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Archive for 2021

2021 Book Club

If you’ve been a part of the Sirens community for at least a year or two, you know that we offer an annual reading challenge based largely upon the works of our upcoming guests of honor, our upcoming theme, and newly released speculative works by women, nonbinary, and trans authors. Given the postponement of our 2020 conference to 2021, however, we covered much of that ground for our 2021 conference back in 2020.

So we jumped at the chance to do something slightly different in 2021: a reading challenge that really gets to the heart of Sirens, full of books that we think exemplify the mission of Sirens itself.

Sirens is a space that actively seeks to amplify voices that are pushing boundaries in speculative spaces—and specifically, are pushing those boundaries in the direction of a more inclusive, more empathetic, more just world. This year, we carefully considered what that means to us, and we’ve selected 25 works by female, nonbinary, and trans authors envisioning that world. We find that these works demonstrate the true wonder of what speculative spaces can be—and what our real world can also be. When we ask ourselves what Sirens is, and what Sirens could be, we look to these works and others like them.

Given how important these works are to Sirens, we want to offer all of you the chance to discuss just a few of them throughout the course of the year. We hope you’ll join us at 2-3 p.m. Eastern Time on the last Sunday of each month, starting in March and ending in August, as we examine and debate one book a month from our 2021 Reading Challenge.

We Set the Dark on Fire

Our inaugural session will be March 28 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Our first book discussion will be about We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia. And if you’d like to join us, please email us at (help AT sirensconference.org) to be added to our list; for safety and security reasons, we’ll be emailing the link out to interested folks closer to the discussion date.

We hope to see you there!


Hello!

March 2021 seems like such an impossible thing.

We’re a year into our COVID-19 quarantine. A year of at-home isolation, punctuated only by necessary, fear-filled trips outside. 500,000 Americans lost, so many of them our loved ones, our coworkers, our neighbors. Gratefully seeing friends and family through the wonders of technology, but having the chance to hold them only in the rarest of circumstances. Frantically trying to get our parents, grandparents, immunocompromised friends, and frontline workers a vaccine, any vaccine. Attempting to survive working at home, schooling at home, just being constantly at home, trapped in the abyss of our anxiety and desolation.

Wondering when things might be, if not normal, at least bearable.

Yeast and flour are back, but now bacon is unpredictable and finding unflavored gelatin requires some magic and a miracle. We can all stop hoarding toilet paper and bleach wipes (whew), and Bath and Body Works now has a steady supply of pocket-sized hand sanitizers, even if sometimes the options include Vampire Blood (…what?). We’ve all learned to navigate at least four different video conferencing platforms and, as we’ve adjusted to the horrors of hours upon hours of video conferencing, we’ve also learned the wonders of the under-desk elliptical. We own more than one nap dress (goes from work to nap back to work!) and we’ve started calling non-stretchy clothes “Outside Clothes.” We’ve stopped dyeing our hair because no one has time for gender performativity. We bake killer bread now.

We have no idea when this will end.

And into all this comes Sirens.

We had the same 2020 that you did, of course, but on top of the working from home, the schooling at home, the fear to leave home, the misery of having to stay home, we planned Sirens at Home. It was—as the 500 people who attended Sirens at Home already know—wonderful, glorious, a safe harbor of community in a year of awfulness.

But it was a lot. So we took a break. A really long break.

And now we’re back.

We don’t know what 2021 will hold. We’re optimistic, always, that we’ll be together this October, discussing gender and speculative spaces with both old and brand-new friends. Vaccine numbers are looking up and we’re considering on-site protocols that might make everyone safer. If worse comes to worst, we know now how to throw an event online.

But we’re going to plan like it’s 2019 and Sirens is happening in person, in Denver, this October. Some of our plans have been in place since last year, but we have so much more to do:

  • Reintroduce you to our guests of honor for 2021: Kinitra D. Brooks, Rin Chupeco, Sarah Gailey, and Fonda Lee, and our 2021 Sirens Studio guest of honor, Joamette Gil
  • A second round of programming submissions later this spring
  • Awarding thirteen scholarships that the astounding Sirens community funded last fall
  • Trying to figure out if, since we missed a year, all of you are likely to buy twice as many books from our bookstore in October
  • Creating this year’s one-of-a-kind auction
  • And some pretty exciting surprises that we have coming up even before October

We invite you to reconnect with us, check out our Twitter or Facebook, and keep an eye on this News page for all our exciting announcements. Because what gets us through, every time, is our community, our found family, and all of you.

So we’re planning on seeing you at Sirens this fall!

New Fantasy Books: February 2021

We’re excited to bring you a roundup of February 2021 fantasy book releases by and about women and nonbinary folk. Let us know what you’re looking forward to, or any titles that we’ve missed, in the comments!
 

New Fantasy Books: November 2020 – January 2021

We’re excited to bring you a roundup of November 2020 through January 2021 fantasy book releases by and about women and nonbinary folk. Let us know what you’re looking forward to, or any titles that we’ve missed, in the comments!
 

Presented by Narrate Conferences, Inc.

 

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