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Why Our Sirens 2019 Theme Is Heroes

Sirens logos 2019 Hero

Who do you picture when you think of a hero?

A boy pulling out a sword from a stone? An orphan receiving a letter telling him he’s a wizard? A king with the fate of the realm in his hands? A scientist with a secret to save humanity? A playboy billionaire who wears a flying robot suit?

If you’re a cisgendered man, becoming a hero is a pretty straightforward thing.

The steps are simple: Become stronger, smarter, or more powerful than everyone else. Meet an avuncular older mentor with a beard. Learn to wield a deadly weapon. Go through some kind of physical, spiritual, or monomythical bullshit. Perform some hypermasculinity. Vanquish evil. Save the cheerleader, save the world.

And if you’re a cisgendered man, society is all-too-happy to point you down the path to heroism. From birth, and likely with little effort on your part, you are told that you’re special. Important. The illustrious warrior. We look to you for leadership. We like your muscles, your cocksure attitude, your damsel-saving, and your evil-vanquishing.

But if you’re a woman? Or nonbinary? Things are a lot more complicated.

Our concept of heroism is impossibly, hopelessly entangled with societal expectations about gender.

We like guys who are heroes. We don’t like sword-wielding, damsel-saving, evil-vanquishing, green-and-angry women. We don’t like muscle-bound, confident, dragon-slaying nonbinary people, even if they built their own flying robot suits with their billions.

What will it take for women and nonbinary people to be seen as heroic?

Perhaps the pretty, passive, silent girls of folktales come to mind. Girls—nearly always girls—who chatted with birds and just wanted to stop doing housework for two seconds so they could go to the ball. Girls in red cloaks who sought armed, burly men’s help when a wolf preyed on their innocence. Well-behaved, bookish girls who martyred themselves for their fathers’ freedom, only to save a beast with their improbable love. Girls who made the slightest of ripples, all while reinforcing the worst of our societally imposed gender limitations: Be good. Be chaste. Be silent. Be kind. These girls—in stories collected and passed down by men—weren’t heroes so much as cautionary tales.

Eventually the girls and women who wield swords, just like the men, became our next generation of heroes. They have enemy armies to battle and evil mages to defeat, just like the men. But of course, this often-pale imitation of heroism is permitted only for cisgendered, heterosexual white women who pretend they’re boys and don’t kill anyone along the way. Fantasy literature has a legion of these girls, grudgingly allowed a place somewhere in the vicinity of the male hero pantheon, who behave like boys, wield swords like boys, work a thousand times harder to prove themselves as heroic as boys, and ultimately, when asked, step aside for boys. After all, there are rules for the girls allowed in the hero club.

Be good. Be chaste. Be silent. Be kind. Put down the sword, Brienne. Step aside, Natasha. Stop bossing, Hermione. No, you cannot have pants, Wonder Woman.

Our heroism is far greater than that.

So, for Sirens in 2019, we present these questions:

  • Who is seen as a hero, and what attributes make them heroic?

  • How do we, as a society, define heroic behavior and action?

We demand heroes who don’t fulfill the hypermasculine stereotypes of our societal construct of heroism. We demand heroes who don’t choose the same paths as cisgendered, heterosexual male heroes, or the same provocations, or the same weapons, or the same outcomes.

We demand heroes of all genders, all sexualities, all races, all faiths, all sizes, all abilities.

We demand heroes like Mishell Baker’s Millie (Borderline), whose dysphoria and rebuilt body help make her heroism possible. We demand heroes like Ausma Zehanat Khan’s Arian (The Bloodprint), whose faith is her strength and her courage. We demand heroes like Rebecca Roanhorse’s Maggie (Trail of Lightning), who fights monsters while thinking that she is, herself, monstrous. We demand heroes like Roshani Chokshi’s Aru and Mini (Aru Shah and the End of Time), whom everyone doubts, but no one should. We demand heroes like Dr. Suzanne Scott, whose passion and research and scholarship (Fake Geek Girls) focus on inclusive heroism across popular culture and fandoms.

The 2019 Sirens theme is heroes because we demand a revolution—and evolution—of what it means to be a woman or nonbinary person and a hero.

 

Thirteen Sirens Scholarships Funded for 2019

Sirens has a mission: to provide a welcoming space for our attendees to discuss the remarkable, diverse women of fantasy literature. As part of that mission, we specifically craft Sirens to include and amplify all of the brilliant voices creating those discussions. Our greatest hope is that those voices will represent both a wide array of perspectives and experiences—reader, scholar, librarian, educator, publishing professional, author—and individuals of different genders, sexualities, races, religions, and abilities. As we begin our second decade of Sirens, we find that topics related to gender and fantasy literature are as limitless as ever, and that our opportunity to learn from our community’s discussion, analysis, and debate of those topics is equally limitless.

This year, because of the generosity of the Sirens community, we raised the funds necessary to provide thirteen scholarships! To everyone who donated, thank you. Thank you for your financial commitment to our community and for helping make Sirens possible for certain individuals who are both critical to our conversations and who sometimes find it difficult to attend without additional support.

Each scholarship includes both a Sirens registration and a Sirens Shuttle ticket. The thirteen scholarships will be allocated as follows: three to fans of color/non-white fans, three to those submitting exemplary programming proposals, four to those with financial hardships, and three to librarians, educators, and publishing professionals (which may be anyone from an editor to an agent to a publicist to a cover designer to a bookseller).

If you need assistance, we hope you’ll consider applying for a scholarship. We designed this program specifically to help additional voices join our conference and our community—and your voice counts. Please visit our Scholarships page for more information on how to apply.

 

New Fantasy Books: February 2019

We’re excited to bring you a roundup of February 2019 fantasy book releases by and about women and nonbinary folk. Let us know what you’re looking forward to, or any titles that we’ve missed, in the comments!
 

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 11, Issue 1 (January 2019)

This month:

Welcome back, Sirens! We have brilliant 2019 Guests of Honor to introduce you to, Sirens Studio summaries and faculty bios are up on the website (get your tickets!), we’re busy reading fantasy books.

Just a reminder: Sirens Studio is October 22–23, 2019; Sirens is October 24–27, 2019, and we’ll be at the Hilton Inverness Hotel in Denver, CO.

 

BE OUR GUEST

And let us reintroduce you to our 2019 Guests of Honor: Mishell Baker (Borderline), Ausma Zehanat Khan (The Bloodprint), Rebecca Roanhorse (Trail of Lightning), and for the first time at Sirens, a scholar, Dr. Suzanne Scott (Fake Geek Girls), and a Sirens Studio guest of honor, Roshani Chokshi (Aru Shah and the End of Time). We’ll be speaking to each of them in the coming months about their work, fantasy literature, and heroes, but get a head start reading their work here.

Register for Sirens

 

STEP INTO STUDIO

Pencils ready? Sirens Studio summaries are live! Here is the list of faculty with their topics for reading, writing, and career intensives:

Reading

Writing

Career

You’ll want to nab Studio tickets soon, since we’re limiting the attendance to 70. Read the full summaries and faculty bios over on the Sirens Studio page!

Read About Sirens Studio

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB

Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble

Amy generally reads upwards of 150 books a year, and through the monthly Sirens book club, she shares her insights, opinions, and a teeny bit of her personal reading history. This month, she was smitten with Anna Meriano’s chapter book, Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble: “Please, fantasy authors… Give me more women with big business dreams and big family dreams and big dreams that they’ll achieve through hard work and smart business and just a bit of magic.” Read her full review on the blog and on Goodreads.

 

STAY TUNED

In February, we’ll have information on how you can apply for Sirens scholarships, Sirens co-founder Amy Tenbrink’s thoughts on our 2019 “heroes” theme, preliminary information about Sirens’s programming (which is presented by attendees!), and more.


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

 

Book Club: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano

Each year, Sirens chair Amy Tenbrink posts monthly reviews of new-to-her fantasy books by women and nonbinary authors. You can find all of her Sirens Book Club reviews at the Sirens Goodreads Group. We invite you to read along and discuss!

A Dash of Trouble

So often, fantasy books—even feminist fantasy books—are about women claiming men’s power. Seizing a throne held by a man, perhaps. Cutting down a sword wielded by a man, often. Sorcery taught by a man, sometimes. Dominance stolen from a man during sex, occasionally. As if power comes only in masculine forms. As if in order to gain power, we must rob men of theirs: take their leadership, their weapons, their knowledge, their seed. As if the only path to power is the one they chose, they covet, they permit.

And that’s all fine, I suppose, though not nearly enough attention is paid to breaking down those particular patterns in fantasy works. But I frequently grow weary of those same tropes, those same plots, those same imbalances and authorities and uprisings.

Which is to say that I have a soft spot for fantasy books about traditionally feminine skills made magic. There’s something compelling about taking our foremothers’ crafts—baking, singing, knitting, and thread-spinning—and rendering them magic. It’s a ready metaphor for claiming our stories and our power, not in traditionally masculine ways, but in the traditionally feminine ways we have always used to survive: through sisterhood and secrets and a damned good loaf of bread.

(Side note: You can imagine the incandescence of my rage when these books about traditionally feminine skills made magic feature a male protagonist mastering those skills to save a damsel in distress. But that is a whole different book review or twenty.)

Anna Meriano’s A Dash of Trouble, the first book in her Love Sugar Magic series, overflows with brujería de la cocina. Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas. And from the first chapter, the book gathered me up with scents of cinnamon and cardamom and baking bread and sugary cookies—not to mention the fact that Leo’s mom is the businessperson of the family, the one working, working, working to achieve her dream of owning a larger house down the street from her Amor y Azúcar Panadería.

People, I was smitten.

Please, fantasy authors, give me more women with small businesses born of everyday magics. Give me more women who, on the page, are spectacularly resourceful in bookkeeping and customer service and magic. Give me more women with big business dreams and big family dreams and big dreams that they’ll achieve through hard work and smart business and just a bit of magic. Please, fantasy authors, please?

Eleven-year-old Leo is part of that family of big dreams, the youngest of five sisters—and her frustration is palpable: She’s the youngest, the one with the fewest freedoms and responsibilities, the only one who isn’t fluent in Spanish, the one who has to go to school while everyone else gets to stay home and prepare for the bakery’s Day of the Dead celebration. Even as she clings to her much-loved childhood traditions, like dressing up for Halloween, she wants so badly to be grown up, to be taken seriously, to have responsibilities equal to her older sisters, and to be part of whatever secrets her family is telling in Spanish.

So she does what any eleven-year-old protagonist full of curiosity and vexation would do: She sneaks out of school to spy on her family. Leo has more than a dash of Claudia Kincaid and Trixie Belden.

What she discovers through her spying is her family’s magia: The women of her family, including her four older sisters, are brujas: They can influence emotions, make objects appear from nowhere, and commune with the dead. And all those “lucky” cakes that Amor y Azúcar Panadería sells? Well, they really are lucky.

When Leo’s best friend Caroline has a falling out with another friend, Leo finds the perfect opportunity to prove—mostly to herself—that she’s just as smart and responsible and grown as any of her sisters. So she and Caroline start solving Caroline’s problem with spells, spells with hilarious, unintended, regrettable consequences. Spells with consequences that maybe Leo can’t fix on her own. Consequences that might cost Leo her best friend. Consequences that Leo might, gasp, not be able to hide from her mom.

A Dash of Trouble deftly navigates all those minefields of being eleven. Of still finding comfort in rituals and objects that you increasingly see as babyish. Of wanting to be given more responsibilities and more freedoms and more independence. Of just knowing that you can tackle anything, solve anything, fix anything—until you can’t. Of walking that tightrope between being a little kid and growing up, even as those who know you best don’t even notice that you’re bigger and braver and bolder than you were even last week. Of learning what responsibility really means, and what being a good friend and a good daughter really means, and what fixing your mistakes really means, even among a series of truly unfortunate events.

What I loved about this book—even more than its baking magic, even more than its panadería-jefe mom—is how active Leo is. Things don’t happen to Leo; she happens to them. She makes decisions, good and bad: She sneaks out of school, she convinces Caroline to cast spells, she fixes her own messes (with a bit of help from her dead abuela). Leo is a girl who gets shit done. And when you get to the big showdown between Leo and her mom, after her mom unravels everything that’s happened, Leo’s mom is equal parts exasperated that Leo didn’t tell her before and proud that Leo was independent enough and resourceful enough and determined enough to fix her own mistakes. Leo is more than my kind of heroine: She’s the sort of heroine that I give to my seven-year-old niece as she learns to navigate her independence and her mistakes and her power.


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

 

New Fantasy Books: January 2019

We’re excited to bring you a roundup of January 2019 fantasy book releases by and about women and nonbinary folk. Let us know what you’re looking forward to, or any titles that we’ve missed, in the comments!
 

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.

 

Presented by Narrate Conferences, Inc.

 

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