Archive for March 2016

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising

Thank you to everyone who donated generously to fund our scholarships this year. Our fundraising for our 2016 scholarships is complete, but if you’d like to donate to Sirens itself, please visit our donation page to see the types of support we can most use.

We’re thrilled to say that the Sirens community raised the funds for eight scholarships in 2016. Please see our scholarships page for more information and how to apply.




Eight years ago, we created Sirens as a space to support and discuss the remarkable work of women in fantasy literature. As past Sirens attendees know, critical to that mission is not only welcoming a wide array of new voices to our community, but sometimes making attendance at Sirens possible for individuals who otherwise wouldn’t be able to join us.

In 2015, for the first time, Sirens raised funds specifically to support scholarships for people of color, exemplary programming proposals, and those with financial hardships. Our community showed tremendous support for that goal, raising nearly $2,500 to help welcome new voices at Sirens.

In 2016, we are again asking for your help! We want to provide nine Sirens scholarships again this year: three for people of color, three for exemplary programming proposals, and three for those with financial hardships. To do so, we again need to raise nearly $2,500—but we know that, just like last year, our community can make Sirens possible for others.

To learn more, please keep reading. If you’ve already decided to donate, though, please just scroll down to our donation fields below—and thank you for your support!


Can you help us reach our goal of including more voices in Sirens?

Why offer scholarships?

Sirens is an in-person conference, and attendance requires funds—which means that not everyone who wishes to is able to join us. Their absence makes both our conference and our community less vibrant.

Because each Sirens attendee comes with additional conference expenses, from food to registration materials, and because Sirens endeavors to keep its attendance cost as low as possible for everyone, Sirens does not have funds available to both present Sirens itself and to award scholarships. As in 2015, we hope that you’ll help us raise the funds necessary to do so.


What kinds of scholarships will be available?

Scholarships will cover both a Sirens registration and a Sirens Shuttle ticket for each recipient. We’re hoping to receive enough funds to cover the following proposed scholarships, designed to serve a multitude of potential attendees. But in the event that we don’t, we will fund scholarships in the following order:

  • Con or Bust
    Con or Bust helps people of color/non-white people attend science fiction and fantasy conventions. This year, Sirens would like to provide Con or Bust with three Sirens registrations and Sirens Shuttle tickets in order to help people of color/non-white people attend Sirens. Con or Bust will allocate these registrations according to its rules.
  • Programming Presenters
    Every voice at Sirens is vital to the vibrancy and diversity of our conversations, but we always appreciate the skill, talent, and expertise that our accepted programming presenters have volunteered to share with our community. This year, we’d again like to recognize three exemplary programming proposals with a Sirens registration and Shuttle ticket. (Selected presentations with co-presenters who have opted in for scholarship eligibility will share the funds across applicable presenters.) These are merit-based scholarships, and will be selected by a committee.
  • Financial Hardship
    People sometimes say that money makes the world go round; we’d like to counter with the idea that generosity makes the world go round. Not all individuals who wish to attend Sirens can afford to do so, and you can help make Sirens a possibility for those who can’t. Sirens would like to award at least three selected recipients with a Sirens registration and Sirens Shuttle ticket, in the hopes that this will enable them to attend Sirens in the fall. Recipients will be chosen randomly from those who seek assistance.


Scholarship Donors 
Anonymous (5 donors)
Dahlia Adler
Meg Belviso
Edith Hope Bishop
The Charitable Arm of the Ladies with Swords, Wands, and Potions International Committee
Sabrina Chin
Rebecca Coffindaffer
Nivair H. Gabriel
A grateful previous scholarship recipient, paying it forward
Suzanne Rogers Gruber
Jaylee James
Lauren Kent
Manda Lewis
Darian Lindle
Kayla Shifrin
Nova Ren Suma
Amy Tenbrink
Hallie Tibbetts
Jae Young


Please help our scholarship campaign by sharing news of your support!

Help Sirens reach its goal of including more voices!


The Programming Countdown Begins

We’ve got about eight weeks before the programming proposal deadline of May 9, and…


Sirens is designed specifically as a space where you can discuss fantasy literature and its remarkable women. We hear you asking questions and having discussions, so we know you have something to say. It’s particularly great when you have something to share that’s related to women authors, characters, or professionals, or when it’s related to the Sirens theme for the year (this year, lovers!). We hope you also know that you can discuss fantasy more generally, as well as all topics that always—and should, and must—come up when we take a look at what we’re reading and writing, like gender, sexuality, diversity and intersectionality, politics, economics, business, art… We could go on, but that’s where you come in.

Most programming for Sirens is conceived and presented by attendees. You create it, you submit it, and—when approved by our vetting board—you present it. We’re able to support presentations in a number of styles; you can see more about what those are on the proposals page of the Sirens website.

While you’re pondering topics and presentation styles, please feel free to check out the entire programming section of the Sirens website, our 2016 suggested reading list, and the conference archives for inspiration. Keep an eye out for more helpful preparation information in the coming months.

And while you’re pondering, you might also like to know…

  1. We ask you to submit proposals so that we can get an idea of what we need to plan for at the conference—and to help us get a sense of what people want to discuss. We hope the proposal process also helps you organize your thoughts!
  2. The Sirens website has lots of information about how to prepare a proposal. If you have a question about any part of what you need to make a proposal, please don’t hesitate to email us; we love helping you put together something wonderful.
  3. We have a vetting board choose presentations from among the proposals you make. The more proposals, the merrier! That said, we’d prefer that you focus on the proposal or two that’s closest to your heart; not only does the vetting board like to receive a thoughtful proposal, we like to see lots of people presenting once or twice, instead of one person presenting a dozen times.
  4. If you’re saying oh, I couldn’t, we encourage you to say yes, I can! If you have more questions than answers, maybe you’d make a great moderator for a panel or roundtable discussion. If you feel more comfortable reading from prepared notes, consider a paper. If you have resources or a skill to share, consider a workshop or an afternoon class.
  5. There are no “requirements” to be a presenter; anyone and everyone is welcome to make a proposal.
  6. We’re here to help! Reach us at (programming at

2016 Sirens Theme: Lovers




Every year, Sirens is dedicated to the diverse, remarkable women of fantasy literature. We welcome programming on any topic related to that impossibly deep well of possibilities. We discuss a thousand books by a thousand authors and how we, as readers, engage with these fantastic works. We sell a thousand fantasy books by and about women.

But every year, we also celebrate a specific type of remarkable woman. One year, warriors, another faeries. Then monsters, or revolutionaries. These themes help spark our collective imagination, for everything from presentations to bookstore inventory, informal programs to artwork. They help us discover the breadth of women’s representations in fantasy literature, and the tremendous panoply of real-world women we know. They enrich our conversations, and deepen our connections to fantasy literature, each other, and ourselves.

And speaking of connections, our 2016 theme is lovers.

First kisses. Last loves. Midnight rendezvous. Forbidden assignations. Thousand-bell weddings. Discovering sex. Re-discovering sex. Having the best sex of your life.

Love and sex and tumult and desire and falling and soaring and comfort and wisdom and loss and grief and life-changing connections.

Because in fantasy literature, as in the real world, whom you choose to love—for all meanings of “love”—changes you, and helps you change the world.

Regardless of gender. Regardless of sexuality. Regardless of age, or race, or ability. Regardless of whether you have dragon wings or mermaid scales or selkie skin or wolf fur.

This year, we invite you—all of you—to join in our conversations about women in fantasy literature: our programming, our discussions, our debates, our book talks. And as we celebrate love, in its many forms, sometimes serious, sometimes fun, sometimes devastating, we hope that you’ll help us explore fantasy literature’s many, many depictions, from romance and first love, to adventure and erotica.

Because just like women as warriors, and women as monsters, and women as revolutionaries are vital aspects of everything we are, so are women as lovers.


Once upon a time…

Maybe you were a little girl who wielded a sword like Alanna. Or a teen who thought Susan deserved better. A college student who studied Onyesonwu. Anyone who’s had a Hermione moment. Or maybe just last year you discovered the wonder of Nimona, Ash, Lady Trent, Kamala Khan, or Daisy Goodnight.

No matter when, no matter how, somewhere along the way you fell in love with the remarkable women of fantasy literature.

You fell in love with the books, of course, and the authors who wrote them.

But you also fell in love with the readers. People who read twenty, fifty, a hundred books a year, about fantastic women in fantastic worlds. Books about dragon masters, queens, generals, and sorceresses—read by people who are, themselves, dragon masters, queens, generals, and sorceresses.

Books where your favorite characters—women of wisdom, of strength, of compassion, of courage—remake the world.

And those readers you fell in love with? They’re teachers, librarians, professors, booksellers, editors, authors. But they’re also engineers, doctors, lawyers, geeks, mothers, grandmothers, knitters, farriers, secret-keepers, and world-changing heroines.

They have a thousand different identities: genders, sexualities, races, abilities. A thousand different backgrounds. A thousand stories.

Those readers? Those readers are Sirens.

Sirens is something different: A smart-girl conference where college students present alongside professors. A fan convention where guests of honor pretend to be just another attendee. A networking event where you might find your next editor, your next boss, or your next best friend. A retreat where you spend a few days with others who share your excitement. A wall-to-wall bookstore full of fantasy books by or about amazing women. A place where you can read what you love and endlessly discuss why you love it.

At Sirens, women are extraordinary. Books are extraordinary. Readers are extraordinary.

You are extraordinary.

We hope you’ll join us at Sirens this October. We’re saving a place for your voice and your thoughts and your passion. Because no matter who you are—author, editor, scholar, librarian, engineer, secret-keeper, heroine—you’re a reader.

And readers are Sirens.


Presented by Narrate Conferences, Inc.


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