Our Annual Programming Series, Part One

The deadline for proposals is May 15, 2015.

To help you prepare, we’ll explain our programming selection process (including any updates), discuss different types of programming commonly seen at Sirens, and show you how to put together a strong programming proposal. Here’s the first thing you should know:

Everyone who is eligible to attend Sirens is eligible to present at Sirens.

You have something to share.

Your voice is important.

While we don’t want to make you feel like you’re not important should you choose to participate from the crowd—perhaps by asking great questions, or participating in group discussions—or should you choose to be simply an active listener, we want to make it very, very clear that presenting is not just for published authors, or professors, or professionals. Our programming is designed, developed, and presented by attendees, because the perspectives and inquiries of attendees make for an exciting, relevant programming schedule. In fact, we prefer that our programming be presented by a mix of scholars, professionals, and fans. Readers, authors, moms, publishers, cousins, scientists, psychologists, friends, mathematicians, librarians, historians—and any other broad category you might be able to think of—all have interesting perspectives to share.

This year’s theme is rebels and revolutionaries, and we hope you’ll consider how that’s reflected in fantasy. We’ll also be happy to receive programming proposals more generally applicable to women in fantasy, and presentations might focus on particular authors, stories, or themes, related topics in gender studies and community, the business and enjoyment of books, and so on. For inspiration, take a look at what attendees have presented over the last six years.

Here are some quick facts and answers to frequently asked questions about programming for Sirens:

  • Proposals are accepted via our online system only and are due no later than May 15, 2015.
  • We have some guidelines for presentations so that we can create a coherent schedule that will fit in the time and space we have available.
  • Collaboration is encouraged! Except for roundtable discussions, where the participants need to have a single moderator, you’re welcome to make your presentation with another person or with several other people.
  • One or two presentations is usually a good maximum number of presentations for any one person. Likewise, one or two proposals is a good maximum number of proposals to submit.
  • Proposals are kept confidential by the vetting board.
  • Decisions will be made by June 8, 2015 so that you have the time you need to prepare.
  • You may submit a proposal even if you are not registered yet, but you must be registered by July 7, 2015, to confirm your participation if your proposal is chosen for Sirens.

You’ll Want to Know About…

The Call for Proposals
A call for proposals (or papers) formally sets out a conference’s theme, desired presentations, and presentation requirements. It also gives a brief overview of the process by which proposals will be selected.

Vetting Board
An independent vetting board will read all of the proposals and decide which proposals to accept for Sirens in 2015. We enlist a board to make sure that proposals are evaluated by people who have a strong collective knowledge of current trends, scholarship, events, and so on; we feel it is most fair to have proposals evaluated by a group of people who know and appreciate what you want to talk about.

Tips and Tricks

  1. Make sure you include all requested information when you make your proposal. (More on what to include is coming up in the next posts in the series.)
  2. If you’re working with collaborators—perhaps co-writing a paper, grouping together for a panel, or team-teaching a workshop—be sure to verify that your collaborators want to be part of the presentation before you submit it! Let them know that they’ll receive an email asking them to confirm their participation and to input their contact information and a short biography.
  3. You’ll receive all proposal and presentation communications via email. Please use one that you’ll have access to for all of 2015 and that you check regularly.

Join Us for a Chat!
We’ll be hosting two chats on the Sirens website for talking about programming ideas—and for books, travel, Sirens, and meeting potential travel buddies and roommates. Join us on Monday, March 16, from 9 to 10:30 p.m. Eastern or Sunday, April 19, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Eastern. The linked page will turn into a chat during those hours; no software or downloads are required, but you may need to refresh the page.

Or a Tweet!
Check out our Twitter, and the hashtag #SirensBrainstormMonday for ideas. We’ll hold two Twitter brainstorming sessions for programming topics. The first will be held on Saturday, March 28 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, and the second will be held on Wednesday, April 8 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Our next posts will describe different types of proposals; what to put in a biography, summary, and abstract; and posts simply for exchanging ideas and finding collaborators. If you have questions, we’re happy to receive them, here or via email.

Quick links:
Programming Overview
Call for Proposals/Guidelines/Additional Preparation Information
Specific Questions for the Programming Team: Email (programming at

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