Sirens at Home
While we cannot gather safely in 2020, we also couldn’t let a year go by without providing the Sirens community—and everyone else with an interest in gender and fantasy literature—a version of our annual conference. While we won’t be able to meet in person, we hope that Sirens at Home can allay a bit of the isolation and anxiety that we’re all experiencing.

Sirens at Home will take place October 22–25, 2020. Over that weekend, we’ll offer the sorts of things that Sirens has offered for more than a decade now: opportunities to learn from brilliant presenters, to discuss books, and simply to gather together. But we’ll do it all online, so we can stay safe at home.

Sirens at Home is free to everyone, whether you’ve attended Sirens before or not. We ask everyone interested to please register below. We will provide the links to our online gatherings to only those who have registered.

We hope you’ll take a look at our plans for Sirens at Home below. And then we hope that you’ll register—because we’d love to see you there!

Registration

If you’d like to join us for Sirens at Home, please click the register button. Registration is free; we’ll send you the links to all programs the third week of October and you can decide, based on your interests and what you’re feeling up to at the time, what you’d like to join.

You must be at least 18 years old to register and you will be required to acknowledge the Sirens Terms of Service, Anti-Harassment Policy, and Accessibility Policy as part of your registration.

Register


Sirens at Home Programs

Sirens at Home will have two main components:

Published essays, book recommendations, and more: Throughout October, we’ll feature gorgeous personal pieces about what speculative works mean to individuals; smart essays on topics related to gender and speculative literature; recommendations for fabulous works by women, nonbinary, and trans authors; and other smart content that will make you think—and expand your pile of books to read!

Check out our News page in October for all sorts of smart thoughts about gender, speculative literature, and related topics. You can also follow our Twitter @sirens_con, where we’ll post links to this featured content.

Online content via Zoom: On the evening of Thursday, October 22, 2020, we’ll launch a weekend of online panels, book discussions, and community gatherings. We intend to record and publish several of these presentations, but most programs will occur live and will give folks the opportunity to listen, learn, and connect with others who love the work of women, nonbinary, and trans folks in speculative spaces. Again, all of these programs are free for everyone, whether you’ve attended Sirens before or not, but you must register in order to attend. We will send the links to only those who have registered.


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Here Be Dragons: Gender and Speculative Spaces
Panel
6:30–8:00 p.m. Mountain (8:30–10:00 p.m. Eastern)

For so long, women, nonbinary, and trans people have fought for inclusion across a variety of speculative spaces: publishing houses, bestseller lists, academic departments, libraries, classrooms, and conventions. But even when those spaces make room for people who aren’t cisgender men, they still so often reflect their roots as arenas designed to support and promote those men to the exclusion of, or sometimes deification by, others. This panel will discuss work—across all speculative spaces—that reaches harder and contemplates creating spaces that look like people of marginalized genders, across oppressive intersections, had a powerful force in their design and creation. We must fight the white heteropatriarchy, of course, but must we always react to it, be in conversation with it? Or can we—are we already in many instances—do work that doesn’t require that reference point?

Here Be Dragons: Conversations
Discussion Groups
8:00–8:30 p.m. Mountain (10:00–10:30 p.m. Eastern)

Join us for small-group discussions following “Here Be Dragons: Gender and Speculative Spaces.” We will be considering the points raised by the panelists during their presentation.


Friday, October 23, 2020

Anxiety, Rage, and Attempting the Impossible in a World on Fire
Panel
6:30–8:00 p.m. Mountain (8:30–10:00 p.m. Eastern)

Endless challenges and quotidian horrors have marked 2020. Pandemics, protests, and politics are only the beginning, as every day brings something new and incrementally awful. We are all prone to rage, anxiety, burnout, isolation, grief, and surprising bouts of inexplicable sobbing. And all of this, of course, dovetails with powerful societal messaging: We aren’t doing enough. We ourselves are not enough. If we’d just put on our grown-up britches and sucked it up, everything would be fine. But we are all, in one way or another, attempting the impossible, and this panel will discuss what it means for each of us to attempt the impossible in an impossible time. Because we are, each of us, enough.

Attempting the Impossible: Conversations
Discussion Groups
8:00–8:30 p.m. Mountain (10:00–10:30 p.m. Eastern)

Join us for small-group discussions following “Rage, Anxiety, and Attempting the Impossible in a World on Fire.” We will be considering the points raised by the panelists during their presentation.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

Books and Breakfast
Discussion Groups
9:00–9:50 a.m. Mountain (11:00–11:50 a.m. Eastern)

Since its inception, Sirens has offered Books and Breakfast, a chance to bring your breakfast and discuss brilliant, popular, and controversial speculative works by women, nonbinary, and trans authors. This year, our Books and Breakfast program might look a little different, but we invite you to read one of the following books, grab your breakfast, and join us to discuss!

Safer Spaces
Discussion Groups
10:00–10:50 a.m. Mountain: BIPOC Discussion
11:00–11:50 a.m. Mountain: LGBTQIAP+ Discussion
12:00–12:50 p.m. Mountain: Disabled and Neurodivergent Discussion

We know that gathering can be overwhelming, even—or perhaps especially—online. We have prioritized time in our Sirens at Home schedule for safer spaces and we hope that these spaces help you gather in a less exhausting way. Please note that these spaces are reserved for, respectively, BIPOC, LGBTQIAP+, and disabled and neurodivergent people; others are not invited into these spaces.

Break
1:00–2:00 p.m. Mountain (3:00–4:00 p.m. Eastern)

Professional Networking
2:00–2:50 p.m. Mountain: Publishing Professionals, Booksellers, and Librarians
3:00–3:50 p.m. Mountain: Scholars, Educators, and Librarians

At Sirens, whether you are scholar, educator, librarian, bookseller, or publishing professional, you can find others like you: same profession, same love of speculative literature. Finding your people can, however, be harder online, so we’ve set aside time for professional networking. Please note that these spaces are reserved for those in these professions (or students interested in these professions); others are not invited into these spaces.

Books and Tea
4:00–4:50 p.m. Mountain (6:00–6:50 p.m. Eastern)

If you’ve been to Sirens, you know how dangerous the bookstore is. If you haven’t yet attended, imagine a space with thousands of fantastic speculative titles, all of them by women, nonbinary, and trans authors. And now imagine if Faye Bi and Amy Tenbrink, perhaps the best read of our impossibly well-read staff, told you all about them. We invite you to bring your afternoon tea, perhaps some popcorn, and definitely a pen and paper—you might think you’re here for the show, but you won’t be able to resist the books!

Break
5:00–7:00 p.m. Mountain (7:00–9:00 p.m. Eastern)

Grab some dinner and, if you like, put on that costume. It’s time for the Sirens Ball!

Sirens Ball
7:00–9:00 p.m. Mountain (9:00–11:00 p.m. Eastern)

After three days of smart presentations and thought-provoking discussions, it’s time to let down your hair, put on your very best armor or faerie wings, and join us for an evening of chair-dancing, games, and fun. As you might expect from a Sirens Ball, we’ll have a murder mystery, and we’re planning trivia and some other fun options as well. We don’t care what you wear, so whether you don your favorite costume, a ballgown worthy of a princess, or your favorite pajamas, you’ll be splendidly attired. We also know that some of you have some very fancy weaponry, indeed—and since we never let you bring it to Sirens, our Sirens at Home Ball is a great chance for a little war hammer show-and-tell. Let’s let loose!


Sunday, October 25

Regional Gatherings
Group Discussions
9:00–9:50 a.m. Eastern: Eastern Time Zone Gathering
9:00–9:50 a.m. Central: Central Time Zone Gathering
9:00–9:50 a.m. Mountain: Mountain Time Zone Gathering
9:00–9:50 a.m. Pacific: Pacific Time Zone Gathering

We have time for one more set of conversations on Sunday morning, so let’s start it by getting to know some folks who might even live near you. Join us for your regional gathering based on the time zone where you are—and if you aren’t in one of those time zones, you can pick the one that’s right for you!

2021 Sirens Gathering
11:00–11:50 a.m. Mountain (1:00–1:50 p.m. Eastern)

It’s time to say goodbye—but not before we gather to talk about how legendary Sirens 2021 is going to be! Come on down to ask questions, discuss your plans, and if you were already registered on September 1, open up those paper-wrapped items in your care packages. Next year will be here before you know it—and we’ll be waiting for you at Sirens.


Presented by Narrate Conferences, Inc.
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“Sirens is a place where people can go to discuss being queer, being brown, being disabled, being neuroatypical, being a woman or a nonbinary person in fantasy literature—all within a framework that actively seeks to include voices traditionally shut out or even silenced elsewhere.”
—Shveta Thakrar

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