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Last day for drawing to benefit Octavia Butler scholarship!

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The Carl Brandon Society is doing a fundraiser prize drawing to benefit their Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund. Every year, the fund provides money to send two writers of color to the Clarion speculative-fiction writing workshops.

And today is the last day to buy tickets for the drawing! (In fact, the last few hours: ticket sales stop at midnight US East-coast time tonight, less than nine hours from now.) So if you already know you want to participate, then follow that link and buy tickets; don't waste time reading the rest of my entry here.

But if you're not sure, here's some more info that may help convince you:

Tickets for the drawing cost only $1 each! Most of the prizes in the drawing are eBook readers loaded with speculative books, stories, and essays by writers like N. K. Jemisin, Nisi Shawl, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Shweta Narayan, and Saladin Ahmed. (To be specific: sixteen stories, four novels, seven anthologies and collections, two magazine issues, and an essay.) And, just added today, a story by Nalo Hopkinson! There are three different kinds of eBook readers as prizes: the Alex, the Nook, and the Kobo. You buy tickets separately for each type.

There's also a non-electronic prize: a copy of Sheree Thomas's excellent African-diaspora anthology Dark Matter, signed by several of the contributors.

If you haven't heard of the Butler scholarship before, or don't know why it's important, take a look at these brief pieces by writers who've received the scholarship, explaining how important it was to them:

I've been delighted to see a bunch of new writers of color in the speculative fiction world lately. But we need more, and one way to help that to happen is to help send new writers of color to the Clarion workshops.

And this way, you get to help out and get the chance of winning these prizes. Even if you're not particularly longing for an eBook reader, that's an impressive list of books and stories that come preloaded on them.

And of course if you have no interest in eBook readers and you already own Dark Matter, you can still donate to support the scholarship.

(Side note: Not only does the scholarship help writers of color, but the presence of more writers of color in the workshops also has the side benefit of helping the white writers to be more aware of what the world might be like from various points of view. Shweta wrote a wonderful essay a couple of years ago about being inspired by the scholarship to speak up during Clarion, to not silence herself. I certainly don't mean to say that the Butler scholars ought to feel obliged to educate their classmates, nor that the goal of the scholarship should be to educate white writers; the goal is and should be to help writers of color. But I think the other workshop participants potentially have a lot to gain as well (again, as a side benefit to the main goal), and I think all of these factors improve the whole field of sf, including making sf more welcoming to readers of color.)

. . . I've been meaning to post about this drawing for at least a week, but I keep neglecting to. I'm sorry about that. Many thanks to Tempest and others for all the publicity they've been doing, and to the above writers (and others) for writing about the scholarship, and to everyone involved in making this fundraiser (and the scholarship itself) happen.

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