Our Annual Programming Series, Part One

It’s time for our annual programming series of posts! For the next several weeks, we’ll be providing all sorts of information about programming for Sirens and how to propose it. (Yes, we said propose it. Sirens programming is crafted, proposed, and presented by our attendees.) So here we go.
You can see all of our 2017 programming posts here including perspectives from past presenters, information on submitting proposals, and more. We want to give you inspiration, information, and things to think about. And for the veterans, while most details don’t change from year to year, it’s always good to refresh your memory.
The deadline for proposals is May 8, 2017.
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.
Presenting is not an activity just for published authors, or professors, or professionals. The programming for Sirens is presented by attendees because the perspectives and inquiries of attendees are important. Readers, authors, moms, publishers, cousins, scientists, psychologists, friends, mathematicians, librarians, historians, heroines—and any other sort of attendee you might be able to think of—all have interesting perspectives to share.
This year’s theme is women who work magic, and we hope you’ll consider how that’s reflected in fantasy literature. We’ll also be happy to receive programming proposals more generally applicable to women and gender in fantasy literature, 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 eight years.
Here are some quick facts and answers to frequently asked questions about programming for Sirens:

  • Proposals are submitted via our online system only. For consideration, we must have your completed proposal, including all applicable co-presenter information, no later than May 8, 2017. Please note that we’re making updates to our online proposal system, and that it might still be closed when you read this post! Thank you for your patience.
  • We have some programming guidelines and considerations for you to review.
  • 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. When selecting collaborators, we encourage you to include people with a variety of different perspectives, experiences, and identities.
  • 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 12, 2017, so that you have the time you need to prepare your presentation at Sirens.
  • You may submit a proposal even if you are not registered yet, but you must be registered and paid by July 9, 2017, to confirm your participation if your proposal is chosen for Sirens. Collaborators on your presentation, if any, will also need to be registered and paid at that time.


You’ll Want to Know

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.
You can propose programming on the programming proposals section of the website beginning April 1.

Vetting Board
An independent vetting board will read all of the proposals and decide which proposals to accept for Sirens in 2017. We enlist a rotating 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 for Your Proposal

  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. Co-presenters on a set of pre-empaneled papers will also need to provide a the abstract for their paper, and panelists will need to provide a supplemental abstract or other analytic response to the panel abstract.
  3. You’ll receive all proposal and presentation communications via email. Please use one that you’ll have access to for all of 2017 and that you check regularly. Please also note that, if you’re working with collaborators, the presenter submitting the initial proposal will be deemed both the moderator and the contact person for that proposal.


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 Sunday, April 9, from 1 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern or on Saturday, April 22, from 1 to 3:00 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 #SirensBrainstorm for ideas. All those ideas on #SirensBrainstorm are free for you to use!

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 at (programming at


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