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Sirens Newsletter – Volume 10, Issue 9 (August 2018)

In this issue:

 

GUEST OF HONOR: VIOLET KUPERSMITH

We’re interviewing each of our 2018 Guests of Honor about their inspirations, influences, and craft, as well as the role of women in fantasy literature, as befits their corresponding reunion theme.

You won’t want to miss our illuminating interview with Violet Kupersmith about her family’s experiences and legacy, ghosts, folklore, the Vietnam War, and genre: “In so many ways, the Ghost is the perfect metaphor for the immigrant: both are liminal beings, hovering between worlds, and here, both are feared and other-ed. And I think that there’s something fitting about using a literary genre which is often unfairly dismissed as silly or lowbrow to tell stories about a marginalized people. Each is able to empower the other.”

Also, our feature on Violet includes Alyssa Collins’s review of Violet’s collection of short stories, The Frangipani Hotel, our Book Friends feature, in which we suggest books that would pair well with Violet’s work, and finally, a list of hauntings books selected by Violet herself.

 

MEET THE 2018 SIRENS PROFESSIONAL SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

Two educators, a librarian, and a bookseller chat jobs, books, and what they’re looking forward to at Sirens. Meet Traci-Anne Canada, Nia Davenport, Alexandra Pratt, and Sami Thomason, this year’s—and our first ever—professional scholarship recipients!

 

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE AND PROGRAMMING SUPPORT

The conference schedule for 2018 is live! But are you ready to make your decisions about what to attend? Click here to check it out.

If you see a presentation you particularly love or a presenter you want to support, there’s still time to sponsor our programming sessions; the cost is $35 per presentation. Thank you again for all your support!

 

TICKETS UPDATE

At this time, the Sirens Supper is sold out. Please check our Twitter for updates from attendees who may want to transfer their tickets.

The Sirens Studio currently has 5 spots remaining. Learn more about our pre-conference Sirens Studio here.

Sirens also offers a $115 round-trip shuttle from Denver International Airport to Beaver Creek, significantly cheaper than commercial shuttles which can cost upwards of $200. We encourage you to buy your ticket soon, even if you don’t have flights yet!

Purchase Tickets

 

HOTEL RESERVATIONS

We are quite close to filling our block at the Park Hyatt for the third time. If you have not yet made your hotel reservation, please do so as soon as possible. We have only a few rooms left on the main nights of Sirens, and on October 1, the hotel will release all remaining rooms. Any reservations made after that date will not receive the Sirens discount. For more instructions on how to make your reservation, please visit our Hotel page.

 

WHERE ARE THEY NOW: GUESTS OF HONOR

To celebrate our conference theme of reunion, we continue to reflect on past conferences and check in with our past Guests of Honor to see what they’ve been up to these days. In 2012, our theme was tales retold, and our Guests of Honor were Nalo Hopkinson and Malinda Lo. Read the full post.

2013 was our first reunion year, revisiting warriors, faeries, monsters, and tales retold; our Guests of Honor were Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Ellen Kushner, and Robin LaFevers. (Robin is returning to Sirens this year!) Read the full post.

In 2014, our theme was hauntings, and our Guests of Honor were Kendare Blake, Rosemary Clement, and Andrea Hairston. (Rosemary is returning to Sirens this year!) Read the full post.

 

PERSONALIZED BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Registered attendees, watch your inboxes for the August attendee news email! For the second time, Sirens co-founder Amy Tenbrink, who has read over a thousand fantasy books by women and nonbinary authors, will be offering personalized book recommendations—but only to the first 50 people to sign up!

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB

The Book of Joan

Check out Sirens co-founder Amy Tenbrink’s rumination on reader, writer, and Lidia Yuknavich’s The Book of Joan, which she found “largely experimental, vaguely feminist, with thinly explained worldbuilding, a non-traditional narrative structure, shifting points of view… and tenuous timelines.” Full review on the blog and on Goodreads.

 

READ ALONG WITH FAYE

This month, Faye read Mary Rickert’s The Memory Garden as she surges to finish the 2018 Sirens Reading Challenge! She enjoyed the book’s &ldquo’poetic language, plant symbolism, strong female relationships, rich descriptions of food, and subtle hints of magic,” but there is still more to unpack. Read her full review on the blog and on Goodreads.

 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD

Friend of Sirens Casey Blair wants to sing the praises of Somaiya Daud’s Mirage from the rooftops! “I love its rich setting, a fantasy Morocco-inspired culture in a world with intergalactic travel. I love how deeply that culture suffuses every part of the story: the prose woven through with poetry, the complicated female friendships and family relationships…” Read her full review here.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT …


Questions? Concerns? Please email general queries to (help at sirensconference.org) and questions about programming to (programming at sirensconference.org).

 

Spotlight on the 2018 Sirens Professional Scholarship Recipients

Librarians, educators, and publishing professionals so often provide exceptional services to book-loving communities—and are, especially at the beginning of their careers or when working for underserved populations, so often paid poorly for their efforts. Their work—and their voices—are critically important to our conversations. In 2018, Sirens awarded its first ever professional scholarships to a bookseller, two educators, and a librarian. They were nice enough to answer a few questions from us; get to know them below!

This year’s recipients:

  • Traci-Anne Canada, Educator, Martin Luther King Jr. High School
  • Nia Davenport, Educator, Mountain View High School
  • Alexandra Pratt, Reference Librarian, Vineyard Haven Public Library
  • Sami Thomason, Bookseller, Square Books Jr.

 

Tell us a little about what you do.

TRACI-ANNE: I am a high school literature teacher. While most of my time is spent teaching American and world literature, I also run the yearbook and teach a journalism course.

NIA: I teach Biology and English at the high school level. In my English classes, I build a curriculum around diverse science fiction and fantasy that allows all young people to see themselves positively reflected in the novels they read in school, which is vital.

ALEXANDRA: For me, being a librarian is all about helping people. I love working in libraries, in a space that is open to all. Libraries are all about building community; through books, events, education and programs and I love what I get to do for and with my community members every day.

SAMI: I wear a lot of hats, but my official titles are social media coordinator, event buyer, and Teen’s First curator. I plan all the social media posts, buy books for any events we hold, and pick and distribute the book for our teen book box we started this year! I also run two advisory boards, one for kids 10–13 and one for 13+, where we read ARCs (advance reader’s copies), discuss upcoming releases and books they’ve read in school, and practice our review writing skills.

 

How do you work with fantasy books by women and nonbinary authors?

TRACI-ANNE: In general, I do whatever I can to get my kids to read at all, but I often try to steer them to books with lesser represented demographics. The majority of my students that read are girls, so I prefer giving them recommendations where they can see themselves as the heroes of stories. This helps promote confidence within themselves.

NIA: Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in The Ashes, Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows, V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, and Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation are all books that I have taught in my classroom. I use these books to engage my students in explorations and discussions on misogyny, racism, and systematic oppression.

ALEXANDRA: I am part of the team that does the collection development at my library, so I am excited to be able to buy and promote works by people of color, women and LGTBQI+ writers. I love sharing my favorite writers and books with others. I am the resident sci-fi/fantasy and graphic novel fan in my library, so I get to give recommendations to patrons, which is always a blast—getting others excited about the books I love.

SAMI: I often use Square Books, Jr.’s social media to promote fantasy titles by women/genderqueer authors, as well as submitting a lot of Edelweiss reviews and IndieNext submissions. I’ve encouraged my advisory boards to pick these titles as well; we just read Claire Legrand’s Furyborn, which was also our inaugural Teen’s First pick. Living in the South can make it difficult to openly support the LGBTQ+ community without backlash, but it’s my personal goal to make a safe space within our store for anyone who wants to read and to encourage our regulars to diversify their reading. My personal social media is basically just more book blurbs and I mostly talk about diverse female driven fantasy since it’s my favorite genre.

 

What are you most excited about for this year’s Sirens?

TRACI-ANNE: As with every year, I am excited to meet various women authors and see what books are for sale in the bookshop. Last year, that bookshop was the foundation of the classroom library I build for my students.

NIA: I am excited about the diverse and prolific line up of authors. I am also excited about attending panels that will further add to my toolbox of topics and themes to engage my students in discussions about when studying our selected novels for the year.

ALEXANDRA: I am so excited to get to hang out with fantasy writers and fans! I can’t wait to learn so much from the writers, presenters and other attendees. I’m always looking for new works and writers so this will be a great way to learn more about the genre and beyond.

SAMI: LEIGH BARDUGO. I was at Parnassus Books when she announced King of Scars and I can’t wait to hear her keynote. I’m also super excited about hearing from Anna-Marie McLemore after reading Blanca & Roja. It’s sincerely a dream come true to be at this conference with people who are passionate about my favorite things.

 

What have you been reading lately?

TRACI-ANNE: I am currently reading Oddity by Sarah Cannon and Court of Fives by Kate Elliott.

NIA: Three really amazing books that I have read this summer are L. Penelope’s Song of Blood and Stone, L.L. McKinney’s A Blade So Black, and Claire Legrand’s Furyborn. They were all phenomenal fantasy reads with lush worlds, nuanced protagonists, and feminine themes.

ALEXANDRA: I just finished An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon, so I can’t wait to talk to others about it. I’m currently getting my Master’s in Library Science and one of my classes right now is “Social Justice in Youth Literature,” so I’ve been reading a lot of picture books, early reader and YA books on a wide range of subjects: everything from Growing Up in Mississippi to I Am Jazz to The Hate U Give. I’m also about to start my second reading of N.K. Jemisin’s amazing Broken Earth series.

SAMI: I’m currently reading a bound manuscript of Emily Duncan’s Wicked Saints and it is everything. She’s created the most brutal and beautiful world of blood mages and gods blessed saints and I’m obsessed with Nadya and Malachiasz.

 


Traci-Anne Canada

Traci-Anne Canada teaches literature and journalism at Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Lithonia, GA, and is also a young adult fantasy writer. She loves reading and writing books where young black girls get to go on magical adventures and fall in love; and seeing her students reflected in the literature around them to help foster a love of reading.

 
 

Nia Davenport

Nia Davenport has always harbored a love of both science and crafting stories. After college, Nia studied and worked in the public health sector before discovering a passion for teaching. As an English and Biology teacher, Nia strives to make a difference in the lives of young people, minimize disparities in education for youths of color, and help students realize their dreams and unlimited potential. As a Black writer, her goals are much the same.

 

Alexandra Pratt

Alexandra Pratt graduated from Smith College in 2009 and is a reference librarian at Vineyard Haven Public Library in Massachusetts. Having grown up in a small, rural town on a steady diet of J. R. R. Tolkien, Patricia C. Wrede and Ursula K. LeGuin, she has travelled to five continents and has worked as a bartender, landscaper, ski instructor, and farm worker before becoming a librarian. She is currently working towards her master’s degree in library science.

 

Sami Thomason

Sami Thomason has been a bookseller at Square Books, Jr. in Oxford, Mississippi for two years. Before that, she got a bachelor’s degree in English Literature at Millsaps College and worked briefly at Walt Disney World (she’s seen some stuff). Her lifelong love of books was encouraged by the staff at Jr. as a child, and she now runs the book club she used to attend. You can find her on twitter at @SamiSaysRead and instagram as @samirella8.

 

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 10, Issue 6 (May 2018)

In this issue:

 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PROPOSALS

Thank you to everyone who submitted programming proposals! We received a record-breaking number of proposals this year, and the vetting board is hard at work reviewing your work. Decisions will be emailed by June 11, as will programming scholarship awards. All presenters must be registered for Sirens and paid in full by July 10, and we will announce this year’s programming shortly thereafter.

 

REGISTRATION AND TICKETS UPDATE

We are already half sold out for Sirens this year and the Studio and Supper tickets are almost gone! We currently have only 13 tickets remaining for our Sirens Studio and five tickets remaining for our Sirens Supper. If you’d like to register or purchase a ticket, you may do so in our registration system.

Register or Purchase Tickets

 

SCHOLARSHIPS

We’re thrilled to report that not only did we raise more funds for scholarships than ever before, we received more applications for those scholarships than ever before! Scholarships for publishing professionals and those with financial hardships have already been awarded, as have most of the scholarships for people of color awarded through Con or Bust—but one scholarship for a person of color is still available. Please visit Con or Bust to apply.

 

WHERE ARE THEY NOW: GUESTS OF HONOR

This fall will mark our tenth year of Sirens. With our conference theme of reunion, it’s the perfect chance to reflect on past conferences and revisit some old friends. In this series, we check in with our past Guests of Honor to see what they’ve been up to these days. In 2009, our theme was warriors, and our inaugural Guests of Honor were Tamora Pierce, Kristin Cashore, and Sherwood Smith.

Read the Full Post

 

SECOND STUDIO CAREER INTENSIVE ANNOUNCED

We’re excited to announce the topic and summary of our second Sirens Studio career intensive, Rhoda Belleza’s “Hard Stops”! You can check out the full list of workshop topics, summaries, faculty biographies, and all the information over on our Sirens Studio page. Again, we have only 13 tickets remaining for this year’s Studio, so please get yours soon!

 

PRIVACY POLICY UPDATED

Like seemingly every other company on the planet, Narrate Conferences, the 501(c)(3) organization that presents Sirens, has updated its privacy policy, which applies to Sirens. Notably, while the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union applies to only certain individuals, Narrate’s new privacy policy extends the rights and protocols required by the GDPR to everyone. As this new policy applies to you by virtue of your continuing to use our website, register for Sirens, and so forth, you do not need to do anything to receive the benefit of this new policy. In contrast, MailChimp, the company that we use for our newsletters, requires that you update your settings in order to continue to receive our monthly Sirens newsletters in your inbox. To do so, please see the email we sent you earlier this week. If you have any questions or concerns, please email (legal at narrateconferences.org).

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB

Miranda and Caliban

This month for her book club, Sirens co-founder Amy Tenbrink reads Jacqueline Carey’s Miranda and Caliban as it interrogates Shakespeare’s The Tempest: “I wanted more pointed criticism, more explicit condemnation of Prospero’s abuse and control of both Miranda and Caliban… That said, I’ve been considering lately that simple truth-telling might be its own form of feminism.” Read her thoughts on the blog and on Goodreads.

 

READ ALONG WITH FAYE

Food of the Gods

For the 2018 Reading Challenge, this month Communications Director Faye Bi picked up Cassandra Khaw’s Food of the Gods, which she found “truly absurd… But if you love wordplay, clever mythology, copious descriptions of food, a plethora of witticisms and a bumbling, yet somehow endearing hero, you’ll overlook the out-of-left-field plot and enjoy the onslaught of detail.” Read her full review on the blog and on Goodreads.

 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD

Children of Blood and Bone

Bookstore Coordinator Amanda Hudson read Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone, which she loved for its “wondrous worldbuilding,” save for an “unexpected use of a popular trope… children forced to fight other children in a tournament or arena setting until only one is left alive, explicitly for the entertainment of adults.” Read her full review here.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT …


Questions? Concerns? Please email general queries to (help at sirensconference.org) and questions about programming to (programming at sirensconference.org).

 

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 10, Issue 5 (April 2018)

In this issue:

 

GUEST OF HONOR: VIOLET KUPERSMITH

Due to a very happy personal circumstance, Zen Cho will no longer be able to attend this year’s Sirens. Instead, the incomparable Violet Kupersmith will join us as our Hauntings guest this October! Violet is the author of The Frangipani Hotel, a collection of supernatural short stories about the legacy of the Vietnam War, and a forthcoming novel on ghosts and American expats in modern-day Saigon.

We’ve been enthusiastically recommending The Frangipani Hotel every year at Sirens since it was released. Her ghost stories are simultaneously retold Vietnamese folktales, an indictment of the Vietnam War, and an exquisite exploration of loss—of culture, of country, of family, of self. Her settings are palpable, her characters all-too-human, and her work brilliant, incisive, and subversive.

Please join us in welcoming Violet to Sirens! We have updated our reading lists and website, and you can read Violet’s full biography on our Guests of Honor page.

 

PROGRAMMING PROPOSALS DUE MAY 6

You have only seven days left to propose programming for this year’s Sirens! We hope that you’re considering submitting a proposal or two. You voice is valid and valuable, whether you’re new to Sirens or a ten-year veteran, and whether you’re a reader, scholar, librarian, farrier, secret-keeper, or heroine!

We are accepting proposals until May 6. For full information and instructions, please see our Programming Proposals page, as well as our series of blog posts on 2018 Programming, featuring programming types, tips, tricks, and general advice.

Have questions? Looking for a co-presenter? Need more inspiration? Check out the #SirensBrainstorm tag on Twitter; every Monday we tweet out fresh ideas free for the taking. We’ll also be hosting one more programming chat on our Chat page, which will be live at the scheduled time:

  • Tuesday, May 1, 9–11 p.m. Eastern (6–8 p.m. Pacific)

 

APPLY FOR SIRENS SCHOLARSHIPS

Due to the tremendous generosity of the Sirens community, we have 12 scholarships to award this year: three for people of color, three for exemplary programming proposals, three for those with financial hardships, and three for librarians, educators, and publishing professionals. The deadline for financial hardship and professional scholarships is May 13. For more information, visit our Scholarships page.

Each scholarship includes a conference registration and a round-trip shuttle ticket. Please spread the word! If you’re eligible for a scholarship, we very much hope that you’ll apply. Everyone needs a helping hand or some extra encouragement sometimes, and we’re so grateful to the Sirens community for making this support possible.

 

TICKETS UPDATE

Studio and Supper tickets are nearly sold out! We currently have only 14 tickets remaining for our Sirens Studio and six tickets remaining for our Sirens Supper. If you’d like to purchase a ticket, you may do so in our registration system.

 

SIRENS MEET-UPS

Though nothing replaces attending Sirens in October, we occasionally host casual get-togethers for the Sirens community throughout the year. It can be a great way to introduce us to your friends (and vice versa), share a meal or a cup of tea, and chat about books with fellow Sirens community members! Here are the meet-ups in Denver and New York:

  • Denver: Saturday, May 5, 2–4 p.m. Mountain
  • New York City: Saturday, May 19, 2–4 p.m. Eastern

Please note that attendees must pay for their own drinks and food. RSVP to Jennifer at (jennifer.shimada at sirensconference.org). Please see our post for the full details.

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB

The City of Brass

Sirens co-founder Amy Tenbrink talks personal reading quirks, reluctant heroines, and dazzling world-building in her book club pick this month—S. A. Chakraborty’s The City of Brass—which she called, “in many, many, ways … a tour de force.” Read her thoughts on the blog and on Goodreads.

 

READ ALONG WITH FAYE

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty

Communications Director Faye tried her hand at young adult poetry this month for her 2018 Reading Challenge pick, Christine Heppermann’s Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty. “The book is a handsome tome, pocket-sized with art and text laid out just-so, and Heppermann is clearly talented, even if her poems don’t speak to my experience as a former teenage girl.” Read her full review on the blog and on Goodreads.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT …


Questions? Concerns? Please email general queries to (help at sirensconference.org) and questions about programming to (programming at sirensconference.org).

 

Twelve Sirens Scholarships Funded for 2018

Sirens has a mission: to provide a welcoming space for our attendees to discuss the remarkable women of fantasy literature. As part of that mission, we specifically craft Sirens to include and amplify all of the brilliant voices creating those discussions. Our greatest hope is that those voices will represent both a wide array of perspectives and experiences—reader, scholar, librarians, educator, publishing professional, author—and individuals of different genders, sexualities, races, religions, and abilities. As we approach our tenth year of Sirens, we find that topics related to women in fantasy literature are as limitless as ever, and that our opportunity to learn from our community’s discussion, analysis, and debate of those topics is equally limitless.

This year, because of the tremendous generosity of the Sirens community, we raised the funds necessary to provide twelve scholarships—more than ever before! To everyone who donated, thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you again! Thank you for your financial commitment to our community. Thank you for helping make Sirens possible for certain individuals who are critical to our conversations and who sometimes find it difficult to attend without additional support. Thank you for your magnificent generosity!

Each scholarship includes both a Sirens registration and a Sirens Shuttle ticket. The twelve scholarships will be allocated as follows: three to fans of color/non-white fans, three to those submitting exemplary programming proposals, three to those with financial hardships, and three to librarians, educators, and publishing professionals (which may be anyone from an editor to an agent to a publicist to a cover designer to a bookseller).

If you need assistance, we hope you’ll consider applying for a scholarship. We designed this program specifically to help additional voices join our conference and our community—and your voice counts. Please visit our Scholarships page for more information on how to apply.

 

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 10, Issue 4 (March 2018), Programming Edition

In this issue:

 

SIRENS SCHOLARSHIPS

Thank you to everyone who has already donated to our scholarship fundraiser! So far, we’ve raised 65% of our goal of $4,380.

We have already funded three scholarships for people of color, three for exemplary programming proposals, and one for those with financial hardships. If we meet our goal, we’ll provide another two for those with financial hardships and three for librarians, educators, and publishing professionals.

March 31 is the last day to donate toward this year’s scholarships, so if you can, please take a moment to chip in. Every amount helps us add more voices to Sirens!

Donate to Sirens Scholarships

If you need assistance attending Sirens, we hope you’ll apply for a scholarship. We’ll have application information on our Scholarships page starting next week!

Sirens logos 2014-2018, 2018 highlighted

2018 PROGRAMMING

All of Sirens’s programming—the dozens of hours of papers, lectures, panels, roundtable discussions, workshops, and afternoon classes presented at Sirens each year—is crafted, proposed, and presented by Sirens attendees. We hope that, this year, that will include you! From April 2 to May 6, anyone planning to attend Sirens this year, regardless of vocation, level of experience, or years at Sirens, is welcome to propose programming—and if selected, present that programming at Sirens. Our programming series provides an overview of the proposal process, an examination of each type of programming, and advice for preparing your proposal:

Since our 2018 theme is reunion, we discussed that theme and revisited our past four years’ themes on our blog for additional inspiration. If you’re new to Sirens, you can learn more about each theme at each of these links: reunion, hauntings, rebels and revolutionaries, lovers, and women who work magic. If you’re a returning attendee, we invite you to take a stroll down memory lane with us!

Have questions? Looking for a co-presenter? Need more inspiration? Check out the #SirensBrainstorm tag on Twitter; every Monday in April we’ll tweet fresh ideas free for the taking. In addition, we’ll be hosting two programming chats on our Chat page, which will be live at the scheduled times:

  • Saturday, April 7, 1–3 p.m. Eastern (10 a.m.–noon Pacific)
  • Tuesday, May 1, 9–11 p.m. Eastern (6–8 p.m. Pacific)

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

For her March book club, Sirens co-founder Amy Tenbrink muses on villainy in Julie C. Dao’s Forest of a Thousand Lanterns: “A villain story is, by definition, about the bad guy. Otherwise, the villain wouldn’t be a villain at all, of course, but a deeply conflicted heroine or even an antiheroine.” Read her thoughts on the blog and on Goodreads.

 

READ ALONG WITH FAYE

An Ember in the Ashes

How’s that 2018 Reading Challenge coming along? For hers, Communications Director Faye Bi reads and reviews Sabaa Tahir’s popular An Ember in the Ashes, with ruminations on young adult literature, fantasy, and bestseller-dom: “It bothers me when people cast down young adult fantasy for being more simplistic and less rigorous than adult fantasy, with worldbuilding just the backdrop for the kissing, the angst, and the feelings.” Read her full review on the blog and on Goodreads.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT …

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising:

2018 Programming:

Themes:

 


Questions? Concerns? Please email general queries to (help at sirensconference.org) and questions about programming to (programming at sirensconference.org).

 

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising: Professionals

Sirens has a mission: to provide a welcoming space for our attendees to discuss the remarkable, diverse women of fantasy literature. Each year, Sirens raises funds to provide scholarships to help a number of people attend Sirens and add their voices to those conversations. Our scholarship fundraising will continue through March, but this week, we want to highlight the importance of our scholarships for those with financial hardships. In past weeks, we discussed our scholarships for people of color and those submitting exemplary programming proposals, and those with financial hardships.

Sirens invites everyone with an interest in the remarkable, diverse women of fantasy literature to attend our conference and participate in our conversations. Our attendees run the gamut of vocations—readers, scholars, librarians, educators, publishing professionals, authors, and more—and each of their voices is critical to the Sirens community.

The beauty of Sirens, in fact, are the many different perspectives, experiences, and identities that our attendees represent in our conversations and community. Each year at Sirens, you’ll see readers present alongside librarians, booksellers collaborate with educators, and authors learn from scholars.

Over the past decade, however, we have discovered that it’s significantly easier for some people to attend Sirens than others. In particular, librarians, educators, and publishing professionals so often provide exceptional services to book-loving communities—and are, especially at the beginning of their careers or when working with underserved populations, so often poorly paid for their efforts.

These librarians, educators, and publishing professionals who are creating the books we love and putting them in the hands of book-loving people everywhere have perspectives and experiences that make the Sirens conversations and community more vibrant and more brilliant.

New this year, we are asking the Sirens community to raise funds to help some of these professionals attend Sirens. Assuming that we reach our fundraising goals, we will provide a Sirens registration and round-trip shuttle ticket to one librarian, one educator, and one publishing professional (which may be anyone from an editor to an agent to a publicist to a cover designer to a bookseller). As part of the application process, we will ask for a resume and a statement of interest.

Can you help us reach our goal of including more voices in Sirens?

If you can—whether that’s $5 or a full scholarship of $365—we hope that you’ll help us provide these scholarships!

 

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising: Financial Hardships

Sirens has a mission: to provide a welcoming space for our attendees to discuss the remarkable, diverse women of fantasy literature. Each year, Sirens raises funds to provide scholarships to help a number of people attend Sirens and add their voices to those conversations. Our scholarship fundraising will continue through March, but this week, we want to highlight the importance of our scholarships for those with financial hardships. In past weeks, we discussed our scholarships for people of color and those submitting exemplary programming proposals; next week, we will address our hope that we’ll be able to provide scholarships for librarians, educators, and publishing professionals.

Attending Sirens requires money.

Everyone knows this. Whether or not you’ve attended Sirens, at some point you’ve probably saved your pennies to go somewhere.

And Sirens knows this.

We want Sirens to be available to as many people as possible—and a critical part of that is making the Sirens registration price as low as possible. So each year, we price the Sirens registrations below the cost of providing the food, program book, and other benefits that come with those registrations. And each year, to cover the difference, we ask for additional support from those who can afford to do more.

This budget structure works for us only because the Sirens community is magnificent. Each year, amazing individuals offer additional support—whether that’s an extra $5 or $500 or a handcrafted auction item—to help Sirens continue to suppress its registration prices so that more people can afford to attend.

But those donations also do something more. Because sometimes, a lower registration price isn’t enough.

Most of us have been there. Most of us have stared at an opportunity that we wanted, and maybe we needed, but that we couldn’t afford to take. Most of us, at some point in time or another, have depended on the kindness of strangers.

So each year, the Sirens community raises funds to provide Sirens registrations and round-trip shuttle tickets to those with financial hardships. Assuming that we reach our fundraising goals, we will provide three of these scholarships in 2018. Everyone is welcome to apply; we ask only that you state that you have a financial hardship. We select recipients randomly from among the applicants.

Can you help us reach our goal of including more voices in Sirens?

If you can—whether that’s $5 or a full scholarship of $365—we hope that you’ll help us provide these scholarships!

 

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising: Exemplary Programming Proposals

Sirens has a mission: to provide a welcoming space for our attendees to discuss the remarkable, diverse women of fantasy literature. Each year, Sirens raises funds to provide scholarships to help a number of people attend Sirens and add their voices to those conversations. Our scholarship fundraising will continue through March, but this week, we want to highlight the importance of our scholarships for those who submit exemplary programming proposals. Last week, we discussed our scholarships for people of color; future weeks will address scholarships for those with financial hardships, and librarians, educators, and publishing professionals.

Sirens’s programming might be different than anything you’ve seen before.

While many conferences select which topics are worthy of presentation, and which individuals are worthy of presenting those topics, Sirens takes a wholly different approach. We invite everyone attending Sirens to propose programming.

Let us say that again: We invite everyone attending Sirens—regardless of vocation, regardless of age, and regardless of past Sirens attendance—to propose programming.

Each year, dozens of individuals—from readers to scholars to librarians to authors—propose the lectures, papers, panels, workshops, roundtables, and afternoon classes that become the presentations at Sirens. And each year, an independent vetting board, a diverse group of tremendous individuals who know and love Sirens, review those proposals for thoughtfulness and relevance, and then select which to include on that year’s programming schedule.

This process can be intimidating, especially for those new to Sirens: It takes a lot of courage to put your thoughts and analysis out there, first to a review board and then at Sirens itself.

But each year, dozens of individuals, some of them Sirens veterans and some of them first-time attendees, screw their courage to the proverbial sticking place and propose programming—and in doing so, make Sirens smarter, more thoughtful, and just plain better.

And so, each year, we award scholarships to those who submit exemplary programming proposals. A scholarship review committee examines the accepted proposals of those who ask to be considered and selects three proposals to receive a scholarship. Each scholarship includes both a registration and a Sirens Shuttle ticket. There’s no separate application; presenters can opt in for consideration during the programming proposal submissions process.

Can you help us reach our goal of including more voices in Sirens?

While a thousand conversations happen at Sirens every year, the true vanguard of those discussions are the brave and brilliant individuals who share their wisdom and expertise as part of our programming.

If you can—whether with $5 or a full scholarship of $365—we hope that you’ll help us provide these scholarships!

 

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising: People of Color

Sirens has a mission: to provide a welcoming space for our attendees to discuss the remarkable, diverse women of fantasy literature. Each year, Sirens raises funds to provide scholarships to help a number of people attend Sirens and add their voices to those conversations. Our scholarship fundraising will continue through March, but this week, we want to highlight the importance of our scholarships for people of color. Future weeks will address scholarships for those who submit exemplary programming proposals; those with financial hardships; and librarians, educators, and publishing professionals.

Sirens is built on a thousand conversations. We have specifically designed Sirens to be an interdisciplinary conference, where a reader’s interpretation of a book is just as important as an author’s intent in writing it, where a scholar can learn from a librarian, and where a teacher and a bookseller can collaborate on a course curriculum for learning through fantasy literature.

But also critical to those conversations are diversity and inclusiveness. Are people of all genders, all sexualities, all races, all religions, all national origins, and all abilities welcome not only at Sirens, but in those conversations? Are they able to both speak and be heard? Are their voices critical to not only their own Sirens experience, but to everyone’s Sirens experience?

Can you help us reach our goal of including more voices in Sirens?

Over our decade of presenting Sirens, we have learned that, while some voices are readily welcomed and readily heard, other voices—such as those of people of color—are too often lost in the crowd, tuned out, or silenced entirely.

Too often, conferences—even in our speculative spaces where authors can and do write impossible worlds full of magic and wonder—are overwhelmingly white. Too often, the voices at these conferences—guests of honor, presenters, conference staff, volunteers—are overwhelmingly white. Too often, conferences make a broad commitment to diversity, but don’t follow through to make that commitment real. It can be exceptionally difficult for people of color to enter, participate, and be heard in those spaces, let alone play a critical role in them.

One actionable way for our community to increase inclusivity at Sirens is to provide scholarships to help people of color attend. This year, we are seeking funds to provide three people of color with both a Sirens registration and a round-trip Sirens Shuttle ticket. Once funded, we will provide these scholarships to Con or Bust, a tremendous organization that provides assistance to fans of color/non-white fans who wish to attend science fiction/fantasy cons. Con or Bust will allocate these scholarships in accordance with its rules.

Sirens is built on a thousand conversations. But the value of those conversations—and the value of the community born of those conversations—is built on the diversity of voices that participate in those conversations.

If you can—whether with $5 or a full scholarship of $365—we hope that you’ll help us provide these scholarships!

 

Presented by Narrate Conferences, Inc.

 

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