far enough.
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