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Archive for Sirens 2019

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising: Nia Davenport

This year, as we raise funds for our annual scholarships, Sirens is featuring posts by past scholarship winners. We hope that these posts will help potential donors see the impact of these scholarships and how they work to make Sirens’s conversations and community more vibrant, more diverse, and more inclusive. This week, our guest post is by Nia Davenport, a past recipient of a professional Sirens scholarship. In previous weeks, Jennifer Shimada shared her thoughts about receiving a Sirens scholarship for a person of color, s.e. smith shared their thoughts about receiving a Sirens scholarship for an exemplary programming proposal, and Jordan Ramirez Puckett shared her thoughts about receiving a financial hardship scholarship.

I’ve been in love with speculative stories of all kinds, including horror, fantasy, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance, since literally forever. As a kid, I devoured all the Goosebumps books and Are You Afraid of the Dark? was my favorite show. As a teen, I read all the Fear Street books, as well as Peter Straub’s Ghost Story, in one year because I needed more speculative stories in my life. And while I devoured all the books I could get my hands on and adored them, I was always left with a not quite fulfilled feeling. Yes, there was a wealth of fantasy and horror and urban fantasy of all types out there. No, there didn’t seem to be those types of stories available featuring me or somebody who claimed the same identities I did.

In college, a friend gifted me a copy of Minion by the brilliant L.A. Banks. My mind was blown. It was the first time ever that I’d held a book written by a Black woman that featured a Black woman as the protagonist that was about vampires! Seriously, I cried that day. I devoured the book then ordered every other book in the series and spent the summer devouring those too. Not only did Damali Richards, the heroine in Banks’s Vampire Huntress Legend books, look like me. She had family and friends that resembled my family and friends. She had beliefs and traditions and likes and hobbies that resembled mine. She had a lover that resembled my boyfriends. Reading Banks’s Minion was like a rebirth for me. It completely changed the way I thought about stories and who could be the heroines and heroes in those stories.

As both a science fiction-fantasy writer and a high school teacher, I still carry that earth-shattering revelation with me. It affects the types of stories I choose to write about. It’s the reason that all of my stories will now and forever more feature a brown girl as the hero. And perhaps most importantly, it is the reason that when I select texts to read in class or to recommend to students, they are always texts that offer diverse representation where my students can see themselves positively reflected as the hero of a story. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco, The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova, and Warcross by Marie Lu are among the titles I’ve used as whole-class novel reads in my classroom.

There is something immensely powerful about seeing teens and young adults light up when they see a book reflects an identity they bear in some way. When they are seeing this for the first time, their whole view of the world, how the world sees them, and what they can be in the world often shifts.

I was able to attend Sirens this past year for a second year in a row due to an educator’s scholarship. Sirens is more than a con. It is a meeting of the minds between a beautiful and humbling melding of readers, writers, librarians, educators, publishing professionals, and scholars. I learn so much each year I attend Sirens. Everything I learn about how stories are told, the impact that stories have on readers and society, and how stories can tear down oppressive norms or reinforce them, I take back to my classroom and my students.

We read short and novel-length science fantasy and fiction texts and then we dissect them. We look at the themes explored and the identities portrayed, and we discuss what deep, sometimes ugly truths, the stories are relaying about the world we live in and the way humans interact with one another. And let me tell you, one of the most rewarding feelings in the world is having a classroom full of young men slam misogynistic behavior in a text without me first pointing it out! The panels, keynotes, and lectures I attend at Sirens help provide me with a vocabulary and critical lens to discuss such heavy and necessary topics with my students.


Nia Davenport has always harbored a love of both science and crafting stories. After college, Nia studied and worked in the public health sector before discovering a passion for teaching. As an English and Biology teacher, Nia strives to make a difference in the lives of young people, minimize disparities in education for youths of color, and help students realize their dreams and unlimited potential. As a Black writer, her goals are much the same. Nia is also a freelance reviewer for Booklist.

 

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising: Professionals

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 librarians, educators, and publishing professionals. In past weeks, we discussed our scholarships for people of color, those submitting exemplary programming proposals, and those with financial hardships.

Sirens invites everyone with an interest in the remarkable, diverse women of fantasy literature to attend our conference and participate in our conversations. Our attendees run the gamut of vocations—readers, scholars, librarians, educators, publishing professionals, authors, and more—and each of their voices is critical to the Sirens community.

The beauty of Sirens, in fact, are the many different perspectives, experiences, and identities that our attendees represent in our conversations and community. Each year at Sirens, you’ll see readers present alongside librarians, booksellers collaborate with educators, and authors learn from scholars.

Over the past decade, however, we have discovered that it’s significantly easier for some people to attend Sirens than others. In particular, 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 with underserved populations, so often poorly paid for their efforts.

These librarians, educators, and publishing professionals who are creating the books we love and putting them in the hands of book-loving people everywhere have perspectives and experiences that make the Sirens conversations and community more vibrant and more brilliant.

We are again asking the Sirens community to raise funds to help some of these professionals attend Sirens. Assuming that we reach our fundraising goals, we will provide a Sirens registration and round-trip shuttle ticket to one librarian, one educator, and one publishing professional (which may be anyone from an editor to an agent to a publicist to a cover designer to a bookseller). As part of the application process, we will ask for a resume and a statement of interest.

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

If you can—whether that’s $5 or a full scholarship of $325—we hope that you’ll help us provide these scholarships!

Donations for the scholarship program will be accepted through November 30, 2018.

 

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising: Jordan Ramirez Puckett

This year, as we raise funds for our annual scholarships, Sirens is featuring posts by past scholarship winners. We hope that these posts will help potential donors see the impact of these scholarships and how they work to make Sirens’s conversations and community more vibrant, more diverse, and more inclusive. This week, our guest post is by Jordan Ramirez Puckett, a past recipient of a financial hardship Sirens scholarship. In previous weeks, Jennifer Shimada shared her thoughts about receiving a Sirens scholarship for a person of color and s.e. smith shared their thoughts about receiving a Sirens scholarship for an exemplary programming proposal. Next week, we’ll feature one more post by a past scholarship recipient.

I am currently pursuing my MFA in Playwriting at Ohio University. There is a lot to love about my graduate program. I have a strong and supportive cohort. I am guided by two playwriting professors who are genuinely invested in my career and artistic success. But the program here is not perfect. My professors are men, established in their careers, with blind spots when it comes to evaluating the writing of a female twenty-something playwright. And when I started to write my most recent play, To Saints and Stars, I realized that there was another blind spot as well. This play is about two lifelong friends, Zoe and Sofia. Zoe is pregnant with her first child and Sofia is preparing to go on the first manned mission to Mars. I soon learned that the subject of science fiction was viewed with some derision amongst the professors I spoke to. I had to look outside of my program to find a home where I could learn about writing fantasy and science fiction. And I had to look even harder if I wanted to be in a room led by women.

As you might have already guessed, I found that artistic space at Sirens in 2018. Being a graduate student, I do not have the disposable income to whisk me off to the conference of my dreams. And try as I might to get funding through my university (and believe me I did try), I was unsuccessful on that end as well.

I knew that the only chance I would have to join the Sirens community would be to be awarded a scholarship. And to my unexpected delight, one evening in May, I received an e-mail that offered me the chance to join the conference for its tenth year.

I soon checked out as many books on the Sirens reading list as I could from the library to prepare myself for the conference. I have always been interested in fantasy and science fiction literature but it had been some months since I picked up a book that wasn’t a published play. I was glad that I read twenty books before arriving in Colorado, because I was introduced to some truly amazing authors and books that will stick with me. However, despite my reading and planning out my ideal conference schedule, what I realized once I got to the conference hotel, nothing could prepare me for this experience.

I knew a couple of attendees from home, but most of the people I met were complete strangers who invited me to lunch when they saw me lost and wandering around town. Once the programming started, I went to ten presentations/panels/workshops/discussions in two days. I couldn’t get enough. The panel “Navigating the White Gaze” forced me to examine my own work. Even though I am a Xicana writer who writes almost exclusively Latina protagonists, I was forced to question whether I was subconsciously writing for a white audience. Since my play deals with the intersection between science and religion, I knew that I had to attend the “Godpunk” panel. As a person of faith, I worry about entering spaces where religion can be an easy punching bag for all that is wrong with the world. But I can’t quite describe the experience of seeing writers and readers deal with spirituality and religion in their work with such honesty and care. The panelists managed to challenge and inspire me. I was forced to rethink my own work. Was I falling into tropes? Creating a world in which the ignorant chose faith, while the enlightened chose science? I went to so many more incredible presentations that opened my eyes to how I write and read, I couldn’t possibly describe them all here. I hope that you will trust me when I say that the programming at Sirens this year left an indelible mark on my work.

My last morning at Sirens, I watched with amusement as people tried to outbid one another on fun and fantastical auction items. I also felt a tinge of sadness that I couldn’t participate in the bidding. Not simply because I wanted a fabulous new coat, or a bag of curated books, although I did want all those things, but because I knew that the auction supports much of Sirens operational costs. In that moment I realized just how much this weekend had meant to me. I wanted to give all the money I had to support an organization who had first supported me.

Don’t worry, I did spend as much as I possibly could at the bookstore. But I also left with the knowledge that I will not be in graduate school forever. With any luck, one day I will have a real job again and disposable income and I will be able to give money back to Sirens, to pay for the conference registration for someone else who can’t make it work otherwise. So if you have no other motivation to donate to Sirens, maybe do it for someone like me. Do it so we can bring more readers and writers, scholars, librarians, educators, and more into the fold, and together we can continue to expand this already wonderful community.


Jordan Ramirez Puckett’s plays include Pajarita, Restore, Inevitable, The American Traitor, The Fourth Year, Aphrodite’s Lounge and Blank Maps. Jordan’s work has been produced and/or developed by Abingdon Theatre Company, San Francisco Playhouse, 2Cents Theatre Group, Goodman Theatre, PlayGround, Playwrights Center of San Francisco, and Northwestern University. She is a BALTAN Core Member and a member of the LA Female Playwrights Initiative. Jordan is the associate artistic director at San Francisco Playhouse and earned a bachelor’s degree in Theatre and Psychology from Northwestern University.

 

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising: Financial Hardships

Sirens has a mission: to provide a welcoming space for our attendees to discuss the remarkable, diverse women and nonbinary people 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 and community. Our scholarship fundraising will continue through November, but this week, we want to highlight the importance of our scholarships for those who submit exemplary programming proposals. In past weeks, we discussed our scholarships for people of color and those submitting exemplary programming proposals; next week, we will address our hope that we’ll be able to provide scholarships for librarians, educators, and publishing professionals.

Attending Sirens requires money.

Everyone knows this. Whether or not you’ve attended Sirens, at some point you’ve probably saved your pennies to go somewhere.

And Sirens knows this.

We want Sirens to be available to as many people as possible—and a critical part of that is making the Sirens registration price as low as possible. So each year, we price the Sirens registrations below the cost of providing the food, program book, and other benefits that come with those registrations. And each year, to cover the difference, we ask for additional support from those who can afford to do more.

This budget structure works for us only because the Sirens community is magnificent. Each year, amazing individuals offer additional support—whether that’s an extra $5 or $500 or a handcrafted auction item—to help Sirens continue to suppress its registration prices so that more people can afford to attend.

But those donations also do something more. Because sometimes, a lower registration price isn’t enough.

Most of us have been there. Most of us have stared at an opportunity that we wanted, and maybe we needed, but that we couldn’t afford to take. Most of us, at some point in time or another, have depended on the kindness of strangers.

So each year, the Sirens community raises funds to provide Sirens registrations and round-trip shuttle tickets to those with financial hardships. Assuming that we reach our fundraising goals, we will provide three of these scholarships in 2019. Everyone is welcome to apply; we ask only that you state that you have a financial hardship. We select recipients randomly from among the applicants.

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

If you can—whether that’s $5 or a full scholarship of $325—we hope that you’ll help us provide these scholarships!

Donations for the scholarship program will be accepted through November 30, 2018.

 

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising: s.e. smith

This year, as we raise funds for our annual scholarships, Sirens is featuring posts by past scholarship winners. We hope that these posts will help potential donors see the impact of these scholarships and how they work to make Sirens’s conversations and community more vibrant, more diverse, and more inclusive. This week, our guest post is by s.e. smith, a past recipient of a Sirens scholarship for an exemplary programming proposal. Last week, Jennifer Shimada shared her thoughts about receiving a Sirens scholarship for a person of color. Later this month, we’ll feature posts by other past recipients.

Proposing programming for Sirens is always a delight and a challenge.

It’s delightful because this is a convention where attendees are ready for—and expect—programming that transcends the ordinary. Sirens attendees aren’t looking for 101-level content and generic material that they could encounter anywhere, rewarmed versions of prior work, or presenters who talk down to them. They’re looking for innovative, thoughtful programming that is also provocative and demanding. Sirens is a conference that allows and encourages presenters to explore their limits.

That means thinking deeply about what we want to communicate when we propose programming, and assembling presenters who will do the topic justice, and perhaps bring a few surprises as well. For someone who relishes opportunities to dig more deeply and present people with fresh angles on even the most tired of subjects, this is very much my jam, both at the dais or in the audience. Whether I’m watching guests of honor in conversation with each other or attending a workshop, I know that I do so in a space that is created by attendees for each other, and that makes it a rich, intimate environment for exploring complex and sometimes fraught topics.

It’s a challenge for these reasons as well, of course, especially with such a slate of fantastic programming each year. The sight of people agonizing over program books as they compare notes with friends is ubiquitous at Sirens; I’ve walked past many a cluster of people complaining that there’s “too much” and it’s simply impossible to choose between two or three equally fascinating things happening at the same time—and I have done my fair share of complaining about this situation myself.

Being honored with a scholarship for submitting an exemplary programming proposal was, under these circumstances, a particularly meaningful recognition. Developing program proposals that entice attendees is difficult enough; creating programming that speaks to the spirit of Sirens and stands out to both the programming vetting board and the scholarship board is no mean feat.

Being recognized with a scholarship feels like an expression of belonging and value to the Sirens community.

When I received the news that my panel proposal had been accepted for a scholarship, it came coincidentally at a fairly terrible personal time. On top of a series of expensive and dreadful things happening to me in quick succession, I was having a lot of self-doubt and internal questions about the future of my career and the kinds of contributions I could make to communities like Sirens. That email happened to land in my inbox on a particularly unpleasant day, and it was incredibly affirming. That’s a feeling everyone should have on a regular basis; receiving a scholarship wasn’t just about the money, but about the recognition.

But it is, bluntly, also about the money. Conferences, and Sirens is no exception, can be costly to attend, and an unfortunate result of this is that their attendance can be limited to those most able to afford it, which means missing out on many lovely people and tremendously valuable perspectives. It means missing out on professional development and building community with like-minded people: the people I see becoming fast friends in the buffet line, being thoughtful and accommodating to make sure others are included, asking meaningful questions at panels and paper presentations, and roping newbies into groups going to dinner or headed for the hot tub. My people.

The efforts to make Sirens inclusive and affordable are only possible through the generosity of donors and the volunteers who put in thousands of hours of work each year to make this conference happen. I’m honored to have received a programming scholarship, but I’m also honored to be a donor, to continue paying that feeling forward to others. The Sirens community comes from a wide variety of socioeconomic backgrounds and donating isn’t always possible for everyone, nor should anyone feel awkward or bad for not being able to make a donation. I believe, though, that the contributions of those of us who are able to do so are a powerful way to uplift Sirens—and make it, distinctively, a community, the only conference I make a priority to attend every year, the conference that has me refreshing the programming page on a regular basis for the year’s announcements, the conference I am always harping on friends to attend, not simply a few days I spend in a hotel every year. That Sirens feeling, from opening plenary to closing auction, is one I long to bottle up and distill against those dark nights of the soul.


s.e. smith is a Northern California–based writer and journalist who has appeared in Bitch Magazine, Rolling Stone, Vice, Teen Vogue, Rewire, Esquire, The Guardian, Pacific Standard, and many other fine publications, in addition to several anthologies, including The Feminist Utopia Project and (Don’t) Call Me Crazy. smith’s work focuses on an intersectional social justice-based approach to exploring social issues, with a particular interest not just in diversity and representation, but in those acting as creators, editors, and gatekeepers of media and pop culture.

 

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising: Exemplary Programming Proposals

Sirens has a mission: to provide a welcoming space for our attendees to discuss the remarkable, diverse women and nonbinary people 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 and community. Our scholarship fundraising will continue through November, 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, 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.

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 that’s $5 or a full scholarship of $325—we hope that you’ll help us provide these scholarships!

Donations for the scholarship program will be accepted through November 30, 2018.

 

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising: Jennifer Shimada

This year, as we raise funds for our annual scholarships, Sirens is featuring posts by past scholarship winners. We hope that these posts will help potential donors see the impact of these scholarships and how they work to make Sirens’s conversations and community more vibrant, more diverse, and more inclusive. This week, our guest post is by Jennifer Shimada, a past recipient of a Sirens scholarship for people of color, as administered by Con or Bust. Later this month, we’ll feature posts by other past recipients.

Sirens was designed for me. I knew that as soon as I heard about it in its very first year. A small conference centered specifically on women, on fantasy, and on literature, with a mixture of scholarly discussion and enthusiastic, nerdy fun? Nothing had ever sounded so much like me in my life. Plus, the three guests of honor that year–Kristin Cashore, Tamora Pierce, and Sherwood Smith–had all been incredibly formative for me as a reader, and I couldn’t believe I might have a chance to meet them in person. But I was a broke college student then, and while my parents agreed to gift me the flight from their frequent flyer credits, I couldn’t figure out how to get the time off class or the rest of the money I needed for the hotel and registration.

While I didn’t end up attending Sirens in 2009, I eagerly read recaps from attendees to live vicariously through their experiences. I continued to keep an eye on Sirens over the next six years, wishing I could attend and discuss themes like faeries or tales retold and meet other favorite authors who came as guests of honor or presenters. But year after year, money and time and life kept me from being able to go.

In 2015, I found out that the theme for Sirens was rebels and revolutionaries and started champing at the bit to attend. By this time, I had a full-time job with available vacation time, and could technically afford to go. But I’d never been to a literary conference or fan convention before, and I wouldn’t know anyone there. As a shy introvert who budgets carefully, I wasn’t sure if I could make the leap to spend that much money on something new and therefore scary.

Then I found out that for the first time, the Sirens community had donated money towards three scholarships specifically for people of color, to be administered by Con or Bust. And once again, it felt like Sirens was designed for me.

Only this time, it wasn’t just that Sirens was designed to include me, a woman who reads fantasy literature, but also that it was designed to include me, a woman of color who reads fantasy literature.

I applied for the scholarship and received it, I earned enough airline credit for a free flight, I found a stranger online who was willing to be my roommate…and I ran out of excuses not to attend.

Once I got to Sirens, I found that the community was, just as the scholarship indicated, eager to welcome and listen to a woman of color who wasn’t even a scholar or author or publishing professional. The conversations, both formal and informal, discussed not only white, able-bodied, cishet women, but women of many intersecting, often marginalized identities. Though no community is perfectly inclusive and equitable, the people who attend Sirens are generally willing to listen, to learn, and to work to change both themselves and Sirens for the better.

I live in a world that often tells women of color like me that we don’t belong, that our voices don’t matter. But the Sirens community reached out through Con or Bust and that scholarship to tell me that they thought my voice was important. And now, as a proud member of the Sirens community myself, I’m asking my fellow Sirens: please donate towards the twelve Sirens scholarships. By giving even just a few dollars, we tell people of color, presenters, those with financial hardships, and professionals that we see them, that their voices matter, and that we want them to join our community. Sirens is designed for them, too.


Jennifer Shimada is a fantasy reader, tea drinker, world traveler, and academic librarian. She is originally from California, earned a BA in history in Texas, taught 5th grade in Oklahoma, and currently works at a graduate school of education in New York. Along the way, Jennifer earned a MLIS from San Jose State University.

 

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising: People of Color

Sirens has a mission: to provide a welcoming space for our attendees to discuss the remarkable, diverse women and nonbinary people 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 and community. Our scholarship fundraising will continue through November, but this week, we wanted 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, all abilities, all ages, all body types, and all other identities 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 or are 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 that’s $5 or a full scholarship of $325—we hope that you’ll help us provide these scholarships!

Donations for the scholarship program will be accepted through November 30, 2018.

 

Sirens Scholarship Fundraising

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, diverse women and nonbinary people 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, those with financial hardships, and 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 $3,900. 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.

Donations for the scholarship program will be accepted through November 30, 2018.

Thank you for your support!

 

Scholarship Donors

Anonymous (6 donors)
Haviva Avirom
Meg Belviso
Sarah Benoot
Faye Bi
Edie Bishop
Brandi
Allyson Burns
Sabrina Chin
Collin
A. K. Hudson
Elliott Kay
Kickass Heroine #2357
Lewis Family
Candice Lindstrom
Catherine Lundoff
Jeffrey Miller
L.A. Miller
Myers-Thompson Family
Kate Ristau
Rook
Rustyfoxfyre
Kara Seal
Jill Seidenstein
Sharon
Jennifer Shimada
Simon
Annalisse Strippoli
Amy Tenbrink
Anne Armstrong Thompson
Hallie Tibbetts
Jaye Wells


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, 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!

 

Tax Treatment

As Sirens operates under the auspices of Narrate Conferences, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, all donations are eligible for tax deduction within the United States. Sirens staff are, of course, not eligible for scholarships (and, in fact, purchase their Sirens registrations and tickets like any other attendee). Any leftover or unclaimed funds will be considered donations to Sirens. If you have any questions or concerns, please write Amy at (amy.tenbrink at sirensconference.org).

 

Presented by Narrate Conferences, Inc.

 

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