As presenters register and confirm their participation at Sirens, we’ll be adding their presentations to the accepted proposals page on the Sirens website. Keep an eye out here to see what will be on the programming schedule, which will be available in August. Here are three confirmed presentations to entice you to visit the accepted proposals page! (More will be posted once all of our presenters have registered and we’ve made all of our site updates.)
Panel: Are There Faeries Outside Western Europe? Exploring Fey Folklore from Around the World
Presenters: 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.
Roundtable: Queerness and Fairy Tales
Presenter: 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.
Paper: Dangers Posed by the Fairy Godmother: Four Modern Novelists Reinterpret Cinderella
Presenter: 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.
The Conference Schedule
The programming schedule is coming! We’re waiting for a few presenters to confirm their participation by registering, and then we’ll sit down with presenters’ conflicts, our audio-visual requests and so forth and tackle creating the schedule. In the meantime, we wanted to let everyone know that we post occasional updates to our Twitter (a program that shows brief updates from people you follow, either on the web or via text to your cell phone). During Sirens, we’ll have a virtual schedule via Twitter: each hour, you’ll see each program item and its location as a separate “tweet.” If you need a reminder, or you don’t want to carry your program book all day, Twitter is one option for keeping a personal schedule. Please note that as we can’t monitor the Twitter full time, it won’t follow you back or see messages directed to the account. You can always e-mail us at (help at sirensconference.org) with any questions–or you can leave a comment on any news outlet where we post updates.
Our next chat is scheduled for this weekend. General chatter, book discussions, and Sirens questions are all welcome! This one is an early morning chat in the U.S., and we’ll continue to move them around so that people in different parts of the world can join in. Please note that last month’s newsletter had the right time and day of the week, but the wrong date.
DATE: Saturday, July 10
TIME: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Eastern/10 a.m.-noon Central/9-11 a.m. Mountain/8-10 a.m. Pacific
You don’t need to download anything or have any special software to participate; the page will turn into a chat room when the chat begins.
If you’ll be in Vail prior to the start of Sirens on Thursday, October 7, please feel free to join us for our Sirens Supper on Wednesday, October 6. (The conference shuttle is scheduled to run that day, as well as on Thursday, if you need a ride to Vail.) The western-style buffet will start at 7:00 p.m., and we have only a handful of places still available! The buffet costs $60, which includes food, non-alcoholic drinks, and gratuity, and offerings on the buffet usually feature several entrée options such as local fish and steak; soup, salad and sides; and a variety of desserts. You may add this option with a new registration or via the change registration link on the left side of the registration page. We had a blast at last year’s Sirens Supper, and we hope you’ll be able to join us this year!
Guests of Honor Summer Book Discussions
In June, we discussed some current work by Holly Black, and through July and August, we’ll continue our Tuesday book discussions according to the schedule below. Everyone is welcome to stop by and offer thoughts at the Sirens LiveJournal, whether you plan to attend Sirens this year or not.
July: Terri Windling’s The Changeling and A Midsummer Night’s Faery Tale (first two weeks), and some of the works that she has edited (last two weeks)
August: Marie Brennan’s Midnight Never Come and In Ashes Lie
Books and Breakfast
As a reminder, we’ll be hosting our Books and Breakfast program again this year. Like last year, all attendees are welcome to grab their own breakfasts and join a group to discuss influential, controversial and fun faery literature spanning new works and old favorites. Here’s the schedule:
Friday, October 8:
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:
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
We’ll be hosting a meetup point again this year during the evening break at Sirens (when you’re on your own for dinner). At the end of the daytime programming, the schedule will give a time and place for people to meet up with a group for dinner. This is also a fantastic time to gather a specific group (e.g., everybody from Iowa, people writing their second book, e-reader devotees, Team Alice) for a meal or to use our signup space. Look for a bulletin board near the information desk to post your excursion or to find one, whether it’s designed for a specific interest or designed for all.
Now is the perfect time to sign up to volunteer at Sirens. At the conference, we always need people to watch over a track of programming for a morning or afternoon, to assist with our author signings program, to help set up and troubleshoot audio-visual equipment, to be the backup rider list manager for the shuttle buses on Wednesday and Thursday, and other easy but important tasks–most of which can be done without missing a minute of the conference! Also, for each shift you work, we’ll provide a light snack. We’ll schedule volunteers once the conference schedule is posted, but in the meantime, you can sign up to volunteer and join the volunteer mailing list at the Sirens volunteers page.
For More Information
Please feel free to contact us at (help at sirensconference.org). We’re happy to answer any questions you might have. You can leave general questions in the comments here as well.
We hope to see you in Vail!