Arrival Premiere, with Writer Ted Chiang
November 7, 2016
Arrival is the the story of what happens when mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe. An elite team, led by expert linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams), is brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers—and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and, quite possibly, humanity.
Ted Chiang is a graduate and, later, instructor in the renowned Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop, organized at UCSD by the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination. Known for his exacting craftsmanship in writing profound and psychologically rich science fiction, Chiang this year alone has the honor of having a story ("The Great Silence") in both the Best American Short Stories 2016 and Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016, after it was originally written for a collaboration with the visual artists Allora & Calzadilla.
The premiere of the film is a fundraiser to support the operation of the Clarion Workshop, including an extensive scholarship program to assist students financially who would otherwise be unable to attend. Founded in 1968, Clarion is the oldest and most highly regarded training ground for new science fiction and fantasy authors. Among the forms of financial support are the Leonard Pung Scholarship, for a writer over the age of 40, and the Octavia Butler Scholarship, sponsored by the Carl Brandon Society, for writers of color.
Each summer for six weeks, top established authors descend on La Jolla to provide guidance and feedback to eighteen students, selected from hundreds of applicants for their promise. These students have gone on to win numerous Nebula and Hugo awards, among other honors, and notable alumni include Kelly Link, Octavia Butler, Robert Crais, Cory Doctorow, Nalo Hopkinson, and Bruce Sterling. Since 2007, Clarion Workshop has been hosted at UC San Diego, which itself boasts a record of producing more science fiction authors than almost any other university, among them Kim Stanley Robinson (also a Clarion alum and instructor) and David Brin.