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Our Annual Programming Series, Part Three: Papers

In part one of this series, we discussed some general information on programming. In part two, we detailed different ways to structure your proposal. Not sure what to present? Consider these perspectives. Our next few posts will show you how to prepare proposals for each type of programming. In this post: papers!

We’re going to use “paper” as shorthand, but please note that this post applies to other sorts of talks, lectures, and presentations.

This presentation style can range from a formal reading of a prepared paper to a more relaxed speech, where the presenter refers to notes to make her points. The presenter can go solo or work with others on a paper, or several presenters can read short papers as a set.

If your topic…

  • documents patterns
  • looks for hidden, subtle, or alternative meanings
  • brings together knowledge from different areas to expand on what’s in the books you’ve read
  • compares and contrasts works, characters, or authors
  • reports on research
  • uses a specific lens for interpreting literature or art
  • presents meta!
  • or critiques literature, media, themes, or approaches

…it could make a fantastic paper.

This is a good presentation style if you prefer to speak from a pre-written paper or speech, and it’s especially good if you need to lay significant groundwork for your audience, be persuasive, or delve into information that your audience might be unfamiliar with.

A group of several people may submit pre-empaneled papers, meaning that those papers have some connection, no matter how small, and the group would like to share a 50-minute time block for presenting. The only difference in the submission process is that person who begins the proposal in the system will need to provide a title and summary for the group as a whole, as well as the email addresses for all co-panelists, who will be contacted separately to provide their information. Each presenter in the pre-empaneled group will need to provide an individual biography, summary, and abstract.

Presenters may choose either 25-minute or 50-minute time blocks, which will include your reading or speech as well as any discussion and questions from (or for!) the audience. For pre-empaneled papers with more than two presenters, we’ll give you extra time, and contact you about the time block at a later time.

If you’ll be reading from what you’ve prepared in advance, a 6- to 10-page double-spaced paper is about right for the 25-minute time block; assume a range of 2,000 to 3,000 words. For a 50-minute time block, assume a little less than twice that to leave time for discussion and to catch your breath or take a drink of water. Of course, it depends also on how fast you speak, whether you take time out for explanations, and so on, so determine in advance whether you need to err or the short side to make it to the conclusion during your allotted time.

 

Getting Started

As with other types of presentations, you’ll need to choose your focus, as well as a target for how long you’ll need to present your thoughts. From there, you’ll need to put together a strong abstract. (You don’t have to write a complete paper to turn in; we won’t ask for it at all, unless you’d like to be published in the conference compendium.)

 

Personal Information to Gather

  1. Your contact information (which is not shared with the vetting board). All correspondence about your proposal will be sent via email, so make sure to use an address that you’ll have through the end of 2017 and that you check regularly. Please add (programming at sirensconference.org) to your safe sender list so that correspondence is delivered to your inbox.
  2. Name to be published for presenter on website, schedule, and program. While we ask for some personal information to allow our registrar to confirm your status as a registered attendee, we know you might want to use a different name for your presentation, whether that’s a pseudonym, an online handle, or a formal name that you use professionally. (Please note that we drop titles on our schedule and with presentation summaries, but you’re welcome to note titles and professional credentials in your biography.) The “name to be published” will be the name we show to the vetting board, programming volunteers, and other attendees.
  3. If you are starting a proposal for a group of pre-empaneled papers, you’ll need the email addresses of the other presenters. You won’t give us the names, biographies, or abstracts of your other presenters; we’ll send them an email request for that information. Your other presenters will need to respond to the information request email for your pre-empaneled papers to be considered, so please let your co-presenters know that this email is on the way and ask them to reply no later than the programming submission deadline. As with the rest of your information, presenters’ emails must be provided before your proposal is reviewed; you can’t submit a panel of papers and find other presenters only after (or if) the panel is approved. Also, please note that the presenter submitting the initial proposal will be the de facto moderator and point of contract for the pre-empaneled papers.
  4. Your biography. Tell us, in under 100 words, a little about you. A couple of sentences work fine! You can explain any experience, studies, or long-term interest in your topic; tell us where you’re going to school; or what you do as a job or as a hobby. If you’d like to highlight any professional affiliation that you may have, such as a university or employer, please do so here. Shorter is better, because space is limited.

 

Proposal Information to Gather

  1. Title. Remember that this title will be shown to the vetting board, so neither “Untitled” nor “TBA” is a good title idea! On the other hand, you don’t have to come up with something witty—just explain what the paper, lecture, or presentation is about.
  2. A summary of no more than 100 words. This is the very short version of your presentation that will be published in the program book and on the Sirens website. The summary gives you the chance to attract an audience who will be interested in hearing your paper. It should be concise, written for a general audience (in other words, avoid slang and jargon, if you can), and give people a sense of your perspective on the topic.Here are a few examples from past papers that we think are excellent:

    This presentation examines Holly Black’s and Melissa Marr’s works of faerie fantasy and explores how each author’s series complicates and/or subverts faerie tale conventions both to deconstruct gender binaries and to resist new (and equally constraining) reconstructions of gender roles. Through their respective reimaginings of faerie tale narratives, Black and Marr effectively problematize the traditional dualities of the faerie tale: good and evil, virtue and vice, self and other, and—most particularly—masculine and feminine.

    The myths and legends of India and many of its neighbors feature beautiful snake women and cannibal demons, celestial dancers, and nature spirits, most of whom are largely unknown in the West. Through storytelling, discussion, and slides from popular Indian comic books, we will introduce the magical and monstrous women of South Asian tales, with a focus on the fluidity and ambiguity of their classification as monstrous or simply supernatural.

    This essay examines the way in which Angela Carter and Karen Russell recast the historical rehabilitation of savage girls in their respective short fictions, “Wolf-Alice” and “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.” These narratives, along with poetry by Janet McAdams and Bhanu Kapil, will serve as imaginative interrogations of the gendered pedagogy that informed the attempted re-educations of Marie-Angélique Leblanc, the Wild Girl of Champagne, in the eighteenth century—and Kamala and Amala, the so-called Wolf Girls of India, in the twentieth century.

    Many first-person novels use the conceit that the book itself is being written by the narrator. Fewer make that act of writing an integral part of the plot. In C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces, Orual’s telling of her own story transforms her, as she comes to understand how she has been telling stories to control others and justify herself all her life. Her journey becomes an exploration of the ways in which stories are inherently participatory and transformative—and sometimes redemptive.

    Henry James’s “The Turn of the Screw” is known for being a ghost story, but it is also a love story. This paper looks at both love story and ghost story, and at the three couples that feature in them: Uncle and Governess; Miles and Flora; Quint and Miss Jessel. In doing so it hopes to discover exactly what kind of dangers the ghosts of Bly—an abandoned woman and a thoughtless rake—represent to the heroine.

    The women of Melina Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles are queens and pawns, survivors and victims, exiles and prisoners, young and old. This paper will explore how the author complicates traditional narratives of male heroism by offering alternative narratives of female political leadership through the stories of Isaboe, Quintana, and Phaedra. It will compare and contrast their leadership styles and journeys, and consider how their leadership and power is influenced by their age, sexuality, and romantic relationships.

    For more examples, please check out the archives of past years’ presentations.

  3. An abstract of no more than 500 words. An abstract is a complete—but very short!—version of your presentation. For a paper or lecture, it should outline the topic you plan to address and points for discussion, explain your analysis and conclusion, and point to major sources or theories that have influenced your thinking. Here are a couple of resources you might use to put together a brief but cohesive abstract section for your proposal—just keep in mind that details may differ:

 

More tips:

Most abstracts range from 100 to 300 words, though they can be up to 500 words, and are 1–3 paragraphs long. Aim for about 300–350 words, and at least a good, solid paragraph, unless you need more space to explain a theory or cite sources.

Your abstract should not be the same as your proposal summary. An abstract is the part of your proposal where you get a little more room to convince the vetting board that your presentation should be chosen. It is the short version of your eventual paper, and should be able to stand alone. A good abstract will include your thesis or approach, supporting details or arguments, and most importantly, your results, recommendations, or conclusion. The vetting board wants you to spoil the ending! (In a summary, you probably want to write something more like book jacket copy, but for the abstract, summarize the plot.) And don’t forget to explain how you’d use projection, if your presentation depends on having it available.

“See my other proposal for X [biography, summary, alternate abstract]” may result in a declined presentation. The vetting board members may not have access to your other proposal for a variety of reasons: it could be on hold while collaborators check in, and the board members may not yet be reviewing your other proposal or they may simply decide they are unwilling to search through the proposals to do this comparison for you. Take a moment to copy and paste in your information again.

Make sure that your proposal is complete. The vetting board wants to know that you have a clear plan. No “maybe we’ll do this, or maybe someone in the audience will suggest something, or if you want, I could do this or that.” There’s a difference between allowing room for audience participation and not having a plan!

Have a volunteer who is willing to provide you with honest feedback look over your proposal, both to proofread it and to offer suggestions for organization, focus, and purpose. Remember, the vetting board won’t see your entire paper, and they won’t know if you’re the most engaging speaker to present in a hundred years. They’ll decide whether to accept or decline your presentation based on your summary and abstract.

 

Audio-Visual Requests

  • Paper presenters are routinely provided with microphones, and we request that presenters use the microphone to assist the audience in hearing the entire presentation.
  • A table and podium will be available, allowing you to stand or sit down.
  • You can make a request for an LCD projector (with computer), but please remember that we prioritize use of equipment for visually-oriented presentations, and consider what you might do if extra audio-visual support isn’t available. We’re typically able to provide this support for papers, lectures, and presentations—we just can’t guarantee it at the time we notify presenters of acceptance. If you desire projection, be sure to explain how you’ll use it in your proposal.
  • Presentation rooms have an easel and a small dry erase board as standard equipment.
  • Some presenters will bring several copies of a handout to pass around and then collect email addresses of those who would like a copy after the conference, which saves room in everybody’s suitcase and is environmentally friendly. We approve!

 

FAQ about Proposals for Papers, Lectures, and Presentations

What are the requirements for presenting? Do I have to be a teacher or scholar?
Our only requirement is that you be eligible to attend Sirens, which means that you must be at least 18 years old by October 26, 2017. We have no academic or professional requirements, and in the past we’ve received excellent presentations from high school students, grandmothers, professors, musicians, fans, and teachers, among others. Remember—your voice is important.

What is the proposal deadline?
May 8, 2017.

Do you accept all papers/presentations?
No; we forward all proposals to the vetting board, which selects the papers that will be accepted for Sirens.

If my paper is declined, can you tell me why?
Unfortunately, we can’t. We simply have too many proposals, and we don’t ask the vetting board members to write up formal feedback. We can say, however, that proposals are never declined because they include unpopular opinions or controversial takes, or on the basis of personal relationships; the board is designed so that no single person accepts or declines a submission. In the past, we’ve found ourselves in the lucky position of having more excellent ideas than we could include, and that will likely be true in the future as well.

Should I contact the vetting board about my paper/presentation?
Please do not contact the vetting board members about your proposal. It puts them in a very awkward position. They make their decisions confidentially, and can’t answer questions about the status of your presentation. Instead, please write to (programming at sirensconference.org) if you have questions. We’re happy to help!

How many proposals can I make?
As many as you like. However, we want to emphasize that one or two presentations is a good maximum number that enables you to be part of the presenting side and part of the listening side, so we recommend that you focus on just one or two proposals that you’re most excited about.

What if I make a proposal and it’s accepted, but I can’t come?
If you find out that you won’t be able to attend before May 8, 2017, you do have the option of withdrawing. After that, we strongly encourage you to advertise on Twitter and Facebook for a proxy reader: someone who will be attending Sirens and can read your paper in your place. In order to complete our schedule as quickly as possible—so that we have the necessary lead time to make arrangements for equipment, so that we can proofread and publish the final schedule, and so on—we do not keep a waiting list for presenters. And it’s always a disappointment to have to cancel your presentation.

Can I change the title of my paper later? Can I change the format or focus of my presentation?
If you provide us with the information before the paper is passed on to the vetting board, then yes, you may make changes to the title or summary, as long as the focus of your paper is not substantially changed. We will ask you for a final confirmation upon acceptance, and you will have a short time to make updates before the information is published and final.

You may not make major changes to your presentation’s direction or format once it has been given to the vetting board; the proposal that you entered is the one that the board reviewed. If you wish to make substantial changes to your presentation, and it is earlier than May 8, 2017, please write us to withdraw your existing presentation, and then create a new one through the submissions system.

Can I request a specific day and time for my presentation?
Unfortunately, no. While we will take certain immovable factors into account, like presenting at another conference during the same weekend, we have so many presenters and constraints that we’re unable to take scheduling requests. The schedule depends on our ability to create thematic tracks of presentations, our need to accommodate presenters with multiple presentations, any restrictions on space and available hours, and availability of audio-visual equipment. You should expect your presentation to occur on October 27 or 28, 2017.

Do you “track” presentations?
We make an attempt to schedule presentations into morning and afternoon tracks by theme and by type of presentation, and sometimes by format and audio-visual needs. The advantage here is that an attendee could spend half a day absorbed in a topic or theme without needing to move from room to room. That’s not always possible, of course, because of the different styles of presentation and the variety of topics in a given year, as well as the schedules of guests and volunteers, and other logistical concerns, but we do try not to schedule two presentations on closely related topics at the same time, whenever possible.

How can I connect with other presenters or collaborators?
Please feel free to tag @sirens_con on Twitter and to post on Facebook to suggest ideas that you’d like to see someone propose, to search for collaborators, and to brainstorm topics.

Questions? Concerns? Please email general queries to (help at sirensconference.org) and questions about programming to (programming at sirensconference.org).

Quick links:

Programming Overview
Call for Proposals/Guidelines/Additional Preparation Information/Submit a Proposal
Past Conferences Archive

Specific Questions for the Programming Team: Email (programming at sirensconference.org)

If you’re looking for co-presenters, why not place an ad on Facebook, leave a comment here, or tag us on Twitter so we can retweet?

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 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.

Our Annual Programming Series, Part Two

See part one for general information on programming, including who can participate, how it’s selected, and where to find the information you’ll need to make a proposal.
 
Once you have an idea for a topic or two to present, you’ll need to decide on a format for your presentation. This post describes different presentation styles and offers some basic guidelines and tips for preparing proposals.
 
Sirens programming typically includes:

Papers, Lectures, and Presentations

You might have written an essay, a research paper, an article, or an in-depth blog post that could become the basis for a paper, lecture, talk, or presentation. Most of the time, you’ll need to do some research and reading, and at minimum, you’ll need to come with speaking notes for yourself, even if you choose not to write a more formal paper. If you have a lot of information to present to an audience, a paper/lecture/presentation is probably the best presentation fit. It’s also a good presentation style choice for people who like to think things through in advance, and for people who like to organize and express their thoughts in writing or through reading. Analyses, research, comparisons, perspectives from literary and non-literary fields, theories, histories, arguments, deconstructions, critiques, and the like work well here.
 
Time allotted: 25 or 50 minutes for reading and any questions or discussion
 
A/V availability: Microphones will be provided. LCD projection will probably be available; however, projection is provided on a most-needed basis and not announced until after the final schedule is complete, so it’s best to plan your paper, lecture, or presentation as though you won’t be able to show slides, just in case. If you do wish to use projection, be sure to note in your proposal how and why you’d use it to support your presentation, so we can use that information when arranging equipment.
 
If projection is offered once the schedule is complete, you’re welcome to use it even if you didn’t request it!
 
Other considerations:

  • We don’t require you to write a paper, or to turn in your paper to Sirens, but we strongly encourage you to prepare a written document. It’s helpful to have some text even if you plan to wing it during your presentation and speak more informally. The paper will be eligible for inclusion and publication in the post-conference compendium.
     
  • Papers are usually written by a single author, but co-authors and author groups are welcome! At least one author must attend the conference to make the presentation.
     
  • Prepare for a 25- or 50-minute time block. If you include 5–10 minutes for questions and discussion following the presentation, that’s roughly 6–10 double-spaced pages (or 2000–3000 words) for the 25-minute block, and 10–15 double-spaced pages (or 3000–5000 words) for the 50-minute block.
     

Pre-empaneled Papers

If you and your friends, colleagues, or acquaintances have a set of papers, lectures, essays, or speeches, and you would like to offer these as a group (or you want to ensure that you present sequentially as part of the same time block), you may present these as pre-empaneled papers by submitting a single proposal. The information about papers above applies here as well. We encourage pre-empaneled papers to have a connecting theme—a particular author or series, depictions of female warriors in graphic novels, gender in fairy stories, subverted monster tropes, analyses of character relationships in fantasy, and so on. Another idea might be to take on different approaches to the same subject, such as the application of different theories to the reading of a story, or different professional approaches and reactions to that story. You could combine two or three essays about justice, or economics, or organization in fantasy. There are lots of ways to approach pre-empaneled papers!
 
Time allotted: 50 minutes; however, sets of three or more papers may be allotted additional time
 
A/V availability: Microphones will be provided. LCD projection will probably be available; however, projection is provided on a most-needed basis and not announced until after the final schedule is complete, so it’s best to plan your paper, lecture, or presentation as though you won’t be able to show slides, just in case. If you do wish to use projection, be sure to note in your proposal how and why you’d use it to support your presentation, so we can use that information when arranging equipment.
 
If projection is offered once the schedule is complete, you’re welcome to use it even if you didn’t request it!
 
Other considerations:

  • One member of your group will make the initial proposal, and provide information about their own paper and the group’s overarching theme, if any; then, the other group members will be contacted for more information about their individual parts of the presentation, including their individual proposal abstracts.
     
  • The structure and use of the 50-minute period for reading and questions is up to the panel.
     
  • A set of pre-empaneled papers can have an active or an inactive moderator. An active moderator might lead a brief question-and-answer period for each paper, or ask questions of all of the panelists between their presentations. An inactive moderator might be the point of contact for the panel, and during the conference, they might just introduce each panelist and paper in turn. The moderator might make only a very brief statement on the topic and then introduce the panelists for longer speeches, or they might also act as a panelist and deliver their own lecture or paper. The structure is up to the group.
     
  • We recommend that 2–3 papers, lectures, or presentations (or some combination) be included in a set of pre-empaneled papers. That gives you time to read your papers—or excerpts from your papers—and time for discussion. If you have three or more presenters, we will give you more time for your presentation than the 50-minute time block.
     

Panels

Panels are discussions among 3–5 people. For the most part, the panel’s moderator directs the discussion: they ask questions of the panelists and ask follow-up questions to keep the conversation flowing; they ensure that each panelist has the chance to speak; they have plenty of provocative questions to ask to fill silences; and they keep everyone on topic and on time. The moderator is also the one to decide whether and when to take questions from the audience during the presentation. Panels are great choices for topics that benefit from multiple perspectives or types of expertise, for people who—though they’ll prepare in advance—like to share information through discussion, and for people who enjoy asking questions of and moderating a small group, rather than a large one. Panels are best suited for gathering several people with relevant experience in an area, for weighing pros and cons, for sharing very different viewpoints, for debating, and so on.
 
Time allotted: 50 minutes
 
A/V availability: Microphones will be provided (panelists may have to share). Because the panel is focused on discussion, projection is less likely to be available than it might be for other types of presentations. You’re welcome to request it; however, please remember that LCD projectors are prioritized for presentations where visual examples are an integral part of the session. (If you need to have a lot of visuals, your group might prefer to propose a presentation; each person could provide a few minutes of information and discussion on your topic.) If you do wish to use projection, be sure to note in your proposal how and why you’d use it to support your presentation, so we can use that information when arranging equipment.
 
Other considerations:

  • One member of the panel will make the initial proposal, provide the general summary and abstract for the panel, and serve as the de facto moderator and contact person for the panel. Then, the other group members will be contacted to provide a supplemental abstract or other analytic response to the panel abstract, as well as their personal information. When panelists respond to the invitation to join the panel, they’ll review the panel’s main summary, abstract, and any sample questions, and then be asked to respond to the abstract/theme or to provided questions.
     
  • It’s okay to wrap up early if the panel comes to a natural stopping point, but the moderator and panelists should prepare for at least 35–40 minutes of discussion, with significantly more time devoted to panelist discussion than audience questions.
     
  • The majority of the discussion should be generated by the moderator and panelists, rather than drawn from audience questions. Panelists are the experts—if you will, the guests on the talk show. They should think about the panel topic in advance, make notes if necessary, and consider bringing their own questions for the other panelists. To put it another way, the strongest panels come from having prepared a good discussion to fill at least 2/3 of the time, and then letting the audience build upon the discussion with questions, rather than leaving the structure to the mercy of audience questions!
     

Roundtable Discussions

Roundtable discussions involve everyone at the presentation. In a roundtable discussion, the moderator comes prepared with a set of open-ended questions to be answered by the audience. The discussion is the purpose of the presentation; the moderator engages the audience members and directs the conversation. Roundtable discussions might work best when they’re constructed in such a way that an attendee doesn’t have to be an expert on the topic to participate; they seem to work best for broader topics, where attendees can offer up examples from many sources. (A good way of thinking about it might be that friendships in a specific set of books could become the basis for a good paper, and friendships in fantasy in general might work better for a roundtable.) This style of presentation can be a great choice for people who like to listen, but aren’t afraid to jump in to keep things on topic. Be prepared: Discussions can range from docile to very spirited! Roundtable discussions are well-suited to open-ended questions on subjective analyses, book/character explorations, and conversations where the audience’s knowledge and opinions are of highest importance.
 
Time allotted: 50 minutes
 
A/V availability: No microphones or projection are provided for roundtables; these presentations are scheduled for smaller rooms and a limited audience. We do provide a small dry-erase board and marker.
 
Other considerations:

  • A roundtable discussion can have only one moderator. We’ve found that the discussions flow more easily when there is just one person acting as moderator, and that the discussions are much better received by the participants when they have only one person “in charge.”
     
  • We recommend preparing at least ten thoughtful, open-ended questions and follow-ups to fill a 50-minute block. You’ll probably find that this is plenty—your audience will often have questions of their own to pose—but you can, of course, prepare a few extras.
     
  • Roundtable discussions are designed to be like the discussion session of a big university class. We want these discussions to be very participatory, and we want everyone in attendance to have a chance to speak—and thus, we limit the audience to approximately 25 participants.
     
  • Moderators should bring along an extra copy or two of their proposed discussion questions. If time and space allow, volunteers will attempt to set up additional discussion sections on the fly if the originally scheduled discussion fills up.
     

Workshops

Workshop are instructor-led presentations that are related to women in fantasy literature and are designed to help the audience members walk away with new or expanded skills. As with roundtables, we want everyone who attends the presentation to be able to participate fully and to be able to ask questions and get individualized help, so the seating is typically limited. Workshops are good presentation choices for people who enjoy teaching and can break down a topic into components. Writing and art workshops, advice on setting up blogs/websites/reading lists, how to do something connected to fantasy (like understanding and writing horses, or using social media to promote your work in fantasy, and so on) and other hands-on activities are just a few ideas for workshops.
 
Time allotted: 50 minutes
 
A/V availability: Considered on a case-by-case basis. Please be sure to include and explain any A/V requests in your proposal. Because of the limited audience, you may be placed in a room without a microphone, but with projection available—and please do make requests if necessary.
 
Other considerations:

  • Team-taught workshops are welcome!
     
  • Instructors are responsible for acquiring any needed materials for workshops. To keep costs down for materials-heavy workshops, instructors might consider using one or two larger demonstration items, providing limited materials to be shared in small groups, or asking workshop participants to donate a small amount toward the cost of materials. If this will be your situation, please don’t hesitate to consult the Sirens programming team for estimating assistance in figuring out which will be the best option for you, as well as how to communicate requests to your workshop’s attendees.
     
  • To ensure that the instructors can assist all workshop attendees, the audience size is typically limited to a maximum of 40 attendees. (If your workshop doesn’t rely on materials, or if you’re not planning to give individualized feedback, there may be more seats available so as many people as possible can listen in, but we’ll work with you in advance.) Workshops may have as few as 25 seats available.
     

Afternoon Classes

Afternoon classes are a way to present topics of interest to fantasy readers that might not be directly related to women in fantasy literature. Afternoon classes are especially suited to demonstrations and hands-on lessons. (There is some overlap between workshops and afternoon classes; please feel free to email us if you’re not sure which presentations style is the best fit.) Historical dress or music, dance, martial arts, weaponry, battle strategy, costume makeup, needlework, photo manipulation, vidding, and similar topics are great options for afternoon classes, and if you know something about fencing, archery, falconry, or knitting, those are oft-requested presentations. Afternoon classes are limited by the size of the space available, and by request, by materials. Please see the information about workshops, above, for general information.
 
Time allotted: 50 minutes; more time may be available during the evening break (please explain in your abstract if you expect the class to run a little longer)
 
A/V availability: Considered on a case-by-case basis. Please be sure to include and explain any A/V requests in your proposal.
 

Combination Presentations

Most presentations, even if they make some use of multiple presentation styles, usually fall within one of the broad groups above. Combination presentations might take elements from two or more categories, and use them at length: a workshop might start out with a short paper on the topic, a paper might be followed by a panel, or a roundtable discussion might be followed with a hands-on workshop. You might also have a more formal offering that doesn’t fit neatly into the categories above, such as a screening of your original fantasy film paired with a talk on its themes and production. The combination presentation option allows you to describe your presentation and its components.
 
If you’re considering this type of presentation, we encourage you to write to the programming team in advance; we often find that what’s planned for a presentation is in fact quite similar to what’s normally found in one of the presentation types listed above, and we can advise on which category might be best suited to your proposal. (We can help you save a little time, too, during the submissions process, by giving you information on what to include in your combination proposal.)
 
Time allotted: 50 minutes
 
A/V availability: Considered on a case-by-case basis. Please be sure to include and explain any A/V requests in your proposal.

 
Quick links:
Programming Overview
Call for Proposals/Guidelines/Additional Preparation Information/Submit a Proposal
Past Conferences Archive
Specific Questions for the Programming Team: Email (programming at sirensconference.org)

 
If you’re looking for co-presenters, why not place an ad on Facebook, leave a comment here, or tag us on Twitter so we can retweet?

 
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 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.
 

Programming Perspectives: Presentation Styles

Are you ready for our annual programming posts series? We’ve just kicked it off! Before we go on, though, we thought you might want to explore some perspectives on presenting different types of programming. These perspectives were first published several years ago, but we think they’re still very relevant.

Presenting a Paper by Hallie Tibbetts, one of Sirens’s past programming coordinators

Presenting a Panel by Amy Tenbrink, one of this year’s conference chairs (but one note: the process for proposing panels will be changing this year—more information coming soon!)

Presenting a Roundtable Discussion by Sarah Benoot, a longtime staff member

Presenting a Workshop or Afternoon Class by Manda Lewis, a longtime staff member

We’ll be offering other perspectives in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we hope you’ll put together a programming proposal.
 
All proposals are due by May 8, 2017.
 
Questions? Concerns? Please email general queries to (help at sirensconference.org) and questions about programming to (programming at sirensconference.org).
 

Quick links:
Programming Overview
Call for Proposals/Guidelines/Additional Preparation Information/Submit a Proposal
Past Conferences Archive
Specific Questions for the Programming Team: Email (programming at sirensconference.org)

 
If you’re looking for co-presenters, why not post on Facebook, leave a comment here, or tag us on Twitter so we can retweet?
 

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 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.
 

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 sirensconference.org).

 

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 9, Issue 4 (March 2017)

In this issue:

 

SIRENS SCHOLARSHIPS

In only 16 days, our amazing, generous community fully funded nine scholarships for this year’s conference. Thank you for helping us add more voices to Sirens! Each scholarship includes a conference registration and a Sirens Shuttle ticket, and we’ve allocated three for fans of color/non-white fans, three for those submitting exemplary programming proposals, and three for those with financial hardships. If you need assistance, we hope you’ll apply—find out more information on our Scholarships page.
 

PROGRAMMING BEGINS!

We want your programming proposals! April is just around the corner, which means we’re kicking off our Annual Programming series. All of Sirens’s programming—30+ hours of scholarly presentations, workshops and prepared discussion—is crafted, proposed, and presented by attendees for attendees.

Throughout the month, we’ll be giving the rundown on different programming types, tips, tricks and more information, starting with Eight Tips for Programming Proposals. The programming submission period is April 1-May 8, and we encourage you to check out the rest of the series here.

Have questions? Looking for a co-presenter? Need some inspiration? Check out the #SirensBrainstorm tag on Twitter; every Monday we tweet out fresh ideas free for the taking. In addition we’ll be hosting two programming chats at this link (which will be live at the scheduled times):

  • April 9 at 1–3 p.m. Eastern (10 a.m.–1 p.m. Pacific)
  • April 22 at 1–3 p.m. Eastern (10 a.m.–1 p.m. Pacific)

 

REGISTRATION PRICE JUMP AND TICKETS

On March 31, the cost of a Sirens registration will jump from $200 to $215. To register or add a ticket, please visit here.

Please note, the Sirens Supper is sold out, and Sirens Studio is almost at capacity!
 

NEW YORK CITY MEET-UP

For those in the New York City area, Sirens is hosting a casual meet-up on Sunday, April 30 from 2–4 p.m. at Radiance Tea House & Books. Bring your friends, your book recommendations, and your questions! See here for more details.

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB

The Witch's Daughter

For March, Sirens co-founder Amy Tenbrink read the Paula Brackston’s bestselling book, The Witch’s Daughter, which wasn’t her cup of tea. “I like my heroines to drive the action, not react to it…Elizabeth isn’t that woman. But there are many, many aspects of women who work magic, and she might be your woman.” Check out her review on the blog and Goodreads.

 

READ ALONG WITH FAYE

The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim

This month, Faye read E. K. Johnston’s The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim, which she was predisposed to like: “It’s set in Canada, it has amazing worldbuilding, it’s got dragons, and it’s from the point of view of a teenage girl named Siobhan who, though she is called a bard, is essentially a glorified publicist.” Check out her review on the blog and Goodreads.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…


Interesting Links

 


Questions? Concerns? Please email general queries to (help at sirensconference.org) and questions about programming to (programming at sirensconference.org).

 

Eight Tips for Programming Proposals

Are you coming to Sirens? Terrific! At Sirens, programming is crafted, proposed, and presented by attendees—and we hope that all our attendees will consider proposing a topic or two. To help you on your way, here are our top eight tips for getting ready, based on some common issues that we’ve noticed in proposals.

  1. You should take a few minutes to look through the programming section of the Sirens website. If you’ve attended or presented before, this will refresh your memory and give you the chance to see if something you need to know has changed. If you’re new, welcome, and we hope this provides you with plenty of preparation information.
     
  2. Use women, fantasy, and literature as your frame. This is vital. No matter what topic you’d like to present on, you’ll have to make explicitly clear in your proposal how that topic relates to our overarching focus on women in fantasy literature. “Explicitly” might mean, as an example, mentioning a fantasy book—or film! Or story!—in your summary (which will be posted on the website and published in the program book) and including fantasy-specific information and examples in your abstract. Find out why here.
     
  3. Carefully consider how many proposals you’d like to propose. Most potential presenters will propose only one or two, to ensure that they have the time to craft them thoughtfully. Please don’t propose a mountain of topics in the hope that more proposals means a greater chance of being accepted!
     
  4. Push beyond “101” on topics. As a general rule, Sirens attendees are brilliant and have spent some time in critical conversations, sometimes at Sirens and sometimes elsewhere, regarding women in fantasy literature. As a general rule, we’re looking for smart, savvy, thoughtful, challenging presentations, roughly at upper college level or graduate level. Also, you’ll want to avoid repeating what has been presented before, unless it hasn’t been addressed in a long time, or unless you can update and extend the conversation. [You can review past programming here.]
     
  5. Carefully consider how your topic matches your chosen presentation style. For example, if you want to communicate a lot of information that your audience won’t necessarily have, you’ll probably want a paper/lecture/talk or a workshop—rather than, say, a roundtable, where you’re posing questions for the audience to answer, or a panel, where you’re often talking about experiences. You can find more information on presentation styles in our presentation guidelines, and if we can be helpful, we’re happy to consult before you turn in your proposal.
     
  6. Write a strong summary and a thoughtful abstract. They are not the same thing! You can see examples of summaries in the conference archives, and an abstract will be a paragraph or three about your analysis, or a proposed lesson plan, or sample questions for a panel or roundtable. Also, spellcheck is your friend! We’ll be posting more help on abstracts in the coming weeks.
     
  7. If your presentation will involve other presenters (whether as panelists, co-presenters, or authors of other papers that you want to pre-empanel with your own), coordinate with them to ensure that you are all on the same page with regards to your presentation. Your collaborators will need to confirm that they will be presenting with you before the presentation deadline, and in the case of pre-empaneled papers and panels, will need to provide supplemental abstracts or other analytical responses to the panel abstract.
     
  8. This year’s theme is women who work magic, and you may want to engage with that theme in proposals, though it’s not required. You might explore different cultural depictions of magical women, delving deeply into an examination of particular magic-working female characters, or discussing different perspectives and opinions—negative or positive—of women’s magic.

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

If you have any questions about programming, we’re happy to help answer them. Write to us at (programming at sirensconference.org).

Cora Anderson
Programming Coordinator
 

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 9, Issue 3 (February 2017)

In this issue:

 

SIRENS STUDIO FACULTY ANNOUNCED

We have been thrilled this month to announce the faculty and the topics for the Sirens Studio! Each faculty member will teach a two-hour intensive on reading, writing, or career development. The Sirens Studio will take place on October 24–25, the Tuesday and Wednesday before Sirens begins, and will require an additional ticket. For full descriptions of the intensives and short bios of the faculty, please visit our Studio page.

  • Reading
    • Kate Elliott, Rewriting Rogue One: Narratives That Explore Complex Relationships Between Women
    • Suzanne Rogers Gruber, Everything and the Kitchen Sink: Tracing Lineages of Fantasy Literature
    • Justina Ireland, Reading Past the White Veil: Identifying Issues of Race in Fantasy and Science Fiction
    • Victoria Schwab, Writer as Reader
       
  • Writing
    • Kiini Ibura Salaam, Writing What Scares You
    • B R Sanders, Making Magic
       
  • Career Development
    • Mette Ivie Harrison, Taking Time and Finding Purpose in Your Busy Life—What’s Holding You Back?
    • Joy Kim, Know Your Next Step: Navigating Career Pathways and the Leadership Pipeline

 

SIRENS PROGRAMMING

And speaking of programming, you probably already know that it’s time to start thinking about conference programming proposals. Programming at Sirens is crafted, proposed, and presented by attendees, and we hope you’ll lend your knowledge and perspective. Also, all voices are welcome to propose programming: you needn’t be a published author or an accomplished academic; all attendees—readers, scholars, writers, illustrators, publishing professionals, educators, librarians, farriers, knitters, secret-keepers, and heroines—have something valuable to say.

It isn’t too early to start planning a proposal—proposals are due May 8, 2017. Even if you’ve presented before, we encourage you to explore the programming pages on the Sirens site so you’ll be familiar with what we ask you to present to the vetting board.

 

NARRATE CONFERENCES BOOT CAMP

Way back in January 2006—both a lifetime ago and somehow only the blink of an eye—many of the people that you know from Sirens founded Narrate Conferences. As some of you already know, Narrate, the presenting entity behind Sirens, is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to creating interdisciplinary educational events that bring together people with many different perspectives to discuss and debate a given topic. Beginning in 2009, the event has been Sirens and the topic has been the remarkable women of fantasy literature. But before that, Narrate spent several years presenting giant Harry Potter conferences, complete with Quidditch tournaments, midnight movies, and 150 hours of academic programming.

Over the years, we’ve gone from very ad hoc methods of developing new team members—all hands on deck for Quidditch tournaments!—to something more considered, if you will: boot camp. Which we’re betting sounds amazing and…just a bit intimidating.

A few years ago, Narrate created boot camp, a combination online conference-planning course and development opportunity for people who were interested in spending more time volunteering for our events. Our goal is to give participants the foundational information you need to jump into a more active role with our team—and to help you decide what kind of role you think that might be. As you might expect, some people have used boot camp to learn that conference planning isn’t really their thing—while others fell in love, joined our team, and have been making Sirens awesome ever since. For more information, please check out the post here.

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB

The Graces

This month, Sirens co-founder Amy Tenbrink read Laure Eve’s The Graces for her book club: a “deliberately slippery” book with an unreliable narrator, shifting truth, and a girl chasing her own power. Check out her review on the blog and Goodreads.

 

READ ALONG WITH FAYE

Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen

Sometimes, Faye has found, a Reading Challenge totally surprises you. She found Marilyn Chin’s The Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen “inspired by Buddhist and Taoist texts and Chinese ghost stories and folklore, mixed with a dollop of hilarious satire…a brilliant and irreverent musing on the Chinese first-generation immigrant experience.” Check out her review on the blog and Goodreads.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

 


Questions? Concerns? Please email general queries to (help at sirensconference.org) and questions about programming to (programming at sirensconference.org).

 

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 9, Issue 2 (January 2017)

In this issue:

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy New Year, Sirens! We hope you join us this year invigorated and resolute, with insightful, boundary-pushing, unabashed conversations on female and genderqueer identity in fantasy literature. If you need a place to get started, we recommend our Suggested Reading List and our 2017 Reading Challenge, a collection of titles that cover this year’s theme of women who work magic and fantasy literature in general.

 

SIRENS STUDIO

What if we were to tell you that our Sirens Studio faculty and workshop intensives would be live next month? Our Sirens Studio will take place on October 24–25, the Tuesday and Wednesday before the official start of the conference. Focused around two-hour, small-group workshop intensives on reading, writing, and career development, the Studio is a great way to do a deeper dive at a slower pace. We can tell you this right now: one current and three past Guests of Honor are among this year’s faculty.

 

SCHOLARSHIPS

As you know, Sirens awards scholarships each year to fans of color/non-white fans, exemplary programming presenters, and those with financial hardships. We’ll be doing a bigger push for scholarship donations in March, but please feel free to get a head start by donating here.

 

PROGRAMMING

We will be launching our programming series later this spring, but it never hurts to start brainstorming now. There will be a few changes to the submission process, including supplemental abstracts for panelists. Keep your eyes peeled for more information!

 

HOTEL REBRANDING

Important note! This year’s Sirens hotel, the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa, has completed their renovation for Spring 2017 and has been renamed the Hotel Talisa. We have updated the hotel page on our website with the change.

 

SIRENS BENEFIT ANTHOLOGY SEEKING SUBMISSIONS

Last year, a few of our attendees did the tremendous job of compiling, editing, and publishing Queens and Courtesans, a benefit anthology with all proceeds donated back to Sirens. This year, their anthology, Witches and Warriors, is currently seeking submissions, particularly across all areas of intersectional feminism. For more details, please visit the submission link.

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB

The Mistress of Spices

Sirens co-founder Amy Tenbrink kicks off a new year of her book club with Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s The Mistress of Spices, which she considered “a beautifully crafted folktale of an indomitable woman who battles her own magic to aid her people: the Indian immigrants of modern-day Oakland.” Check out her review, coming tomorrow, on the blog and Goodreads.

 

READ ALONG WITH FAYE

All Our Pretty Songs

Communications staffer Faye Bi returns with her quest to complete the 2017 Reading Challenge! First up is Sarah McCarry’s All Our Pretty Songs; she found the “modern Orpheus and Eurydice retelling fused with sex, drugs and rock and roll… ultimately about friendship and love, though not the way one might suspect.” Check out her review on the blog and Goodreads.

 


Questions? Concerns? Please email general queries to (help at sirensconference.org) and questions about programming to (programming at sirensconference.org).

 

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 8, Issue 4 (July 2016)

In this issue:

 

SIRENS STUDIO
We are thrilled to bring the Sirens Studio back in 2016—and to say that it’ll be even better this year, with eight intensives led by extraordinary faculty on topics related to reading, writing, and career development.

While Sirens is terrific, it can be hectic: so many people to see, so many conversations to have, not nearly enough time to grab a seat by the fire and just read. The Sirens Studio, however, gives you both what you love about Sirens and that down time that we all need: small-group workshop intensives led by exceptional faculty in the morning; flexible time to read, write, or relax in the afternoon; and a film screening at night.

Like last year, the cost of attending is $50 for the full two days of the Studio, and we are limiting attendance to 50 participants. If you think you’d might like to join us, please check out our schedule, workshop intensives, and faculty—and then go here to purchase your ticket. We will also offer Studio participants a Monday night Sirens Shuttle option.

 

PROGRAMMING
We’re getting ready to start revealing this year’s presentations! The presenter registration deadline was July 9; if you missed it and are still planning to present—or if you missed the email with the result of your proposal—please write to (programming at sirensconference.org) right away. We’ll start posting accepted presentations shortly, in small batches, and putting together the conference schedule. Thanks for your assistance—and thank you again to everyone who proposed programming for this year.

By the way, once the accepted presentations start being posted on the Sirens website, you can show your support for a presenter or topic by sponsoring their session. The cost is $35 per presentation, and assuming we have your donation by August 15, 2016, we will include your name next to your chosen topic on our website and in our program book for this year’s event.

 

SCHOLARSHIPS
All recipients of scholarships (and those who didn’t receive a scholarship this year) have been sent an email about how to claim their registrations and shuttle tickets. Thank you to everyone who applied!

And thank you again to everyone who donated to support our scholarship program! In the end, we were able to provide eight scholarships.

 

BOOKS AND BREAKFAST​
Each year, Sirens selects a variety of popular, controversial, and just plain brilliant books related to our theme—and invites attendees to bring their breakfast during the conference and have an informal conversation about those books. For 2016, we’ve kicked Books and Breakfast off early—so all of you have time to choose a couple books and read! This year, we’ve also launched a program to get these books into your hands prior to Sirens.

For extra motivation, we’re giving away copies of each Books and Breakfast book—two each month! Congratulations to Kristen B. for winning June’s Giveaway. Check out how you can win Sorcerer to the Crown and Project Unicorn Vol. 1 in our post here.

 

LET’S MEET UP!
Though nothing will replace the awesomeness of four days of Sirens in October, we’re hosting a few casual meet-ups for members of Sirens community to gather throughout the year. Coming up, a meet-up in Denver!

Date: Sunday, July 31, 2016
Time: 3:00–5:00 p.m. (Mountain Time)
Location: Slattery’s Irish Pub in the Landmark, 5364 Greenwood Plaza Boulevard in Greenwood Village, Colorado
Notes: Participants must pay for their own drinks and snacks.

We welcome all members, first-timers and veteran, and you don’t need to have attended Sirens in the past to join us. Are you new and curious? Heard of us but haven’t made it to Sirens yet? Wondering if our community is for you? Come on down! And bring your book recommendations, your friends, and your questions about Sirens.

If you think you might join us, please RSVP to either @sirens_con on Twitter, here on Facebook, or to Faye at (faye.bi at sirensconference.org).

We hope to see you soon!

 

AMY’s BOOK CLUB

LivingNextDoortotheGodofLove

What is Sirens co-founder Amy Tenbrink reading this month? Check out her review of Justina Robson’s Living Next Door to the God of Love on the blog and on Goodreads. Some things she liked: “A killer opening. Unbelievably skillful, detailed world-building. Writing that is both rich and careful. Fully realized characters. Universe-level themes of love and humanity and society.”

 

READ ALONG WITH FAYE

Sorcerer to the Crown

Follow Faye as she completes the 2016 Sirens Reading Challenge! This month, she read Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown, which she found delightfully charming, and hopes that more authors like Zen will be “influenced by the great works of the past and with similar wit and style, create new, original stories for all.” Will you Read Along with her? Check out her review on the blog and Goodreads.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

Testimonials:

Last month we ran Artemis Grey’s powerful testimonial on the Sirens blog. Artemis has attended Sirens since our first conference in 2009, and just published her first novel, Catskin, in March 2016. Below is an excerpt:

But she wanted to know if there was a place for her, if there were other feral girls out there who wrote stories that were almost good enough, and other women who glided between the borders of expectation and propriety. So she went to Sirens, and everything changed.

The girl was welcomed not as a stranger, but as a sister returning home. She was brought into a fold where authors sat in circles on the floor and discussed how to find ways of writing things that were important, and yet did not fall into the mainstream definition of Important. How to change society’s definition of what was Important. She discovered, within Sirens, a world of women supporting women, supporting ideas, and processes, and points of view. A world of women embracing everything that makes them different while finding unity in everything that they share. Her Sirens Sisters did not teach her how to change herself in order to speak out, they taught her that once she discovered her own voice, it would be loud enough to be heard.

Please read the rest of the testimonial here.

 


Questions? Concerns? Please email general queries to (help at sirensconference.org) and questions about programming to (programming at sirensconference.org).

 

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 8, Issue 3 (June 2016)

In this issue:

 

PROGRAMMING
Thank you to everyone who proposed programming last month! The vetting board has been busy reviewing those proposals and determining which to select for presentation at Sirens in 2016. Decisions will be emailed to presenters by June 13, and presenters must be registered by July 9. Decisions on scholarships will be emailed at about the same time proposal decisions are sent. We can’t wait to share this year’s programming with you.

 

SCHOLARSHIPS! AND A DEADLINE!
Thanks to the generosity of the Sirens community, we were able to fund eight scholarships for 2016. Three have been provided to Con or Bust, which helps people of color attend events, to be allocated in accordance with their policies. Another three will be provided for exemplary programming proposals, as determined by our scholarship committee. The final two scholarships are designated as financial hardships scholarships, open to anyone. A short application, at https://www.sirensconference.org/attend/scholarships.php, is required, and due by June 15. Recipients will be chosen randomly.

 

BOOKS AND BREAKFAST
For 2016, we’re kicking off our Books and Breakfast program early! Each year, Sirens selects a variety of popular, controversial, and just plain brilliant books on our theme—and invites attendees to bring their breakfast during the conference and have an informal conversation about those books. We’ll hope you’ll read a book or two and join us!

Friday, October 21

About a Girl by Sarah McCarry
Pantomime by Laura Lam
Joplin’s Ghost by Tananarive Due
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Saturday, October 22

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Project Unicorn, Vol. 1 by Sarah Diemer and Jennifer Diemer
Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope
There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

This year, for extra motivation, we’re giving copies of each Books and Breakfast book, two each month starting this month. Check out how you can win About a Girl and Song of Blood and Stone in our post here.

 

COMING SOON
Keep an eye on social media and your inbox! We’ve got a number of announcements coming your way as soon as final details are in place, and we know you’ll want to know who’s on the Sirens Studio faculty, which proposals are on the programming schedule, and most importantly, what’s for lunch. Some of these emails may request a response at your earliest convenience.

 

BEHIND THE SCENES
In mid-May, Sirens had to move our website to a new hosting provider. Our tech team did a great job, and we hope that the change means fewer connectivity issues. If you emailed us, or were expecting an email, in May and didn’t receive a notice or response, please check your bulk email (you might be finding messages from us in bulk, especially if you use Gmail, and we’re finding messages from you in our bulk folders too), and please don’t hesitate to contact us again if you think your message might have gone astray.

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB

TheGildaStories

What is Sirens co-founder Amy Tenbrink reading this month? Check out her review of Jewelle Gomez’s The Gilda Stories on the blog and on Goodreads, which was written in 1991 and “features a protagonist that is black, a lesbian, and a vampire. It depicts slavery. It addresses racism and homophobia. It is unrepentantly feminist.”

 

READ ALONG WITH FAYE

Bone Gap

This month Faye Bi reads Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap in an effort to complete the 2016 Reading Challenge, which she found full of “stunning ruminations on the burden of beauty, consent and redemption.” Will you Read Along with her? Check out her review on the blog and Goodreads.

 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD

Vermilion

Our Sirens Review Squad is back! Sharon K. Goetz puts in her two cents on Molly Tanzer’s Vermilion, which she praised for its premise and setting—“Steampunk-era San Francisco (“weird Western”) with an embrace of the city’s Chinese traditions.” Read the review here.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

Testimonials:

 


Questions? Concerns? Please email general queries to (help at sirensconference.org) and questions about programming to (programming at sirensconference.org).

 

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Archives

2019
November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January

2018
December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January

2017
December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January

2016
December, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March

2015
November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January

2014
December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, March, February, January

2013
December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January

2012
December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January

2011
December, November, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January

2010
December, November, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January

2009
December, November, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January
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