Sirens Studio
If you’d like to extend your Sirens experience, we hope you’ll join us for the Sirens Studio! While Sirens is terrific, it can be hectic: so many people to see, so many conversations to have, not nearly enough time to grab a seat by the fire and just read. Sirens Studio, however, gives you both what you love about Sirens and that down time that we all need: small-group workshop intensives led by exceptional faculty in the morning; flexible time to read, write, or relax in the afternoon; and both a faculty reception and a film screening at night.

The 2018 Studio will feature eight intensives, all led by extraordinary faculty on topics related to reading, writing, and career development. Studio participants will be able to attend half of those intensives—assuming, of course, that you aren’t sleeping in, lingering over breakfast in bed, or stuck in a book you can’t put down.

While the workshop schedule for the Sirens Studio won’t be available until later this summer, buying your ticket now will reserve your space with these exceptional faculty. Tickets are available to registered Sirens attendees, and include access to the Studio’s workshop intensives, the afternoon quiet and discussion rooms, the evening film screening, morning smoothies, and new in 2018, a Studio attendees-only faculty reception. The Sirens Shuttle will be available on the evening of Monday, October 22, to facilitate Sirens Studio attendees’ transportation to the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek. In order to keep the experience conversational and somewhat intimate, we are limiting the number of Sirens Studio tickets to 65. If you have any questions or concerns, please write to us at (help at sirensconference.org).

Dates: Tuesday, October 23, 2018, and Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Time: 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday (and until 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday)
Ticket Price: $100

You may purchase tickets here.


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Workshop Intensives


Reading Intensives
  • Diversity on Fire: Developing a More Informed Diversity Framework
    s.e. smith
    Conversations about diversity often feel limited to one thing: Who’s on the page. As readers, we know better than to rely on a simplistic checklist approach for diversity—instead, we should explore this issue through a rubric that explores both diversity and inclusion. Who are these characters as people? What are they doing? Who wrote them? Who was involved in the process of acquiring, editing, and producing the book that lies in your hands? We’ll discuss the shortcomings of current approaches to diversity, whether there’s a better way to have this conversation, and how we can borrow the “fire triangle” to talk about diversity and inclusion. Come prepared to dissect (and possibly learn uncomfortable things about) one or more of your favorite books.

  • Finding Sycorax: Highlighting Complex Black Women Characters in Genre
    Dr. Kinitra D. Brooks
    This workshop will focus on interrogating the construction of black women characterizations in genre (that is, science fiction, fantasy, and horror) literature, film, and comic books through a critical black feminist framework. What is black feminist theory? How do we use it as a tool in reading and creating genre literature? Why is it problematic to construct black women characters as “strong”? We will begin this workshop with everyone sharing their favorite black woman character in genre (problematic or not!), and move into the discussion and interrogation of prominent contemporary black women characters. We will take the time to examine the complexities of when others create black women characters and juxtapose that against when black women write themselves into genre. The goal of this workshop is to use black women’s theories about themselves to recognize and create black women characters in various genre texts.

  • The Latinx Myth
    Zoraida Córdova
    This reader workshop will focus on the representation of Latinx culture and peoples in science fiction and fantasy literature. So often, Latinx science fiction and fantasy gets lumped up into one group, perpetuating the idea that there is a single “Latinx mythology.” Here we will use both young adult and adult science fiction and fantasy novels by and about Latinx people to further understand the intersection of what’s real and what isn’t in fiction.

  • Taking the Castle: Understanding Power Structures in Fantasy and Fiction
    Justina Ireland
    What makes a book keep us on the edge of our seat? What makes a romance satisfying and a fantasy thrilling? It’s all about power structures: who has the power, who is surrendering control, and who is fighting for it. But what happens when power structures in books unwittingly reinforce structures of oppression in society? And how can we spot those situations? And is it bad to reinforce existing power structures via narrative? This workshop will aim to make you a better reader by examining common power structures in society and teaching you how to apply them to your own reading.


Writing Intensives
  • Description and “The Other”
    K. Tempest Bradford
    After characterization, the aspect of craft writers who aim to create inclusive, representational fiction are most anxious to get right is description. This can be particularly difficult for fantasy and science fiction authors, who must sometimes describe types of people who don’t yet exist. In this intensive we’ll use writing exercises to explore and practice the art of description, talk about bias language, and dismantle the idea of exposition as the enemy of good writing. There will be a mix of lecture, discussion, and exercises, and all participants will leave with a set of resources for further practice and deeper understanding.


  • Make Narnia Great Again: Propaganda and Power in Fantasy
    Anne Ursu
    We don’t have to look very far to see how effective propaganda can be—not only was our last election heavily influenced by it, but propaganda is also deeply seeded in the United States’ national identity. Whether it’s from broadsheets fresh off the printing press, leaflets dropped from planes, or bots on social media, the dissemination of various kinds of propaganda has been a key tactic throughout history for those who wish to seize or maintain power. When we’re writing about oppressive societies, propaganda, overt and insidious, can be a useful tool in showing how power structures are maintained. In this workshop, we’ll look at the ways oppressive societies in fantasy worlds make use of different kinds of propaganda, from catchy slogans to manipulation of history textbooks to popular entertainment to fake news. We’ll design a world and write our own propaganda for it, and then talk through ways to use propaganda in our own work.


Career Intensives
  • Hard Stops
    Rhoda Belleza
    We’re encouraged to imagine a career we want—but how often do we think about what we don’t want? Just as every moment is an opportunity to expand your experience and intellect, it’s also an opportunity to identify tasks, collaborations, and work environments that create more financial insecurity and social anxiety than they’re worth. How do you parse out the regular grunt work necessary to prove yourself, versus systemic oppression and exploitation? How many more jobs are you going to do for free for the experience, and how many more times will you work past midnight to finish this one project, and how many more events will you attend this week to meet the “right people”? In this endless pursuit of a dream job, we can work ourselves into a nebulous space of self-questioning that is counterproductive to our career. A lot of us don’t have the luxury of doing what we love—and even if you do, your dream job is still a job. But should you love parts of it? (The answer is yes.) And the parts you love less? Let’s make sure they’re still manageable, and in the service of self-satisfaction and the fulfillment of your goals.


  • Taking the Off-Ramp: Strategies and Practices for Changing Careers (Especially for Academics)
    Dr. Andrea Horbinski
    Changing careers is an increasingly common reality, especially for academics confronting the facts of increasing job competition and shrinking tenure track opportunities. In this workshop, we’ll discuss strategies for deciding whether—and on what terms—you should stay in your chosen career, and talk about some of the opportunities and challenges of leveraging experience in one industry for job opportunities in another. We’ll also discuss some practices that will help you in your career advancement no matter what track you choose.



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Studio Faculty

Reading Intensive Faculty
Dr. Kinitra D. Brooks
Kinitra D. Brooks
Kinitra D. Brooks is the Ricardo Romo Endowed Chair of the Honors College and Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her research interests include contemporary African American and Afro-Caribbean literature, black feminism, and horror studies. Her monograph, Searching for Sycorax: Black Women’s Hauntings of Contemporary Horror (Rutgers University Press 2017), is now available for pre-order. Her short horror fiction collection, Sycorax’s Daughters, co-edited with Susana M. Morris and Linda D. Addison at Cedar Grove Publishing, is now available for purchase. Currently, she is working on a book-length exploration of visual renderings of monstrous black women tentatively titled, Divinely Monstrous: Black Women Conjuring the Grotesque in Popular Culture. She is also coediting a volume on black women and horror entitled Towards a Black Women’s Horror Aesthetic: Critical Frameworks with Susana M. Morris and Linda Addison. She has published articles in African American Review, Obsidian, and FEMSPEC.

For more information about Kinitra, please visit her website or Twitter.


Zoraida Córdova
Zoraida Córdova
Zoraida Córdova was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. She is the author of The Vicious Deep trilogy, which centers around Tristan, who discovers his heritage and is thrown into a battle going on beneath the ocean, fighting for his future, his friends, and his life. Her other works include the On the Verge series, which is about 20-something-year-old-girls searching for love and the meaning of life, and Labyrinth Lost, about Alex, a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation who hates magic so much that she performs a spell to rid herself of her power. Zoraida loves black coffee and snark, and still believes in magic. She is a contributing writer to Latinos in Kid Lit because #WeNeedDiverseBooks. Zoraida studied at Hunter College and the University of Montana in Missoula.

For more information about Zoraida, please visit her website or Twitter.


Justina Ireland
Justina Ireland
Justina Ireland enjoys dark chocolate, dark humor, and is not too proud to admit that she’s still afraid of the dark. She lives with her husband, kid, and dog in Pennsylvania. She is the author of Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows.

For more information about Justina, please visit her website or Twitter.



s.e. smith
s.e. smith
s.e. smith is a Northern California-based writer and journalist who has appeared in Bitch Magazine, Rolling Stone, Vice, Teen Vogue, Rewire, Esquire, The Guardian, Pacific Standard, and many other fine publications, in addition to several anthologies, including The Feminist Utopia Project and the upcoming (Don’t) Call Me Crazy (Algonquin Young Readers, Fall 2018). smith’s work focuses on an intersectional social justice-based approach to exploring social issues, with a particular interest not just in diversity and representation, but in those acting as creators, editors, and gatekeepers of media and pop culture.

For more information about s.e., please visit their website or Twitter.




Writing Intensive Faculty
K. Tempest Bradford
K. Tempest Bradford
K. Tempest Bradford is a speculative fiction writer by night, a media critic and culture columnist by day, and an activist blogger in the interstices. Her fiction has appeared in award-winning magazines the likes of Strange Horizons and Electric Velocipede and best-selling anthologies Diverse Energies, Federations, In the Shadow of the Towers, and many more. When not writing science fiction and fantasy or engaging in interstitial arts she contributes articles, essays, blog posts, and reviews to NPR, io9, and various other media outlets. She enjoys commenting on media as much as consuming it and prides herself on being a “harsher of squee” when it comes to television, movies, books, and other entertainment that doesn’t live up to high standards. She’s active in the SFF fandom community and volunteers for a number of non-profit organizations. In the past, she’s served as a juror for the James Tiptree Jr. Award; organized fundraising auctions and salons for the Interstitial Arts Foundation; raised funds for Clarion West, her writing workshop alma mater; and served as programming co-chair for WisCon39, a feminist science fiction convention. Currently she serves on the board of the Carl Brandon Society, an organization dedicated to increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction.

For more information about Tempest, please visit her website or Twitter.


Anne Ursu
Anne Ursu
Anne Ursu is the author of several books for young readers and is the 2013 recipient of the McKnight Fellowship in Children’s Literature. Anne’s latest book, The Real Boy, is an Indie Next pick and on the 2013 longlist for the National Book Award. She is also the author of Breadcrumbs, which was acclaimed as one of the best books of 2011 by the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Amazon.com, and the Chicago Public Library. It was also on the IndieBound Next List and was featured on NPR’s Backseat Book Club. Anne is also the author of the three books that comprise The Cronus Chronicles: The Shadow Thieves, The Siren Song, and The Immortal Fire. Anne teaches at Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and lives in Minneapolis with her son and three cats.

For more information about Anne, please visit her website or Twitter.




Career Development Intensive Faculty
Rhoda Belleza
Rhoda Belleza
Rhoda Belleza was raised in Los Angeles, where she grew up writing X-Files fanfiction and stuffing her face with avocados. She’s a children’s editor at the imprint Imprint, a part of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, and writes from a sunny Brooklyn apartment stuffed with far too many bikes and far too many shoes. When she’s not editing or writing, Rhoda obsesses over nail art tutorials, watches kung fu movies, and sews together crooked things that pass for clothes. Empress of a Thousand Skies is her debut novel.

For more information about Rhoda, please visit her website or Twitter.


Dr. Andrea Horbinski
Andrea Horbinski
Andrea Horbinski holds a PhD in modern Japanese history with a designated emphasis in New Media from the University of California, Berkeley. Her book manuscript, “Manga’s Global Century,” is a history of Japanese comics in the twentieth century. She has discussed anime, manga, fandom, and Japanese history at conventions and conferences on five continents, and her articles have appeared in Transformative Works and Cultures, Convergence, and Mechademia. She also has extensive experience volunteering with feminist and fannish organizations. She served as the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Organization for Transformative Works (2012–15), and was on the Advisory Board of the Ada Initiative, a breakthrough not-for-profit advocating for women’s careers in open source software and related fields, before it ceased major operations in 2015. She joined the TAI Board of Directors in 2015, and continues to serve as Secretary of the Board for the rump organization as it winds down. She’s a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts USA.

For more information about Andrea, please visit her website or Twitter.


Presented by Narrate Conferences, Inc.
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