Tell us about an interesting or inspiring presentation you attended at Sirens.
I was deeply inspired by the talk Andrea Hairston gave at the 2014 Sirens conference. Her keynote was part poetry, part lecture. Part lullaby, part rallying cry. Every woman in the room felt seen and inspired. I especially loved her fire and her tenderness. We often think those qualities are mutually exclusive. But I believe the most powerful women express them openly, as Andrea showed us.
Tell me a story about something that happened at Sirens.
I was touched and inspired by the response to our “Haunted Landscapes” panel. Creating and preparing a panel is a vulnerable place. My fellow panelists and I all wondered whether the attendees would understand or just stare at us like we were crazy. As we plunged into the event, offering time for the attendees to share their stories, and having an incredible discussion, I soon discovered that our time had elapsed. And we had so much more to share! For the rest of the conference, attendees came up to us and told us how much they loved the discussion and that it revealed something personal to them. This experience reminded me that no matter how crazy you feel, the courage to share our stories allows others to find the courage to share theirs.
Tell us about something wonderful that’s happened to you at, or because of, Sirens.
After presenting a panel at Sirens, I feel I have a stronger connection to the fantasy community. Even more, Sirens gave me an opportunity to share a panel I might not have had the courage to share at a predominantly male conference or one that had tens of thousands of attendees. The intimacy and the kindness, combined with the fierce intelligence and voracious appetite for books, in the organizers and the attendees was unparalleled. As a result, I know I deepened my courage to present such a topic at a bigger conference and share ideas on my blog and in my author talks that I might have previously avoided.
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