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Our Alumni

Since Alpha was founded in 2002, our alumni have published both fiction and nonfiction, won awards, and edited magazines. They have worked for libraries, schools, laboratories, coffee shops, and tech companies large and small. They have pursued professional and academic interests in biology, computer science, publishing, linguistics, economics, advocacy, and more.

Several Alphans have published novels, and Alphan short stories can be found in numerous magazines, including Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, Cicada, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Nature Futures, and Pseudopod. Our list of alumni publications and awards keeps getting longer!

Here’s what Alpha alumni have to say about the workshop:

“From the moment I got my acceptance email to the day I stepped off campus, Alpha was something out of a dream – in the best possible way. As a rising freshman who was quite shy of meeting new people, I was equal parts thrilled and deathly scared of what my experience would be like. Even though every single student and staff member at the workshop was talented to the point of being intimidating, though, I felt like I fit in from the very first night. I had the time of my life writing on campus, going stargazing, eating with my friends, listening to lectures, raiding the snack lounge, and improving my craft. It was the perfect environment to grow confidence in my writing, gain inspiration, and make friends I’ll love forever. Being here was a truly indescribable experience I would recommend to everyone interested in speculative fiction!”
– April Yu

“Alpha is one of few spaces I know that is completely open and accepting, in which I feel safe to express all parts of me. There’s no competitiveness or resentment—just 19 other people who are just as excited about your weird passions as you are.”
– Amanda Grace Shu

“Alpha, for me, was a truly life-changing experience. I got to spend time with amazing people—both staff and students. I learned so much about writing and reading from the wonderful guest authors, the incredible staff, and my absolutely delightful fellow students. I am so glad I don’t have to imagine a world without Alpha and that other young writers will have this resource to go to in the future.”
– Ana Curtis

“On a personal level, I have never been very much of a social person. However, I felt 100% comfortable at Alpha. Everyone shared values and interests similar to my own. In short, Alpha was probably the most fun and engaging experience I have ever had. While Alpha is writing intensive, I believe its primary strength is providing an opportunity for like-minded creative individuals to bond. I processed a vast amount of information during the workshop, and the interaction with the guests, staff and fellow students only helped to increase my understanding and appreciation. Alphans inspire each other in such a unique way—the air is virtually filled to the brim with ideas. The bonding at Alpha is simply extraordinary. You have to feel it to believe it. I consider every single person involved with the workshop an equal, a colleague, and a personal friend.”
– Ian Corse

“The best part for me was meeting writers my age who think the same way I do. I’m an introvert, so usually I dread meeting new people, but everyone at Alpha is there because they live and breathe to write fantasy (or sci-fi or horror) just like I do. There were definitely some Vulcan Mind Meld moments where I found people who totally understood my weirdness. There were also great fangirl (fanboy, fanperson…) moments where it turned out a bunch of people had a crush on the same obscure fictional character.”
– Kate Samuels

“I’ve never been to a place with more like-minded people as Alpha. You start off strangers, but you’re friends within minutes. It’s like finding another family.”
– Molly Herbert

“There’s no accurate way to describe Alpha. I’m a second year this time around, and walking into Franklin again after two years felt like coming home. Just being here fills me with a sense of completeness—never before have I gone somewhere and honestly not wanted to go home, and Alpha has done that for me. Just the atmosphere, the people, everything—I could be here forever. Like, give me the fairy food, and I’ll eat it!”
– Melissa Molloy

“Alpha was simply fantastic in every sense. The staff was wonderful, instructive, hilarious, easygoing and incredibly qualified. The lectures and level of learning were simply phenomenal and I have grown so much as a writer because of this experience. I cannot recommend it highly enough!”
– Nell Highleyman

“At Alpha, we go beyond simply writing stories. Even after guest authors discuss their first publications, the workshop’s hidden gem is a core-group of staffers who have experienced the inner workings of market research, submission, and the fine art of handling rejection. Alpha eased me into fandom, a world I’d never experienced, and introduced me to both writers and editors I’d never hoped to meet before the workshop. The experiences and contacts have been invaluable.”
– Rebecca McNulty

“Alpha was the best two weeks of my life. I could say the highlight of camp came when I spent lunch alone with Tamora Pierce, but I’d be lying. The highlight came when I read one of my stories aloud to the other kids at camp and they applauded me. I feared rejection from the writing community, but these young writers kept asking to read more of my work because they enjoyed it. I’m writing stories I hope to be published one day. I am a horror writer.”
– Julia Petre

“Alpha gives you everything a writer could ask for. It gives you valuable lessons, motivation, confidence, and an entire community’s support. Alpha gives you these things because its people believe in you, and after a while, you start to believe in yourself, too.”
– Alyssa Monera

“Two weeks at Alpha taught me more than two semesters of fiction-writing college classes. It’s intensive, has practical and concrete feedback, and introduces young writers to the publishing world. And of course, the support system post-Alpha is amazing.”
– Lauren Edmonds

“For me, as an awkward teenager Alpha was meeting people who were delightful and geeky, like me. Alpha really paved the way for my comfort with myself today that means I’m not afraid to do things other people think are crazy or embarrassing (like reading in public, complete with funny voices for different characters). Most importantly for folks not directly related to the young people attending Alpha: this workshop changes lives, and produces young writers who are invested in the growth of speculative genres.”
– Eileen Kern

“Without any of the incredible support, guidance, and critique I received from all of the wonderful teachers, authors, and fellow Alphans those years ago, my first professional SF publication in Analog (or anywhere, really) would never have come to fruition.”
– Haris Durrani

“Perhaps the most important thing about Alpha is the fact that the staff and guest writers all treat you like a serious artist, not a stupid kid messing around with matters too big for them to understand. Of course, a lot of us – myself firmly included – really are stupid kids, but that trust is what motivates us to grow beyond that fact and do something with ourselves. That’s important.”
– Rachel Sobel

“Alpha taught me how to write better, taught me how to critique at all. It convinced me to keep writing at a time when I was convinced my writing was worthless. It’s hard to tell people what Alphans mean to me. They’re always asking ‘How long have you known each other? Where did you meet?’ And we have to say, ‘We hung out for a week… three months ago (or three years ago),’ as if that defines how close we are.”
– Rachel Halpern

“Writing, generally, is a solitary activity, and finding kindred spirits can sometimes feel impossible. Alpha gives not only incredible advice, but makes you part of an invaluable network. It’s put me in touch with peers who live anywhere from California to Australia, with alumni older and more experienced than myself, and with bestselling authors. My experience here has been more than I could have expected, and one I will never forget.”
– Sam Franks

“Alpha is a magical place you can go and share your brain with people who will appreciate it, and give you some of their brain in return. When you leave, you will have a patchwork brain filled with such diverse influences and incredible inspiration that you can hardly contain it inside your skull.”
– Lara Donnelly

“One of the strongest aspects of Alpha is the networking that occurs there: Many Alphans build up a network of friends who’ll support them in their writing for years to come. That’s vital. Having a group of peers to critique your work and motivate you to write is how you become a better writer.”
– Isaac White

“Alpha was a great introduction to the speculative fiction community, as well as a new group of weird and delightful friends. I still go back to my notes from Alpha frequently.”
– Shivaun Hoad

“Alpha was an amazing experience that taught me more about writing in ten days than I’ve learned in years! The community is very supportive, the guest writers are full of invaluable knowledge, and the immersive experience is unlike any class or camp I’ve done before. If you want to learn how to improve your writing and launch a career in sci-fi/fantasy, then Alpha will be a great crash course.”
– Kayla Chronister

“Ten sleepless nights made certain events sort of foggy, but I loved the games we played while surrounded by ghosts, and I felt that the best bonding moments were at midnight.”
– Arin Greenwood

“For some reason I have a hard time talking about Alpha, like it’s a magical creature that might stop existing if I speak of it. Alpha is a place of complete acceptance, where you can talk about your opinions, methods, and story ideas, and not ever feel stupid for it. I got to watch my fellow students pace, talk to themselves, dance, seek solitude, pursue companionship, share ideas, put stuffed animals on their heads, and stare off into the distance, all while going through the process of writing. All different methods, but for the same goal. A goal which unites complete strangers and left me with nearly 30 new friends. Then there’s the knowledge and experience of your guest authors and staff members (apparently editing never gets easier. I was sorry too) who are literally there to answer your every question. And after the first day, you’re confident enough to ask them.”
– Anneliese Belmond

“I went to the first and second Alpha workshops. I was the first overseas student, coming over from the UK, and learnt a huge amount both about writing, science fiction and America… the writing experience I have now means I’m planning on going into full-blown writing/editing when I finish, hopefully freelance.”
– Tomas L. Martin

“Going to Alpha is a form of pre-career networking, even though we aren’t aware of it while we’re there, because our peers at Alpha represent the next generation of SF&F authors. We are forming our own voices and perspectives on the genre, and we are eager to share them with the world.”
– Jackie Kay

“Alpha was easily one of the best experiences of my life. My writing improved immeasurably, of course, but that’s not the whole story. Being around so many amazing writers, so many amazing people, changed the way I saw the world to such an extent that I count Alpha as an integral part of my coming of age. Since my acceptance to that first Alpha in 2006, it’s been a fairly chaotic four years, but my friends from Alpha have been there for me, online and off, through it all. I wouldn’t give that up for the world.”
– Sarah Brand