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Archive for March 2018

Women Who Work Magic

Sirens logos 2014-2018, 2017 highlighted

In fantasy literature, magic is, in many ways, the most ready analogue for real-world power.

Mages have magic: the ability to call the storm, raise the dead, or control minds. They are awe-inspiring, intimidating, terrifying. Special. They are often kings, sometimes in direct violation of laws designed to prevent that amalgamation of power. Even mages who aren’t kings are so often shadow kings, advisors to kings, or adversaries of kings. And didn’t we all share Harry’s thrill when Hagrid said, “Harry—yer a wizard”? Of course we did, because having magic gave oh-so-miserable Harry the chance to change his life.

Magic, fundamentally, is power.

So consider, for a moment, female magic-workers in fantasy literature.

Most commonly, they are witches, and—even today, even in fantasy literature, even in fantasy literature by female and nonbinary authors—the word “witch” is so commonly a slur. In contemporary fantasy. In books reexamining historical periods. In all sorts of books with fantasy-world settings. Witches—or you might say women who work magic—are dangerous. They are often solitary, often old, and often ugly. They are in the business of crop-wilting, cattle-killing, storm-bringing, and baby-eating. They deserve the village’s righteous justice: burning, drowning, hanging. These women who have magic must be redeemed, so often through death.

Just for having magic. Or, if you will, just for having power.

Having magic gives women the power to subvert expectations. It gives them a way to forge a living, allowing them to choose marriage if they want, rather than relentlessly pursuing a husband (always a husband) for food and shelter and protection. It gives them the opportunity to seek their own path, set their own priorities, and establish their own identity. Magic gives these women choices and independence. And untethered women—women with resources, with skills, with wisdom, with freedom—are dangerous.

May all women have such magic.

Fantasy literature—sometimes intentionally, sometimes not—has an awful lot to say about gender, magic, and power.

  • Witches in our real world—or reexamined versions of our real world: So many fantasy works examine the mythos of witches through the lens of our world. From very traditional tales of witches (Of Sorrow and Such) to criticism of historical societies (Sorcerer to the Crown, Redwood and Wildfire) to modern-day stories of witches and all-too-real expectations (Labyrinth Lost, All the Birds in the Sky, Practical Magic). From new tales of legendary witches (Vassa in the Night) to new legends of all-too-familiar tropes (This Strange Way of Dying, The Girl Who Drank the Moon). From May-December romances of young witches and mentor wizards (Uprooted) to witches finding late-in-life love together (The Memory Garden) to witches spurning traditional betrothal to seek their own way (The Bear and the Nightingale).

  • Witches in fantastic worlds: Sometimes, fantasy works take the witch archetype and build it a new world, one that may be more but is sometimes even less sympathetic to magic-working women: good witches (Sister Mine), evil witches (Sarah Pinborough’s Beauty), and witches still figuring things out (Bayou Magic). Witches who rule their world (Forest of a Thousand Lanterns) or who would rather live quietly at home (The Beast Is an Animal). Witches who seize their own fate (The Bone Witch) or who are a formidable, desired commodity (Truthwitch). Adventurous witches (The Magical Misadventures of Prunella Bogthistle), ambitious witches (Born Wicked), vengeful witches (The Shadow Queen), desperate witches (Chime), wise witches (The Color Master).

  • All manner of other sorceresses, illusionists, and magic-workers: In fantasy literature, beyond the witch archetype, women work magic in a thousand ways and for a thousand reasons. Because of slavery (The Fifth Season, The Forbidden Wish) or for vigilante justice (Slice of Cherry), because of talent (Last Song Before Night) or tradition (Three Dark Crowns), because of a bet (The Night Circus) or a hereditary gift (The City of Brass). Reluctantly (Jade City), mistakenly (The Young Elites), genteelly (Shades of Milk and Honey), cleverly (Passing Strange), with great responsibility (Fire) or great skill (The Mistress of Spices) or great grief (Sorrow’s Knot). Sometimes, the magic they work isn’t even theirs (Monstress).

In 2017, the Sirens theme was women who work magic. Not only women who have magic, but women who work magic. They might work it quietly or shyly or slyly. They might work it with great purpose or great intent or great pride. But these women have power and they use it.

This theme might speak to you in a number of ways. It might be about talent or training or skill. It might be about creation or innovation. It might be about goals and aspirations and drive. It might be about dreams or quests or bargains. It might be about oppression or revolution or revenge. It might be about independence.

And we hope, as we approach this year’s Sirens reunion, that you’ll contemplate women who work magic, as well as the other themes of our past four years, in your reading, your conversations, and your programming proposals.


At Sirens, our reunion years are an opportunity to reexamine the themes of the previous four years, in this case: hauntings, rebels and revolutionaries, lovers, and women who work magic. This is the last post on these themes—but please also know, as you begin to plan your programming proposals, that proposals need not focus entirely or even at all on theme topics. All proposals related to women in fantasy literature are welcome. Get inspired by our 2017 Women Who Work Magic book lists, Suggested Reading and Reading Challenge.

 

Book Club: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Each year, Sirens chair Amy Tenbrink posts monthly reviews of new-to-her books from the annual Sirens reading list. You can find all of her Sirens Book Club reviews at the Sirens Goodreads Group. We invite you to read along and discuss!

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Villain stories are, I think, inherently difficult.

Readers, as a construct, almost always root for the heroine. And why not? She’s inherently good: righting wrongs, battling monsters, usurping despots. She has killer talents: swordplay, magic, leadership. And because fantasy literature is so often aspirational, you know she’s going to prevail. Regardless of whether readers see themselves as the heroines of their own stories, almost everyone wants to take an hour or three to lead the life they would live if they were the heroine of someone else’s.

But hardly anyone envisions themself the villain.

A villain story is, by definition, about the bad guy. Otherwise, the villain wouldn’t be a villain at all, of course, but a deeply conflicted heroine or even an antiheroine. By framing a villain story as a villain story, all the writer has done is cast the villain as the protagonist. The framing itself—good vs. evil, or in this case, the people who eat the hearts of living things vs. those who don’t—remains the same. And the villain is, by definition, on the opposite side of that line from the reader. A reader who, again almost by definition, is rooting for someone else.

To complicate matters further, the question of what makes a woman a villain is deeply conflicting. So often, far too often—especially in young-adult works about female villains—the primary traits that cast the protagonist as a villain are those same traits that we teach young women are profoundly unattractive: rage, ambition, unlikeability, a desire for power, aging. Think back to your fairy tales: How many of those princesses actually sought their power? Craved it? Or alternately, how many were crowned almost accidentally: a fairy godmother and a shoe; an unbidden kiss in the woods; a forbidden curiosity about life on land. What makes a female villain is so often, far too often, a refusal to conform to what society demands: silence, passivity, youth. Which of course raises the necessary question: Are those women even villains at all?

All of which is to say that Forest of a Thousand Lanterns—a retold tale about the rise of the evil queen in Snow White—had a long row to hoe.

Xifeng—our protagonist, but not our heroine—is beautiful. Impossibly beautiful. The sort of beautiful that attracts stares from passersby and commands the attention of the manly Wei, her town’s apprentice blacksmith and amateur swordsman, and eventually will draw the notice of the Emperor. As you might expect in an Evil Queen origin story, much is made of Xifeng’s beauty, both to the reader and to Xifeng herself.

Xifeng lives with her aunt, a power-hungry, magic-practicing village crone named Guma. Guma abuses Xifeng, both emotionally and physically (though always avoiding her face). She’s convinced Xifeng, through blood magic and fortune-telling, that Xifeng is destined to be Empress, so long as she’s willing to sacrifice enough.

What Forest of a Thousand Lanterns never makes quite clear, though, is how inevitable this portent is. Are the cards simply showing the future? Are they showing but one possibility among many? Are they a manipulation of the gods? Are they a trick of Guma’s to bring her niece in line with her lust for power? Is Xifeng a tool—of fate or the gods or her aunt—or is she the master of her own future? Is she merely stepping along the path to her destiny, or making decisions that help her achieve her goal? One hopes for the latter, if only for the sake of agency, but fears that it’s the former, which lends the book an air of plodding inevitability. Did you really think that Xifeng wouldn’t become Empress?

After years of abuse from her aunt, the catalyst for Xifeng’s finally agreeing to flee with Wei is that Guma strikes her face. Something that perhaps Xifeng and this particular retold tale itself take as a greater affront than a different circumstance might warrant, but that, as written, after years of abuse, lacks gravity. Similarly, after years of avoiding Guma’s bloody brand of magic, Xifeng’s catalyst for finally overcoming her squeamishness is, of course, to fix the mark that Guma left on her face. At this point, with the amount of obsessing over a scar, one perhaps longs for an Evil Queen origin story that, for a number of reasons—including, not inconsequentially, a deconstruction of what it means to be beautiful—doesn’t rely quite so heavily on a perfect face. Beauty is frequently a weapon, of course: a distraction, a tactic, an enticement. Both before and after she reaches the imperial palace, Xifeng uses her beauty as all three. But the lack of attention paid to the underlying societal expectations of beauty, especially young women’s beauty, leaves Xifeng something of a silly girl who is willing to eat hearts to maintain her pretty face—and we’re left wondering if, after all this time, a pretty face is still the only way for a woman to get what she wants.

Who is the fairest of them all, indeed?


Amy Tenbrink spends her days handling strategic and intellectual property transactions as an executive vice president for a major media company. Her nights and weekends over the last twenty-five years have involved managing a wide variety of events, including theatrical productions, marching band shows, sporting events, and interdisciplinary conferences. Most recently, she has organized three Harry Potter conferences (The Witching Hour, in Salem, Massachusetts; Phoenix Rising, in the French Quarter of New Orleans; and Terminus, in downtown Chicago) and eight years of Sirens. Her experience includes all aspects of event planning, from logistics and marketing to legal consulting and budget management, and she holds degrees with honors from both the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and the Georgetown University Law Center. She likes nothing so much as monster girls, Weasleys, and a well-planned revolution.

 

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising: Exemplary Programming Proposals

Sirens has a mission: to provide a welcoming space for our attendees to discuss the remarkable, diverse women of fantasy literature. Each year, Sirens raises funds to provide scholarships to help a number of people attend Sirens and add their voices to those conversations. Our scholarship fundraising will continue through March, but this week, we want to highlight the importance of our scholarships for those who submit exemplary programming proposals. Last week, we discussed our scholarships for people of color; future weeks will address scholarships for those with financial hardships, and librarians, educators, and publishing professionals.

Sirens’s programming might be different than anything you’ve seen before.

While many conferences select which topics are worthy of presentation, and which individuals are worthy of presenting those topics, Sirens takes a wholly different approach. We invite everyone attending Sirens to propose programming.

Let us say that again: We invite everyone attending Sirens—regardless of vocation, regardless of age, and regardless of past Sirens attendance—to propose programming.

Each year, dozens of individuals—from readers to scholars to librarians to authors—propose the lectures, papers, panels, workshops, roundtables, and afternoon classes that become the presentations at Sirens. And each year, an independent vetting board, a diverse group of tremendous individuals who know and love Sirens, review those proposals for thoughtfulness and relevance, and then select which to include on that year’s programming schedule.

This process can be intimidating, especially for those new to Sirens: It takes a lot of courage to put your thoughts and analysis out there, first to a review board and then at Sirens itself.

But each year, dozens of individuals, some of them Sirens veterans and some of them first-time attendees, screw their courage to the proverbial sticking place and propose programming—and in doing so, make Sirens smarter, more thoughtful, and just plain better.

And so, each year, we award scholarships to those who submit exemplary programming proposals. A scholarship review committee examines the accepted proposals of those who ask to be considered and selects three proposals to receive a scholarship. Each scholarship includes both a registration and a Sirens Shuttle ticket. There’s no separate application; presenters can opt in for consideration during the programming proposal submissions process.

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

While a thousand conversations happen at Sirens every year, the true vanguard of those discussions are the brave and brilliant individuals who share their wisdom and expertise as part of our programming.

If you can—whether with $5 or a full scholarship of $365—we hope that you’ll help us provide these scholarships!

 

Lovers

Sirens logos 2014-2018, 2016 highlighted

So often, whom we choose to love changes us.

Sometimes for the better: brighter, happier, kinder, more buoyant. Sometimes for the worse: angrier, melancholier, more uncertain, more anguished. Sometimes just different: more confident, more curious, a new passion for dance or art or hiking.

This idea—that your lovers change you—can be true for anyone. Regardless of gender. Regardless of sexuality. Regardless of age, or race, or ability. Regardless of the intensity of physical or emotional connection, or both, or neither. Regardless of whether we have dragon wings or mermaid scales or selkie skin or wolf fur.

Which is why, in 2016, the Sirens theme was lovers.

First kisses. Last loves. Multiple loves. Midnight rendezvous. Forbidden assignations. Thousand-bell weddings. Marriages worth saving, or worth it no longer, or not at all. Discovering sex. Re-discovering sex. Having the best sex of your life. Having no sex at all, and loving someone deeply. A companion—or companions—to last one night or a lifetime.

Love and sex and tumult and desire. Comfort and romance and friendship and home. Ache and wisdom and loss and grief. Life-changing connections. Love as a political act. The idea that what is sexy or romantic means honoring one’s desire, whatever form that may entail.

Fantasy literature explores all of these and more:

  • The naiveté and abstraction of love in children’s books. Medieval worlds in picture books where princesses wait (or increasingly often, don’t) for true love (The Paper Bag Princess) or receive delightfully dangerous courtship gifts (Dangerously Ever After). Or chapter and middle-grade books, where hair-pulling still runs rampant, but magical peril also leads to a grab of a hand: Amira and Sadie’s adventures abound (Princess Princess Ever After), Mary readily forgives Percy’s haplessness (The Case of the Missing Moonstone), and Mal and Molly earn their badges … together (Lumberjanes).

  • The complex intersection of love, identity, and coming-of-age, in the vast array of young-adult novels. From the first flush of first crushes (on uncommonly hot angels, demons, faeries, fellow magicians, and more) to birth-control charms (spells and potions and charms, oh my) and deconstructions of virginity worship (hello, unicorns). When legend says you should fall for the prince, but you fall for his huntress instead (Ash). When Beauty is fiercer than the Beast (Dark Triumph). When loving the Erlkönig comes with both transcendent musical skill and a life underground (Wintersong). When you discover your childhood love is a transgender boy, and your love for him never wavers (When the Moon was Ours). When you realize that love can be possessive, destructive, even fatal—especially combined with a young woman’s beauty (Bone Gap). Or when years later, you come across a reading of a beloved lady knight’s aromanticism (the Protector of the Small series).

  • The gamut of adult works exploring love, romance, and sex in all its forms and possibilities. From fantastic erotica to late-in-life second chances with the witch of your dreams. From paranormal romance to epic intergenerational sagas featuring main characters with one, multiple or no lovers at all. Redwood’s lifetime love of Wildfire (Redwood and Wildfire). A delicate tale of lesbian love in historical San Francisco (Passing Strange). Emras’s revelation of her asexuality, as part of her identity as well as her profession (Banner of the Damned). The conflagration of Tita’s passions (Like Water for Chocolate). Hero and Cherry’s tale of love and revolution (The One Hundred Nights of Hero). Syenite, Alabaster, and Innon’s unstigmatized and loving polyamorous relationship (The Fifth Season).

While we always celebrate love in its many forms, we hope that, as we approach this year’s Sirens reunion, you’ll reconsider the role of love and sex, as well as the other themes of our past four years, in your reading, your conversations, and your programming proposals.


At Sirens, our reunion years are an opportunity to reexamine the themes of the previous four years, in this case: hauntings, rebels and revolutionaries, lovers, and women who work magic. Please look for more posts on these themes in the upcoming weeks—but please also know, as you begin to plan your programming proposals, that proposals need not focus entirely or even at all on theme topics. All proposals related to women in fantasy literature are welcome. Get inspired by our 2016 Lovers book lists, Suggested Reading and Reading Challenge.

 

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising: People of Color

Sirens has a mission: to provide a welcoming space for our attendees to discuss the remarkable, diverse women of fantasy literature. Each year, Sirens raises funds to provide scholarships to help a number of people attend Sirens and add their voices to those conversations. Our scholarship fundraising will continue through March, but this week, we want to highlight the importance of our scholarships for people of color. Future weeks will address scholarships for those who submit exemplary programming proposals; those with financial hardships; and librarians, educators, and publishing professionals.

Sirens is built on a thousand conversations. We have specifically designed Sirens to be an interdisciplinary conference, where a reader’s interpretation of a book is just as important as an author’s intent in writing it, where a scholar can learn from a librarian, and where a teacher and a bookseller can collaborate on a course curriculum for learning through fantasy literature.

But also critical to those conversations are diversity and inclusiveness. Are people of all genders, all sexualities, all races, all religions, all national origins, and all abilities welcome not only at Sirens, but in those conversations? Are they able to both speak and be heard? Are their voices critical to not only their own Sirens experience, but to everyone’s Sirens experience?

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

Over our decade of presenting Sirens, we have learned that, while some voices are readily welcomed and readily heard, other voices—such as those of people of color—are too often lost in the crowd, tuned out, or silenced entirely.

Too often, conferences—even in our speculative spaces where authors can and do write impossible worlds full of magic and wonder—are overwhelmingly white. Too often, the voices at these conferences—guests of honor, presenters, conference staff, volunteers—are overwhelmingly white. Too often, conferences make a broad commitment to diversity, but don’t follow through to make that commitment real. It can be exceptionally difficult for people of color to enter, participate, and be heard in those spaces, let alone play a critical role in them.

One actionable way for our community to increase inclusivity at Sirens is to provide scholarships to help people of color attend. This year, we are seeking funds to provide three people of color with both a Sirens registration and a round-trip Sirens Shuttle ticket. Once funded, we will provide these scholarships to Con or Bust, a tremendous organization that provides assistance to fans of color/non-white fans who wish to attend science fiction/fantasy cons. Con or Bust will allocate these scholarships in accordance with its rules.

Sirens is built on a thousand conversations. But the value of those conversations—and the value of the community born of those conversations—is built on the diversity of voices that participate in those conversations.

If you can—whether with $5 or a full scholarship of $365—we hope that you’ll help us provide these scholarships!

 

Rebels and Revolutionaries

Sirens logos 2014-2018, 2015 highlighted

We need a revolution.

Our world has been designed to diminish women and nonbinary people. Societal traditions, expectations, and structures prefer commanding, charismatic men—and women who are silent, passive, pretty, chaste. So often, other people control not only our opportunities, our ambitions, and our compensation, but everything even more fundamental: our bodies, our stories, our power, our value. Others get to be heroes, leaders, players, while we are somehow lesser: mothers, wives, daughters, sidekicks, love interests, sluts. At best, we are a relationship in someone else’s story. At worst, we are erased.

We need a revolution.

And in 2015, Sirens chose rebels and revolutionaries as its theme.

Want a matriarchal line of rulers? A fantasy author wrote that. How about a failing matriarchal line? An evil queen? A displaced monarch relentlessly working to regain their place with their people? Fantasy authors wrote those, too. Want a different society? One where all genders are equal, or women are responsible for commerce or diplomacy or war, or war isn’t necessary because a nonbinary diplomat brokered peace? Fantasy authors wrote those. Want stories where gender isn’t binary or isn’t important or is so vitally important because someone on the page—a woman or a nonbinary person somewhere on a page—is doing something that our real-world society doesn’t allow? Fantasy authors have written legions of them. Legions of stories filled with complex, complicated people, who make choices, who rise and rule our way, with our skills and our goals.

If you want a revolution, look at what the authors of fantasy literature are writing today. Revolutions led by female or nonbinary characters, about gender, over repressed people’s rights, in order to place a new ruler on the throne. Revolutions that failed, revolutions that succeeded, and revolutions that succeeded in an unexpected way. Noisy, violence-filled revolutions and quietly convincing revolutions and everything you can imagine in between.

And then perhaps go a step further. Every year at Sirens we discuss reading our own revolution. We read widely, diversely, inclusively. We question what is published, reviewed, and available in bookstores and libraries—and then demand more. We seek female and nonbinary fantasy authors’ works and the works of female and nonbinary scholars. We talk to librarians and teachers. If our local independent bookstore doesn’t have what we want, we order it.

Sirens chose rebels and revolutionaries as a theme because every one of you, every single day, is the revolution.

In founding Sirens, we knew what we wanted: a place where people can, without shame or irony, declare themselves queens, dragon-masters, generals. A place where people aren’t constrained by what our real-world society demands. A light in a world that frequently excludes us. A blazing sun devoted to discussion, debate, and celebration of the remarkable diverse possibilities of fantasy literature.

And a community. A thoughtful, smart, warm community that welcomes people of all genders, sexualities, races, abilities, and identities. A community that discusses, with respect, what fantasy literature by and about women and nonbinary people has done—and what it can and should do in the future.

We are the revolution.

And as we approach this year’s Sirens reunion, we hope that you’ll contemplate rebels and revolutionaries, as well as the other themes of our past four years, in your reading, your conversations, and your programming proposals.


At Sirens, our reunion years are an opportunity to reexamine the themes of the previous four years, in this case: hauntings, rebels and revolutionaries, lovers, and women who work magic. Please look for more posts on these themes in the upcoming weeks—but please also know, as you begin to plan your programming proposals, that proposals need not focus entirely or even at all on theme topics. All proposals related to women in fantasy literature are welcome. Get inspired by our 2015 Rebels and Revolutionaries book lists, Suggested Reading and Reading Challenge.

 

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising

Thank you to everyone who donated generously to fund our scholarships this year. Our fundraising for our 2018 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.

In 2018, because of the generosity of the Sirens community, we are pleased to offer twelve scholarships across four categories: people of color, those submitting exemplary programming proposals, those with financial hardships, and librarians, educators, and publishing professionals. Please see our scholarships page for more information and how to apply.

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

Sirens has a mission: to provide a welcoming space for our attendees to discuss the remarkable women of fantasy literature.

As part of that mission, we specifically craft Sirens to include and amplify the many brilliant voices of our attendees. Our greatest hope is that these voices will represent both different perspectives—reader, scholar, educator, librarian, author—and individuals of different genders, sexualities, races, religions, and abilities.

Each year, we invite the Sirens community to help make attendance possible for a number of individuals. As in past years, these scholarships will support people of color, those submitting exemplary programming proposals, and those with financial hardships. This year, we are also offering scholarships to librarians, educators, and publishing professionals. These perspectives are critical to our conversations, and these individuals sometimes find it difficult to attend without additional support.

We are asking for your help! We want to provide twelve Sirens scholarships this year. To do so, we need to raise almost $4,400. That amount will provide a Sirens registration and a round-trip Sirens Shuttle ticket to each recipient.

We know that, just like in previous years, our community can make Sirens possible for others.

 

Scholarship Donors

Anonymous (9 donors)
Cora Anderson & Justin Pava
Julie Artz
Aura
Karen Bailey
Meg Belviso
Sarah Benoot
Zachary Bernheimer
Faye Bi
Edith Hope Bishop
In Memory of Nellie Blair
Brandi
Beowulf Brews
Sabrina Chin
Claire Coates
Collin
Lindsay Eagar
Charis M. Ellison
Francesca Forrest
Michelle Frogge
Gabriel Family
Suzi Rogers Gruber
Hallie
Christine Hanolsy
Rosamund Hodge
Amanda Hudson
Jaylee James
Joy
Jae Young Kim
Manda Lewis
Catherine Lundoff
S.M. Mack
Virginia McAnulty
Cass Morris
Tina Myers
Jo and Susie O’Brien
Keena Roberts
Sharon
Jennifer Shimada
Simon
Dr. Angela Slatter
Amy Tenbrink
Emma Whitney

 

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 scholarships 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. This year, we’d again like to recognize three exemplary programming proposals with scholarships. These are merit-based scholarships, and will be selected by a committee. (The selection committee may, in cases where an exemplary proposal has multiple presenters requesting scholarship support, elect to share the award across multiple presenters.)

  • 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 three selected recipients with a scholarship, in the hopes that this will enable them to attend Sirens in the fall. Recipients will be chosen randomly from those who seek assistance.

  • Professionals
    Librarians, educators, and publishing professionals so often provide exceptional services to book-loving communities—and are, especially at the beginning of their careers or when working for underserved populations, so often paid poorly for their efforts. Therefore, this year, we would like to raise funds to allow one librarian, one educator, and one publishing professional to attend Sirens. Their work—and their voices—are critically important to our conversations.

 

Why doesn’t Sirens fund the scholarships?

Sirens endeavors to keep the cost of Sirens as low as possible for everyone. Each year, we raise thousands of dollars in donations, auction proceeds, and other fundraising to cover the cost of presenting Sirens itself—costs that include not only overhead items like audiovisual equipment and insurance, but also a portion of individual attendee costs like food and registration t-shirts.

We could simply raise our registration prices. But instead, we suppress our registration prices—and then ask those who are able to pay more to donate, to purchase auction items, and to fund scholarships. We hope that, if you can, you’ll help us raise these funds!

 

New Fantasy Books: March 2018

We’re excited to bring you a roundup of March 2018 fantasy book releases by and about women and nonbinary folk. Let us know what you’re looking forward to in the comments!

 

As always, we’d love to hear from you. If you’ve sold a fantasy work, read a great recently-released story, discovered a fantastic link that we missed, or if you’ve got a book or story review to share, feel free to leave a comment below!

 

Presented by Narrate Conferences, Inc.

 

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