Critical Sirens Update

Due to delays in the renovation of the Hotel Talisa in Vail, Sirens is moving to the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek for our 2017 conference. Attendees will need to make new hotel reservations at the Park Hyatt as soon as possible. Please click here for reservations and other information about this relocation.

2010 Conference Archive
The second year of Sirens focused on the theme of “faeries.” Presentations on female fantasy characters and authors were welcome as well.

Dates

October 7–10, 2010

Location

Vail Cascade Resort and Spa, Vail, Colorado


Conference - Guests of Honor - Schedule - Books and Breakfast - Reading List
Programming - Vetting Board - Call for Proposals


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Guests of Honor

Holly Black spent her early years in a decaying Victorian mansion where her mother fed her a steady diet of ghost stories and books about faeries. Her first book, Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, was an ALA Top Ten Book for Teens and received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. Her second teen novel, Valiant, set in the same world, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a Locus Magazine Recommended Read, and a recipient of the Andre Norton Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Holly also set Ironside, which debuted at #5 on the New York Times Bestseller List, in the same world, and has collaborated with Tony DiTerlizzi to create the vast Spiderwick Chronicles, which include two series, companion works, and a movie. Holly’s most recent work is editing Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd with Cecil Castellucci; creating the graphic Good Neighbors novels with Ted Naifeh; writing numerous short stories; and publishing her newest novel, White Cat. Holly currently lives in a Tudor Revival house in Massachusetts with her husband, Theo, and an ever-expanding collection of books.

For more information on Holly, please visit her website or her blog.

Marie Brennan holds an undergraduate degree in archaeology and folklore from Harvard and is now pursuing a master’s degree in anthropology and folklore at Indiana University, which means that people keep giving her things like degrees and fellowship money for studying stuff that’s useful to her as a fantasy writer. She rather likes this arrangement. Because she’s been in school without interruption since she was five, she doesn’t have the list of odd jobs that a writer should, although she did work one summer pruning Christmas trees with a very large serrated knife, which she feels ought to count for something. Her fiction includes Warrior (previously published as Doppelgänger) and Witch (previously published as Witch and Warrior), as well as her Onyx Court series—Midnight Never Come, In Ashes Lie, and A Star Shall Fall—as well as numerous short stories. She’s been writing fantasy since she was nine or ten years old and blames this fact on Diana Wynne Jones.

For more information on Marie, please visit her website or her blog.

Of Terri Windling, Jane Yolen has said, "If there is a single person at the nexus of fantasy literature, it is Terri Windling—as editor, as writer, as painter, as muse." Terri has published over forty books, winning nine World Fantasy Awards, the Mythopoeic Award, and the Bram Stoker Award, and placing on the short list for the Tiptree Award. As a writer, she has published mythic fiction for adults, young adults, and children, and her essays on myth, folklore, and mythic arts have appeared in magazines, art books, and anthologies, as well as reference volumes such as the Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales. As an editor, Terri creates and edits series for a variety of publishing houses, and helms numerous anthologies for a variety of readers, often created around myth and fairy tale themes, often in collaboration with Ellen Datlow. Terri also founded The Journal of Mythic Arts with Midori Snyder, which won the 2008 World Fantasy Award. Terri’s artwork has appeared in the United States and Europe, including at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art. Born and raised in the United States, Terri now divides her time between Devon, England, and Tucson, Arizona, and is married to the English dramatist and writer Howard Gayton.

For more information on Terri, please visit her website or her blog.


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Schedule

The following files will open in your web browser.

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Books and Breakfast

Friday, October 8, 2010
Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner
The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope
Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen Kushner
War for the Oaks by Emma Bull
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Saturday, October 9, 2010
Ash by Malinda Lo
How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr


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Reading List

The following list will open in your web browser.

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2010 Accepted Programming

PAPERS AND LECTURES

Papers and lectures feature one or more presenters talking about the topic at hand. The specific style and formality of each presentation varies according to the speaker: some may be more formal readings of scholarly papers, with or without time for questions at the end; others may be relatively informal lectures with more audience participation.

Cultural Variant of the Fantasy Mode: A Theoretical Analysis of Selected Mainstream and Ethnic Women's Writings
W.S. Kottiswari

Let us wage war on totality; Let us be witnesses to the unrepresentable; Let us activate the differences. —Jean-François Lyotard
In the lines above, Lyotard seems to directly address fantasy texts which create a space beyond authoritative discourse where the unrepresentable can be expressed. This paper attempts an in-depth theoretical analysis of Fantasy as a mode determined by a number of forces—historical, cultural, political and sexual—which intersect and interact in different ways, by focusing on six women fantasy writers—three (Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, Manjula Padmanabhan) from mainstream culture and three (Gina B. Nahai, Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kingston) from ethnic culture. The first part of the lecture highlights the major differences between the two groups by examining the usage of fantasy as a mode of ideological representation. The second part uses three theoretical modules to these works to place them in the right perspective: Bakhtin's theory of the carnivalesque, postcolonial theories, and postmodern strategies. Hence, Linda Hutcheon's theories on postmodernity are used to highlight the fact that fantasy novels by women of varied cultures are another kind of feminist-inspired postmodern writing that links self-reflexivity and historical fact.

Dangers Posed by the Fairy Godmother: Four Modern Novelists Reinterpret Cinderella
Annette Doblix Klemp
After discussing the fairy godmother as a character popularized in a literary fairy tale by Charles Perrault and in the film version by Walt Disney, the presentation will focus on four modern reinterpretations of "Cinderella": Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix, Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carlson Levine, and Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett. These four novels present the fairy godmother as a fiction advanced to devalue the heroine, an elderly, guilt-ridden resident of New York, a would-be dictator, and a well-intentioned fool. Although their characterizations vary greatly, all four works underscore the dangers of simplistic faith in fairy tale characterizations and themes.

From Bush Fairies to Hanging Rock: The Australian Aboriginal Fae through a European Lens
Samantha Henderson
In forming a Euro-Australian identity distinct from the London Metropole, colonists imposed the structure of their own folkloric traditions upon the mythology of the Aboriginal peoples they were simultaneously studying and destroying. This paper examines early Australian children's literature, Bush legends, and modern narratives that are a part of this self-definition.

Go On, Judge a Book by Its Cover: Reader Expectations and Genre Conventions in Fantasy
Faye Bi
People always say not to judge books by their covers, but it's obvious that everyone does, even if they deny it. Why do some great books have covers that aren't so great? What is the relationship between a book and its cover, and a book and its readers? What role do readers play, especially in cover mishaps like Justine Larbalestier's Liar and Jaclyn Dolamore's Magic under Glass? This presentation will look at a number of fantasy covers and discuss the business and design implications of cover design, especially as they relate to reader expectations and genre conventions.

Holy Barking Spiders! Biology, Education and Feminism in YA Fantasy
Christina Blake
How do young adult fantasy authors use biology to explain traditional fantasy concepts and ideas, such as the genetics and inheritance patterns of vampires or a faery's aversion to iron? How is evolution twisted in order to create a beast capable of serving as a ship, and how can human cells morph into a werewolf's? Referring to a variety of young adult fantasy novels including Justine Larbalestier's Liar, Melissa de la Cruz's Blue Bloods, and Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan, this talk examines their use of biological concepts, the relationships that exist between biology and fantasy, and the strong female characters found in these novels.

Survivor and Heroine: Rape Narrative in Robin McKinley's Deerskin
Katherine Skoretz
This paper explores the recontextualization of rape narrative in McKinley's retold fairy tale. The presentation will apply feminist rape theory to the narrative and evaluate the effects of character roles, plot points, and language choices on the novel's ultimately hopeful redefinition of the fairy tale's rape narrative.

Thomas the Rhymer
Ellen Kushner
Ellen Kushner's novel Thomas the Rhymer (winner of the 1990 Mythopoeic Award and the World Fantasy Award) took the old Anglo-Scots border ballad (collected by Sir Walter Scott and others) and turned it into a novel dense with plotlines and motifs all drawn from other ballads and folklore of the region and of the Celtic countries. In this presentation, Kushner discusses her sources, her creative process, and sings some of the traditional ballads that went into the making of the novel. Questions from the audience will be encouraged.

Tough Chick: Portrayals of Women's Strength and Sexuality in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance
Kayla Lynn Hill
Urban fantasy and paranormal romance feature heroines in traditionally masculine roles with modern notions of female sexuality, but is this new form of agency genuine or a subtle means for men to access women's bodies? This project examines, through a feminist psychological lens, how paranormal romance and urban fantasy's portrayal of women's strength and sexuality—as it both breaks from and reaffirms male dominance—reflects society's norms and impacts readers.


Papers and Lectures - | - Pre-empaneled Papers - | - Panels
Workshops - | - Roundtable Discussions - | - Additional Presentations
Afternoon Classes


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PRE-EMPANELED PAPERS

Pre-empaneled papers refer to a set group of scholarly papers that are presented as a single unit. Like papers and lectures, pre-empaneled papers may be formal presentations of papers, more interactive discussions of a topic, or a combination.

Religious and Folkloric Syncretism in Elizabeth Marie Pope's The Perilous Gard

The Influence of Medieval Christianity on the Evolution of Faery
Chera A. Cole
This paper highlights the relationship faery had with the medieval Christian world, its tensions and attempts at reconciliation of the two worldviews, by considering faery in three medieval texts. Medieval Christianity serves as a backdrop for the continued development of faery, persisting through the witch trials in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and providing the basis for later folklore to place faery in opposition to Christianity.

An Analysis of Syncretism in The Perilous Gard
Kelly Ledbetter
This paper discusses the tension between the spiritual and supernatural in Elizabeth Marie Pope's novel. In the Scottish ballad of "Tam Lin," a young woman saves her beloved from the faeries' teind, thus preventing an inversion of the sacrifice of Christ. Kate Sutton's rescue of Christopher Heron from the faery sacrifice exemplifies this syncretism of religious and folkloric worldviews.


Papers and Lectures - | - Pre-empaneled Papers - | - Panels
Workshops - | - Roundtable Discussions - | - Additional Presentations
Afternoon Classes


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PANELS

Panels feature several speakers discussing a topic before an audience. Panels may take questions or discussion from the audience, but are not required to do so.

Are There Faeries Outside Western Europe? Exploring Fey Folklore from Around the World
Shveta Thakrar, Valerie Frankel, Andrea Horbinski, Cindy Pon
Mention the word "faerie," and everyone knows what that means: a tiny Victorian winged girl devoted to flowers, or an inhumanly beautiful Celtic creature who fears iron and loves mischief in equal measure. Yet this loaded term is often used as an umbrella for all supernatural creatures, regardless of origin. Does it fit? Join us as we delve into the worlds of Persian peris, Polynesian patupaiarehe, Indian apsaras, Iroquois jogah, Australian tukonee, and Japanese kitsune, and encounter fey the world over.

Collaboration and Community
Delia Sherman, Ellen Kushner, Terri Windling, Holly Black
This panel discussion will engage several writers who have worked together over the years in various configurations on projects both creative and editorial. Terri and Ellen have written stories together. Ellen and Holly are co-editing an anthology. Delia has co-edited anthologies with both Ellen and Terri. Ellen and Delia have collaborated on a novel and two short stories. Terri has worked with each of the others as an editor. As members of the same writing group, Holly, Ellen, and Delia have critiqued each other's work and brainstormed new projects together.

Fairies Come to Our Town
Delia Sherman, Shveta Thakrar, Holly Black, Terri Windling, Ellen Kushner, Marie Brennan
This panel will touch on the history of Urban Fantasy, and explore its development and the continuing fascination that writers and readers have with the magic of cities. Discussion will likely bring in the myth and fairy-tale based books that are still being written—among them Holly Black's Tithe and its sequels, Delia Sherman's New York Between series of children's books (Changeling and The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen), Marie Brennan's myth-based Onyx Court books, Elizabeth Bear's Promethean Age series, and Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat books.

Female Friendships in Fantasy
Mette Ivie Harrison, Holly Black, Sherwood Smith, Janni Lee Simner, Rachel Manija Brown
Friendships between girls and women in fantasy are rarely the easy companionships often seen between men and boys. This panel will discuss the different forms of friendships—rivalries, mentor-mentee relationships, sisterhoods, and so on. We will also discuss why fictional relationships between women are so fraught with difficulties and how feminism has affected their real-life translations.

Feminism & Fandom: Celebration & Marginalization
Aja Romano, Leslee Rene Wright, Sarah Rees Brennan, Amy Tenbrink
Are you sick of the oft-debated issue of women participating in fandom? If so, this is not the panel for you! Women have more visibility and control over their roles in fannish spaces than ever—but we all know what comes with great power, and so far, the track record for women empowering women through participation in fandom is a spotty and problematic one. Join us as we dive into the fray and ask the hard questions about women in fandom, intersectionality, and the overlap between fandom, slash, and fantasy.

The Golden Age of YA
Rachel Manija Brown, Malinda Lo, Janni Lee Simner, Sarah Rees Brennan
YA fantasy is not only flourishing, it has become respectable. Adults read it; universities offer courses studying it. Some say this came about when the Harry Potter books forced editors to lift the lid on 60,000-word limits, while others say that it came about when censorship became less trenchant. A third set say that a lot of readers of YA fantasy aren't teenagers at all. This panel will discuss these reasons, and explore what the panelists like to see in YA fantasy and where they see it going.


Papers and Lectures - | - Pre-empaneled Papers - | - Panels
Workshops - | - Roundtable Discussions - | - Additional Presentations
Afternoon Classes


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WORKSHOPS

Workshops are hands-on explorations of a topic. This category can include writing workshops, practice in strategies for teaching and learning, craft-based presentations, and other hands-on and highly interactive topics. Please note that the seating in workshop rooms is very limited to allow the presenters the maximum hands-on teaching time for each attendee, as well as to control costs that the presenters incur in providing materials. Thank you for your understanding.

Brawls, Duels, and the Writing Thereof
Marie Brennan
Even if you don't know how to fight, you can write a good fight scene. We'll go over the elements that make combat exciting, and then discuss how to tailor those elements to the participants and context of the scene. A six-foot-tall male knight defending his honor in a formal duel will behave very differently from a five-foot female servant trying to get away from a mugger! Sample text will be a scene from Dorothy Dunnett's The Game of Kings; participants are encouraged (though not required) to read the novel beforehand, so as to have context for the example.

Publishing Fantasy for Young Adults
Mallory Loehr
Got questions? Mallory Loehr, editor for Tamora Pierce and others, will give a fifteen-minute overview of submitting work to publishers, talk briefly about being an editor, and then open the floor to questions. Please note that she will not accept any manuscripts at the conference.

Revision: Openings
Sherwood Smith
Writers can bring the opening of a story or a novel to this workshop. By hearing someone else read it, writers will get a chance to experience their opening the way a reader does. The workshop will focus on how best to bridge that gap between writer and reader, with a guided discussion on plotting, characterization, voice, and prose.

Writer + Editor
Mallory Loehr, Tamora Pierce
It's not really a competition, but that's how it may seem from the outside. Find out what the editorial process is really like! This eye-opening session will feature Tamora Pierce and her Random House editor, Mallory Loehr, talking (also known as duking it out) about how they have worked together on the Protector of the Small quartet, the Trickster books, and the Beka Cooper trilogy. This will be the real deal with nothing glossed over—it is a tough, exciting, creative, and exhausting process on both ends with the ultimate reward: great books. Questions are very welcome!


Papers and Lectures - | - Pre-empaneled Papers - | - Panels
Workshops - | - Roundtable Discussions - | - Additional Presentations
Afternoon Classes


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ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSIONS

Roundtables are interactive discussions of a topic led by a moderator, and attendees are encouraged to take an active part in the discussion. Please note that seating in roundtable rooms is very limited to allow everyone in the room the opportunity to participate.

Big City, Dark Magic
Sarah Benoot
Urban fantasy started as fantasy set in cities populated with all manner of magical creatures and circumstances. Now, urban fantasy often prompts an image of paranormal activity, vampire romance, and gritty crime. This roundtable will ask questions about the direction of urban fantasy in general, tropes of interest and tropes that should disappear, and women's roles as characters in books ranging from the House of Night series to the Anita Blake novels. Please bring ideas and examples to share.

Faery DNA
Skyler White
After grounding the group in shared ideas and terminology using a short excerpt from Mihaly Cskiszentmihalyi's “The Evolving Self,” we'll explore some of the basic tropes of faeries and their stories to learn from—and possibly tamper with—our literary genetic code. Topics include the changeling and the stolen child; nature sprites; faery beauty, sexuality, and love; and parallel worlds.

Fairytales Retold
Valerie Frankel
Fairytale retellings are filling the shelves, and have been for decades. There are children's classics like Robin McKinley's Beauty and creative adaptations binding pogroms with Rumpelstiltskin or telling the story of AIDS's beginning in The Wild Swans. There's the splendor of Angela Carter and the clever twists of Mercedes Lackey; the humor of Politically Correct Bedtime Stories; and don't forget the violent, sensuous Snow White, Blood Red series no longer sanitized by Victorian sensibilities. Which are the best? And which do we want to see? Come share your recommendations.

The Girl Is Mad: “Crazy” Girls As the Bearers of Bad News
Caitlin Krueger
The idea of the girl so crazy that the only things that she can do are tell the truth and predict the future is not a new idea. Since the days of Homer, these so-called Cassandras have been relegated to the fringes of the very societies that they have the knowledge to protect. From Cordelia Chase to Susan Sto Helit and all those in between, are these girls truly mad, or are they in need of a PR makeover to show off their inner heroine? Join us to discuss your favorite “crazy” girls, the roles they play, and whether being called mad is such a bad thing in the first place.

Love at First Sight
Amy Wilson
This roundtable will discuss beloved fictional characters and explore what makes them so lovable. What makes a character instantly endearing? What makes particular characters stand out? Memorable attributes of favorite characters will be reviewed. Come prepared to discuss your picks.

Queerness and Fairy Tales
Malinda Lo
The word “fairy” has long been used as a marker of homosexuality, both derogatively and more recently as a badge of pride. Feyness, indeed, could almost be synonymous with stereotypes of effeminate gay men. So why are there so few queer fairies in fairy tales? Or are they just closeted? This roundtable will provide an opportunity to discuss queerness in the context of fairy tales, old and new. Participants are invited to share and recommend queer fairy tales they have enjoyed.

What a Wonderful World
Faye Bi
Down the rabbit hole, at the back of the closet or on the way to Mordor, one of the most notable aspects of fantasy is an author's ability to transport the reader to fascinating, beautiful, unnerving or even dystopian worlds. Whether they mirror our own societies, serve as warnings or ideals, or are so absurd and whimsical we can only try to explain why we're drawn to them, worlds are places we can escape to and immerse ourselves in. What makes a world convincing? What systems of magic make sense? How does worldbuilding factor into, say, fanfiction? Come talk about your favorite kingdoms and realms in this roundtable discussion.

Where Have All the “Good” Girls Gone?: Purity, Virginity and Equality in YA Fantasy Literature
Amy Tenbrink
“Once upon a time” used to signify charming princes, chaste kisses, and being swept away to a presumptively ideal world of castles, romance, and children. Somewhere in there, sex must have happened, but never, ever on the page. Today, “once upon a time” can mean anything from marriage consummation to warrior girls with birth control charms, sexually voracious blue-blooded vampires to virgins charged with killing unicorns. Join us to discuss a variety of issues surrounding sex in YA fantasy literature: values, virginity, monogamy, exploration, birth control, “sluts,” and sexual assault. Warning: discussion may contain triggers.


Papers and Lectures - | - Pre-empaneled Papers - | - Panels
Workshops - | - Roundtable Discussions - | - Additional Presentations
Afternoon Classes


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ADDITIONAL PRESENTATIONS

Creating Abstracts and Proposals for Sirens
Sirens Staff
Are you thinking of submitting a program item for next year? Want tips on how to prepare your ideas for consideration by the vetting board? Join Sirens staff for information on how to create a strong abstract for your programming proposal. We'll cover abstract formats for papers, panels, workshops, afternoon classes, and roundtable discussions. Attendees are welcome to drop in for a few minutes to ask a quick question or to use the time for group brainstorming.

Narrate Conferences: Boot Camp
Narrate Conferences Staff
The mission of Narrate Conferences is to provide unique opportunities for scholars, students, professionals and readers to discuss books, television, films, other media and popular culture. We aim to challenge and inspire a wide range of individuals, from the seasoned academic to the literary enthusiast, and our events combine aspects of academic conferences, professional retreats and fan conventions. If you're interested in becoming more involved as a volunteer, we invite you to join us for a presentation on our online staff training course, Boot Camp. Organization officers and past Boot Camp participants will be on hand to discuss their experiences.

Sirens Compendium Submissions (for Presenters)
Sirens Staff
This presentation seeks to demystify the process by which your talk, paper, workshop, or roundtable discussion can become part of a published book. We will discuss formatting issues, editing, bibliographic citation and why it matters, some differences between writing for oral delivery and writing for print, and why we cannot include that image you consider crucial. Please bring your questions, small or large!


Papers and Lectures - | - Pre-empaneled Papers - | - Panels
Workshops - | - Roundtable Discussions - | - Additional Presentations
Afternoon Classes


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AFTERNOON CLASSES

How to Make Your Own Faerie Wings
Manda Lewis, Sarah Benoot
This afternoon class is designed to teach attendees the very basics of faerie wing construction using at least two distinct types of materials: fabric and cellophane. Other materials and types of wings will be discussed to show attendees the variety of options they have when creating costume pieces. Each person will be given a pre-built wire frame as a base to build their individualized wings. Participants are asked to donate a small amount to material costs.

May I Have This Dance?
Rebecca Mintz
You are invited to an introductory class about Scottish Country Dancing, an eighteenth century style of ballroom dancing that is still popular today. This is a fun and social style of group dancing (and it's really hard to step on your partner's toes!). The class will include two ceilidh (informal) dances and one basic ballroom dance. Enthusiastic participation is necessary, but previous experience is not.


Papers and Lectures - | - Pre-empaneled Papers - | - Panels
Workshops - | - Roundtable Discussions - | - Additional Presentations
Afternoon Classes


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Vetting Board

Sharon K. Goetz works for a print-and-digital project that creates critical editions. Too fond of textuality for her own good, she has also written software manuals, taught college writing courses oriented around speculative fiction and King Arthur, and completed a Ph.D. investigating medieval English chronicles amidst their manuscript contexts. Sharon served as Academic Programming Coordinator for Terminus and Phoenix Rising and as Programming Secretary for The Witching Hour; in 2002 she chaired the Medieval Performativity conference that celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the UC Berkeley Beowulf Marathon. Amongst Sharon’s leisure pursuits are reading widely, playing video games, and volunteering as a Strange Horizons copy-editor.

Mallory Clare Loehr is the editor-in-chief of Random House Books for Young Readers, where she has worked for twenty years! She edits everything from six-page board books to six-hundred-page young adult titles, with a particular fondess for fantasy geared toward any age. She is Tamora Pierce’s editor for the Tortall books featuring Kel, Alianne (Aly), and Beka Cooper. Other fantasy/SF authors she has edited include Isobelle Carmody, Esther Friesner, and Lauren McLaughlin. She has also worked on all the Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne—the ongoing best-selling series that has launched many a fantasy reader. Mallory is in publishing because she is a reader first and foremost, although her reading volume has been stunted by the arrival of two children. Once upon a time she read ten books a week, frequented flea markets, and danced Argentine tango late into the night. Now she lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, two small(ish) children, and one cat. In her (little) spare time, she reads as well as organizes libraries at home, at work, and at her son’s school. She is addicted to parentheses and footwear.

Shweta Narayan is a writer, a poet, and a graduate student in linguistics at UC Berkeley. Her academic interests range over cognition, communication, and the arts; her most recent academic publication discusses myth and poetry, and she’s working on a dissertation about the conceptual processes involved in understanding Comics. Shweta’s short fiction has recently appeared in Strange Horizons, GUD, and Shimmer’s Clockwork Jungle Book, and her poetry in Goblin Fruit; she has stories forthcoming in Realms of Fantasy, the Beastly Bride anthology, and the Clockwork Phoenix 3 anthology, as well as poetry forthcoming in Mythic Delirium, Not One of Us, and Jabberwocky. Shweta attended Clarion 2007, for which she received the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship.

Dr. Rhonda Nicol is Instructional Assistant Professor of English at Illinois State University. She enjoys teaching and writing about issues of gender, power, and identity in popular cultural texts and is currently obsessed with young adult fantasy fiction, as evidenced by recent academic works such as “Harry Potter and the Reluctant Reader: Teaching Harry Potter in the College Classroom” (in Terminus: Collected Papers on Harry Potter [2010]), “‘Something That Looks So Fragile’: Holly Black’s and Melissa Marr’s Feminist Faerie Tales” (Sirens 2009 presentation), and an article comparing Twilight’s Bella with Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s title character (in Reading Twilight: Analytical Essays [forthcoming]).

Pat Schwieterman currently teaches at the University of San Francisco, where he occasionally has the opportunity to offer a course on his academic specialty: supernatural beings in medieval literature. He has also taught composition courses at UC Berkeley and, while there, helped to organize conferences on Old and Middle English literature. He’s been an obsessive fan of fantasy literature ever since reading Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea as a teenager, and his other interests include various dead languages, living without a car, and collecting far more folk and indie-rock CDs than he has room for.

Sherwood Smith writes fantasy and science fiction novels and short fiction. Her stories have been finalists for the Nebula and Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards, and her characters, including Meliara, Wren, and Inda, are fantasy favorites. Her recently published works include Crown Duel and its prequel, A Stranger to Command; the four Inda books; Sasharia en Garde: Once a Princess and Twice a Prince; Senrid; the Wren series; and stories in Lace and Blade, Firebirds, and Firebirds Soaring: An Anthology of Original Speculative Fiction. In September 2010 DAW published Coronets and Steel, a Ruritanian romance. In addition to coauthoring the Exordium series with Dave Trowbridge, she has published novels set in others’ worlds, including Earth: Final Conflict, Andromeda, L. Frank Baum’s Oz, and (with Andre Norton) the Solar Queen and Time Traders universes.

Catherine Tosenberger is Assistant Professor of English (Young People’s Texts and Cultures) at the University of Winnipeg. She received her M.A. in English (specializing in folklore) from The Ohio State University in 2001, and her Ph.D. in English (specializing in children’s literature and folklore) from the University of Florida in 2007. Her dissertation was on Harry Potter fanfiction on the Internet, and she has published two articles on that topic; she has also written about the folklore-inspired television series Supernatural. She teaches courses on children’s and YA literature, fairy tales, Disney, and popular culture.


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2010 Call for Proposals

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Sirens
Vail, CO
October 7–10, 2010
A conference on women in fantasy literature presented by Narrate Conferences, Inc.

Sirens, a conference focused on literary contributions by women to the fantasy genre and on fantasy works with prominent female characters, will take place October 7–10, 2010, in Vail, CO. The conference seeks papers, panels, interactive workshops, roundtable discussions, and other presentations suitable for an audience of academics, professionals, educators, librarians, authors, and fantasy readers.

The theme for 2010 is “faeries,” and programming prompted by the theme is encouraged; presenters are not limited to this theme, however, and proposals that address specific aspects of a work or series, works related by other themes, and studies of the fantasy genre across all disciplines are encouraged as well. A non-exhaustive list of sample topics includes literary analyses of novels; studies of genre history; use of fantasy works in schools and libraries for education; examination of related business and legal issues; media and fan studies; craft-based workshops in writing, art, and publishing; and overviews of how fantasy works fit into larger contexts.

Presentation submission to the vetting board is by online system only. No other format or contact will be considered. The online submission system is located at <http://www.sirensconference.org/submissions/>.

The extended deadline for proposals is May 10, 2010, and notices regarding proposals will be sent no later than June 1, 2010. Those requiring an early decision in order to obtain travel funding should contact the programming coordinator at (programming at sirensconference.org).

At the time of proposal submission, presenters must provide an abstract of 300-500 words, a 50-100 word presentation summary for publication, and a presenter biography of no more than 100 words. Those wishing to submit a proposal for an interactive roundtable discussion may submit a brief explanation of a topic and a list of 10-15 sample discussion questions in lieu of a formal abstract; workshop proposals may be formatted as lesson plans. Afternoon classes—interactive demonstrations of interest to fantasy readers that may be less formally related to the theme—may also be presented as lesson plans. Presenters must be available to attend the conference in its entirety; no partial or day registrations will be offered.

Conference papers will be collected for publication at a later date. Presenters must be registered for the conference no later than July 7, 2010. For more information about programming, the review process, suggested timing and structure of presentations, audio-visual availability, and proposal submissions, please see the Sirens website at <http://www.sirensconference.org/programming/>. Questions specifically about programming may be directed to (programming at sirensconference.org), and general conference inquiries may be sent to (help at sirensconference.org).

Sirens is a presentation of Narrate Conferences, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with the mission of organizing academic, literary, and exploratory educational conferences that address themes of interest to scholars, educators, students, professionals, and readers. For inquiries about Narrate Conferences, Inc., please write to (info at narrateconferences.org).

Download the Call for Proposals
Call for Proposals


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Conference - Guests of Honor - Schedule - Books and Breakfast - Reading List
Programming - Vetting Board - Call for Proposals

Presented by Narrate Conferences, Inc.
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