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Archive for Sirens Supper

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 10, Issue 6 (May 2018)

In this issue:

 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PROPOSALS

Thank you to everyone who submitted programming proposals! We received a record-breaking number of proposals this year, and the vetting board is hard at work reviewing your work. Decisions will be emailed by June 11, as will programming scholarship awards. All presenters must be registered for Sirens and paid in full by July 10, and we will announce this year’s programming shortly thereafter.

 

REGISTRATION AND TICKETS UPDATE

We are already half sold out for Sirens this year and the Studio and Supper tickets are almost gone! We currently have only 13 tickets remaining for our Sirens Studio and five tickets remaining for our Sirens Supper. If you’d like to register or purchase a ticket, you may do so in our registration system.

Register or Purchase Tickets

 

SCHOLARSHIPS

We’re thrilled to report that not only did we raise more funds for scholarships than ever before, we received more applications for those scholarships than ever before! Scholarships for publishing professionals and those with financial hardships have already been awarded, as have most of the scholarships for people of color awarded through Con or Bust—but one scholarship for a person of color is still available. Please visit Con or Bust to apply.

 

WHERE ARE THEY NOW: GUESTS OF HONOR

This fall will mark our tenth year of Sirens. With our conference theme of reunion, it’s the perfect chance to reflect on past conferences and revisit some old friends. In this series, we check in with our past Guests of Honor to see what they’ve been up to these days. In 2009, our theme was warriors, and our inaugural Guests of Honor were Tamora Pierce, Kristin Cashore, and Sherwood Smith.

Read the Full Post

 

SECOND STUDIO CAREER INTENSIVE ANNOUNCED

We’re excited to announce the topic and summary of our second Sirens Studio career intensive, Rhoda Belleza’s “Hard Stops”! You can check out the full list of workshop topics, summaries, faculty biographies, and all the information over on our Sirens Studio page. Again, we have only 13 tickets remaining for this year’s Studio, so please get yours soon!

 

PRIVACY POLICY UPDATED

Like seemingly every other company on the planet, Narrate Conferences, the 501(c)(3) organization that presents Sirens, has updated its privacy policy, which applies to Sirens. Notably, while the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union applies to only certain individuals, Narrate’s new privacy policy extends the rights and protocols required by the GDPR to everyone. As this new policy applies to you by virtue of your continuing to use our website, register for Sirens, and so forth, you do not need to do anything to receive the benefit of this new policy. In contrast, MailChimp, the company that we use for our newsletters, requires that you update your settings in order to continue to receive our monthly Sirens newsletters in your inbox. To do so, please see the email we sent you earlier this week. If you have any questions or concerns, please email (legal at narrateconferences.org).

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB

Miranda and Caliban

This month for her book club, Sirens co-founder Amy Tenbrink reads Jacqueline Carey’s Miranda and Caliban as it interrogates Shakespeare’s The Tempest: “I wanted more pointed criticism, more explicit condemnation of Prospero’s abuse and control of both Miranda and Caliban… That said, I’ve been considering lately that simple truth-telling might be its own form of feminism.” Read her thoughts on the blog and on Goodreads.

 

READ ALONG WITH FAYE

Food of the Gods

For the 2018 Reading Challenge, this month Communications Director Faye Bi picked up Cassandra Khaw’s Food of the Gods, which she found “truly absurd… But if you love wordplay, clever mythology, copious descriptions of food, a plethora of witticisms and a bumbling, yet somehow endearing hero, you’ll overlook the out-of-left-field plot and enjoy the onslaught of detail.” Read her full review on the blog and on Goodreads.

 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD

Children of Blood and Bone

Bookstore Coordinator Amanda Hudson read Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone, which she loved for its “wondrous worldbuilding,” save for an “unexpected use of a popular trope… children forced to fight other children in a tournament or arena setting until only one is left alive, explicitly for the entertainment of adults.” Read her full review here.

 

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 10, Issue 5 (April 2018)

In this issue:

 

GUEST OF HONOR: VIOLET KUPERSMITH

Due to a very happy personal circumstance, Zen Cho will no longer be able to attend this year’s Sirens. Instead, the incomparable Violet Kupersmith will join us as our Hauntings guest this October! Violet is the author of The Frangipani Hotel, a collection of supernatural short stories about the legacy of the Vietnam War, and a forthcoming novel on ghosts and American expats in modern-day Saigon.

We’ve been enthusiastically recommending The Frangipani Hotel every year at Sirens since it was released. Her ghost stories are simultaneously retold Vietnamese folktales, an indictment of the Vietnam War, and an exquisite exploration of loss—of culture, of country, of family, of self. Her settings are palpable, her characters all-too-human, and her work brilliant, incisive, and subversive.

Please join us in welcoming Violet to Sirens! We have updated our reading lists and website, and you can read Violet’s full biography on our Guests of Honor page.

 

PROGRAMMING PROPOSALS DUE MAY 6

You have only seven days left to propose programming for this year’s Sirens! We hope that you’re considering submitting a proposal or two. You voice is valid and valuable, whether you’re new to Sirens or a ten-year veteran, and whether you’re a reader, scholar, librarian, farrier, secret-keeper, or heroine!

We are accepting proposals until May 6. For full information and instructions, please see our Programming Proposals page, as well as our series of blog posts on 2018 Programming, featuring programming types, tips, tricks, and general advice.

Have questions? Looking for a co-presenter? Need more inspiration? Check out the #SirensBrainstorm tag on Twitter; every Monday we tweet out fresh ideas free for the taking. We’ll also be hosting one more programming chat on our Chat page, which will be live at the scheduled time:

  • Tuesday, May 1, 9–11 p.m. Eastern (6–8 p.m. Pacific)

 

APPLY FOR SIRENS SCHOLARSHIPS

Due to the tremendous generosity of the Sirens community, we have 12 scholarships to award this year: three for people of color, three for exemplary programming proposals, three for those with financial hardships, and three for librarians, educators, and publishing professionals. The deadline for financial hardship and professional scholarships is May 13. For more information, visit our Scholarships page.

Each scholarship includes a conference registration and a round-trip shuttle ticket. Please spread the word! If you’re eligible for a scholarship, we very much hope that you’ll apply. Everyone needs a helping hand or some extra encouragement sometimes, and we’re so grateful to the Sirens community for making this support possible.

 

TICKETS UPDATE

Studio and Supper tickets are nearly sold out! We currently have only 14 tickets remaining for our Sirens Studio and six tickets remaining for our Sirens Supper. If you’d like to purchase a ticket, you may do so in our registration system.

 

SIRENS MEET-UPS

Though nothing replaces attending Sirens in October, we occasionally host casual get-togethers for the Sirens community throughout the year. It can be a great way to introduce us to your friends (and vice versa), share a meal or a cup of tea, and chat about books with fellow Sirens community members! Here are the meet-ups in Denver and New York:

  • Denver: Saturday, May 5, 2–4 p.m. Mountain
  • New York City: Saturday, May 19, 2–4 p.m. Eastern

Please note that attendees must pay for their own drinks and food. RSVP to Jennifer at (jennifer.shimada at sirensconference.org). Please see our post for the full details.

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB

The City of Brass

Sirens co-founder Amy Tenbrink talks personal reading quirks, reluctant heroines, and dazzling world-building in her book club pick this month—S. A. Chakraborty’s The City of Brass—which she called, “in many, many, ways … a tour de force.” Read her thoughts on the blog and on Goodreads.

 

READ ALONG WITH FAYE

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty

Communications Director Faye tried her hand at young adult poetry this month for her 2018 Reading Challenge pick, Christine Heppermann’s Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty. “The book is a handsome tome, pocket-sized with art and text laid out just-so, and Heppermann is clearly talented, even if her poems don’t speak to my experience as a former teenage girl.” Read her full review on the blog and on 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 10, Issue 3 (February 2018)

In this issue:

 

SIRENS STUDIO WORKSHOPS ANNOUNCED

We’re thrilled to announce our reading, writing, and career development topics for this year’s Sirens Studio! Held on October 23-24, 2018 prior to the official start of the conference, the Studio offers 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. New for 2018, participants will also be invited to a Studio attendees-only faculty reception.

Please click on the faculty biographies and course titles for more information on each workshop intensive:

Reading

Writing

Career

Read the Full Post

 

SCHOLARSHIP FUNDRAISING

As part of our mission, we specifically craft Sirens to include and amplify the many brilliant voices of our attendees. Tomorrow, we’ll be kicking off our fundraising campaign to help make attendance possible for people of color, exemplary programming proposals, those with financial hardships, and new this year, librarians, educators, and publishing professionals. We’ll have more information about how you can support our scholarships on our blog tomorrow!

 

PRICE INCREASE AND TICKETS UPDATE

On March 1, the cost of a Sirens registration will increase from $225 to $250.

Along with general registration for Sirens, tickets are available now for the Sirens Studio and the Sirens Supper. There are only 20 Studio and 11 Supper tickets remaining!

Buy Tickets

 

PROGRAMMING PROPOSALS

The deadline for programming proposals is approaching in May, so in March, we’ll be launching our annual programming series with tips, tricks and everything you need to know to submit a successful programming proposal, along with free-for-the-taking topic ideas on our #SirensBrainstorm hashtag. We’re also revisiting each Sirens theme; you can find our posts on Reunion and Hauntings over on the blog now, with Revolutionaries, Lovers, and Women Who Work Magic coming soon!

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB

The Monsters of Templeton

This month, Sirens co-founder Amy Tenbrink read and reviewed Lauren Groff’s The Monsters of Templeton in her book club: “Anyone from a small town will startle at Groff’s insightful depiction of both the unchanging sameness and the roiling, gossip-worthy drama.” Read her full review on the blog and on Goodreads.

 

READ ALONG WITH FAYE

Sing, Unburied, Sing

In February, Communications Director Faye Bi read Jesmyn Ward’s highly acclaimed Sing, Unburied, Sing for the Reading Challenge, which impressed with “its lyrical, economical prose, its somewhat archetypal but expertly drawn characters, and its deft handling of the many challenges plaguing black communities in the rural south.” Read her full review on the blog and on 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 10, Issue 2 (January 2018)

In this issue:

 

WHAT SIRENS IS . . . AND WHAT IT ISN’T

The more people who come to Sirens, the more ideas there are about what Sirens is . . . and what it isn’t. We’re kicking off 2018 by addressing both some core tenets and some common misconceptions about our conference. For example, did you know that everyone’s voice, no matter their vocation, identity, perspective, or familiarity with us, is equally important at Sirens? Conversely, did you know that Sirens is not a writers’ conference, though many writers find it valuable? Nor does it consider itself a “feminist” conference for women, though many of its attendees are women who claim the word “feminist.” Whether you’re new to us or a multiple-time attendee, we think this will be helpful.

Read the Full Post

 

FOURTH GUEST OF HONOR, STUDIO FACULTY ANNOUNCED

Leigh Bardugo, author of Shadow and Bone, Six of Crows, and Wonder Woman: Warbringer, will be joining Zen Cho, Kameron Hurley, and Anna-Marie McLemore as guests of honor for this year’s conference! Leigh will represent women who work magic in our 2018 theme of Reunion. Visit our Guests of Honor page to learn more.

 

s.e. smith will be joining our Sirens Studio faculty for 2018, leading a reading intensive. We’ll have full summaries coming next month, but you can check out all of our faculty biographies now on our Sirens Studio page.

 

TICKETS UPDATE

Along with general registration for Sirens, tickets are also available for our pre-conference events, the Sirens Studio and the Sirens Supper. We’ll have information about specific Studio workshop intensive topics in February, so stay tuned.

Buy Tickets

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB

The Bloodprint

Did you know that Sirens co-founder Amy Tenbrink reads 150 books a year? This month, she read Ausma Zehenat Khan’s The Bloodprint for the Sirens Book Club: “While this story is purportedly Arian’s, it’s really the story of every rebel against an authoritarian regime who has found that their fight is against not only the regime, but their own people’s fear, blindness, carelessness, and ignorance.” Read her full review on the blog and on Goodreads.

 

READ ALONG WITH FAYE

The One Hundred Nights of Hero

Are you planning on tackling the 2018 Reading Challenge? If you’d like some company, Communications Director Faye Bi reviews a book from the challenge each month. She adored Isabel Greenberg’s The One Hundred Nights of Hero, which she deemed a “brilliant, irreverent, pure delight of a graphic novel . . . perfect for long winter nights in a cozy reading chair and a big mug of tea.” Read her full review on the blog and on 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 10, Issue 1 (November 2017)

In this issue:

 

THANK YOU

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to all who attended and supported Sirens in 2017. Whether you followed our conversations on Twitter, attended for the first time, or have been with us since the beginning, we are thrilled to have each of you as a part of our community—a community of brilliant, passionate, and increasingly inclusive readers.

Thank you for bringing your opinions, experiences, expertise, and reading recommendations. For submitting programming, donating your time, funds, or skills to our Sirens programs and auction, for buying loads and loads of books, and if you were a new attendee this year, for taking a chance on us.

A special thank you to our three formidable 2017 guests of honor: Zoraida Córdova, N. K. Jemisin, and Victoria Schwab. You are proof that women do, and always have, worked magic.

 

SIRENS IN 2018

Our new Sirens website is live and open to the public! To learn more about our 2018 theme of reunion and our exploration of our past four themes: hauntings, rebels and revolutionaries, lovers, and women who work magic, please visit: sirensconference.org. Zen Cho, Kameron Hurley, Anna-Marie McLemore, and a soon-to-be-announced fourth guest will join us as our guests of honor. Our tremendous Sirens Studio faculty include Rhoda Belleza, K. Tempest Bradford, Dr. Kinitra Brooks, Zoraida Córdova, Dr. Andrea Horbinski, Justina Ireland, Anne Ursu, and a fourth reading intensive instructor to be announced soon.

As we shared earlier this year, we’ll be returning to the beautiful Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa in Beaver Creek, Colorado. The 2018 dates to note are:
October 23–24: Sirens Studio
October 24: Sirens Supper
October 25–28: Sirens

The Sirens Shuttle will run from Denver International Airport on Monday evening, October 22 prior to the Sirens Studio as well as on the afternoons of October 24 and October 25. All shuttle-riders will depart Beaver Creek on Sunday, October 28. In 2018, for the first time, both one-way and round-trip shuttle tickets are available.

Registration is currently $225 and will remain at that price until February 28. We hope to see you next October!

 

BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS, 2018 EDITION

Our 2018 Suggested Reading is now on the website, and so is our much-loved Reading Challenge! If you missed Amy’s Book Club and Read Along with Faye last month, worry not—they’ll be back in January for a new year of reviews and commentary.

 

QUIET TIME

Between now and the end of the year, the Sirens staff will be quieter than usual as we rebuild and prepare for 2018. Feel free to stay up to date on all our news through our website, our Twitter, our Facebook, and our newsletter.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

 

SIRENS REACTION THAT MADE US CRY

 


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 1 (December 2016)

In this issue:

 

BELATEDLY

Sirens is a wonderful, amazing, demanding endeavour! While we adore it, it takes the vast majority of our staff’s time in September and October—which leads to a rebound effect in November and December as we catch up on the rest of our commitments to work, families, and friends. We’ll be back in earnest in January, but in the meantime, if you encounter sometimes significant delays in our returning communications, we hope you’ll forgive us.

 

THANK YOU

To all of you who attended and supported Sirens in 2016—thank you! Thank you for bringing your backgrounds, experiences, reading lists, opinions, and wisdom to our community. Thank you for speaking and listening, for discussing and disagreeing, and for doing so with respect and with inclusiveness. Thank you for presenting, for donating, for buying books and t-shirts and auction items. Thank you for leading Books and Breakfast discussions and helping presenters. Sirens is richer and more vibrant because of each of you.

A special thank you to our splendid 2016 guests of honor, Laurie J. Marks, Renée Ahdieh, and Kiini Ibura Salaam, who inspired us with their words—and their willingness to speak true, no matter how hard.

 

SIRENS IN 2017

Our 2017 Sirens website is live! Please visit www.sirensconference.org to learn about this year’s theme of women who work magic: witches, sorceresses, spellcasters, mages, illusionists, and more. Too often, women in fantasy literature are everyday humans navigating a world of wonder; for 2017, we’ll examine women who both have power and wield it. Zoraida Córdova, N. K. Jemisin, and Victoria Schwab will join us as our guests of honor.

Also this year, we’re returning to the recently-renovated luxury hotel, the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa in Vail, Colorado. The conference will run October 26–29, 2017, with the Sirens Studio on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 24–25, and the Sirens Supper on Wednesday, October 25. The Sirens Shuttle will run from the Denver International Airport on Monday night prior to the Studio and on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons; the return trip for all shuttle-riders will depart Vail at noon on Sunday, October 29. (We’re hoping to have Studio faculty announcements out early in 2017—so don’t purchase those plane tickets quite yet! Also, please note that due to renovations, hotel reservations are on hold until the end of the year; we’ll let you know the moment you can reserve a room.)

Registration is currently $190, and will remain that price until the end of the year. The Sirens Studio, the Sirens Supper, and the Sirens Shuttle tickets can be purchased separately. We hope you join us next October!

 

QUIET TIME

As we mentioned above, until the end of the year, the Sirens staff will be quieter than normal as we rebuild and ready ourselves for 2017. Our programming and volunteering systems are closed for maintenance, though we encourage you to keep up-to-date on all the news through our website, Twitter, and newsletter. We’re planning features on our guests, travel, programming, and theme, plus more informal Sirens meet-ups throughout the year. Feel free to grab a graphic to show your support! Of course, if you have any questions, suggestions, or feedback, please email us at (help at sirensconference.org).

We’d also like to remind you that, for a variety of reasons, if you have questions about Sirens, the best place to ask us is by emailing us at (help at sirensconference.org). As an all-volunteer organization, we are not always diligent about checking our social media—and the people who do check it often don’t have the answers that you’re seeking. Thanks for your help and understanding!

 

2017 READING

To keep you busy while we’re out, our 2017 Suggested Reading and Reading Challenge are also live! Check them out, get busy buying or borrowing books, and check back in January for the return of Amy’s Book Club and Read Along with Faye (who did finish the 2016 Challenge!).

 

SUCCESS STORIES

We’ve had many story ideas, personal projects, and career moves sparked by conversations at Sirens. Have you started or changed jobs? Published a book or paper? Gone back to school? Tell us! Shout your good news at the rooftops over at (help at sirensconference.org).

 

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 8, Issue 1 (November 2015)

In this issue:

 

SIRENS IN 2015
Thank you, thank you, thank you for making Sirens in 2015 utterly amazing.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, for wrestling with tough questions, for celebrating successes, for commiserating on struggles, and most of all, for recognizing the depth and breadth of work related to women in fantasy literature. Thank you for welcoming newcomers and connecting with old friends. Thank you for contributing to (and buying from!) our auction and our store; every penny is appreciated.

And a hearty thank you to our 2015 guests of honor—Rae Carson, Kate Elliott, and Yoon Ha Lee—who regaled us with engaging, informative, heartfelt, and funny keynotes.

Guest of Honor Kate Elliott - Thursday, October 8, 2015.Guest of Honor Yoon Ha Lee - Friday, October 9, 2015.Bedtime Stories at Sirens in 2015. From top to bottom: Rae Carson, Yoon Ha Lee, and Kate Elliott.Guest of Honor Rae Carson - Saturday, October 10, 2015.

 

SIRENS IN 2016
Our website for 2016 is up! You can find it, as always, at www.sirensconference.org. We hope you’ll visit to find out more about next year’s theme, lovers: In fantasy literature, as in the real world, whom we choose to love changes us—and helps us change the world. Renée Ahdieh, Laurie J. Marks, and Kiini Ibura Salaam will attend as our guests of honor.

We will remain at the Inverness for another year, and Sirens will be held October 20–23, 2016, with the pre-conference Sirens Studio on Tuesday, October 18, and Wednesday, October 19, and the Sirens Supper on Wednesday, October 19. The Sirens Shuttle will run on Monday, October 18; Wednesday, October 19; Thursday, October 20; and on Sunday, October 23, for the return trip to Denver International Airport. Registration for the conference is currently $190, and will remain at that price until the end of the year. Studio, Supper, and Shuttle tickets can be purchased separately.

For now, our programming and volunteering systems remain closed for some maintenance, but we’ll be sure to shout the news when they’re available again. You can still get all the news on our website, and we’ll be featuring more on our guests, travel, programming, and theme throughout the year. In the meantime, feel free to grab a graphic to show your support. We hope you can join us next October!

 

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE: QUESTIONS
If you have questions, please email us at (help at sirensconference.org), and we’ll make sure your question goes to someone who can answer it. We know that questions come up when you’re on social media, but our social media team doesn’t have the answers for most questions, and most social media channels don’t allow us to answer accurately, fully, securely, or quickly, at least not while we remain a volunteer-run conference. Thanks for your understanding! Our operators are standing by….

 

QUIET TIME
Between now and the end of the year, we’ll be a little quieter than normal; with the hectic preparation for Sirens over, and the new website up and ready for registrations, we think of these few weeks as “summer vacation” for Sirens. We do always love to hear about interesting links and fantasy releases, though, and if you run into any problems or questions, you can always email us at (help at sirensconference.org).

 

TELL US ABOUT IT: SUCCESS!
We know that many story ideas, personal projects, and career moves have started at Sirens. Sometimes, those ideas and changes have been successful immediately; at other times, those sparks took years to grow into a flame. If you’ve got a story to share about how attending Sirens is connected to a success you’ve had, we’d love to hear about it, and we’d love to have you share it. Please email (help at sirensconference.org) by December 1. Many thanks!

 

READING CHALLENGE
If you’re looking for a bit of structure for your Sirens reading, or you simply love a challenge, you’re in the right place. Each year, our staff reads a wide selection of fantasy works written by women, some within our theme and some more broadly. This year, we invite you to take our challenge!

To take the challenge, read 25 books according to the rules on our Reading Challenge page. And keep track: we’ll be waiting for you with a button next October.

 

SUGGESTED READING
If you’re not up for a challenge, but want some new fantasy selections to read, we have gathered a wide-ranging collection of books for our 2016 suggested reading list—not just the works by this year’s guests of honor, but fantasy by and about women that connect to this year’s lovers theme.

Also, Amy will be running her book club on our Goodreads group again this year. Each year, she selects a book a month from the suggested reading list that she hasn’t already read. She reads and reviews, and you’re welcome to join in the conversation. The books for 2016 are already up over at Goodreads.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

Testimonials: Inspired by Sirens–Edith Hope Bishop

Testimonials: Inspired by Sirens–Artemis Grey

Testimonials: Inspired by Sirens–Yoon Ha Lee

Testimonials: Inspired by Sirens–Nivair Gabriel

Suzi Rogers Gruber: Fantasy Works Featuring Women Who Fight Back

Missing the book releases and interesting links? Keep an eye out—we’ll be catching up on autumn news soon!

 


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

 

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 7, Issue 11 (September 2015)

In this issue:

 

REGISTRATION DEADLINE
Sirens is next month—and we can’t wait to see you! If you haven’t purchased your registration yet, please make sure to do so by September 12. When the clock strikes 11:59 p.m. on September 12, we’ll close our online registration system. After that, you must register at the door at an increased price.

If you have any questions, please contact us at (registration at sirensconference.org).

 

TICKETS
The registration deadline is also the deadline to purchase tickets for the Sirens Shuttle, Sirens Supper, and Sirens Studio. The Sirens Shuttle provides attendees and their guests affordable transportation to and from the Denver International Airport. The Sirens Supper is a wonderful way to connect with staff and attendees the night before the conference officially launches. And, new this year, the Sirens Studio offers two days of workshops, networking opportunities, discussions, and flexible time for writers, readers, and professionals. We’ll stop selling these tickets on September 12, and they’re very unlikely to be available at the door, so add them to your registration before the deadline.

 

TRAVEL AND HOTEL RESERVATIONS
No matter how you’re traveling to Sirens, we have information available for you on the transportation page of our website. Denver is a large and sprawling city, but the Inverness Hotel offers some fabulous amenities and dining options right at home. If you haven’t made your hotel reservations yet, please do so by calling the hotel directly at (303) 799-5800; rooms are filling up quickly. (Please do not call the toll-free number, since they don’t seem aware of our room block.) If you have any issues making a reservation and getting the Sirens discount rate, please do let us know at (help at sirensconference.org).

 

UPCOMING INSTRUCTION EMAILS
If you’ve registered for Sirens, please keep an eye on your inbox during the beginning of October. We’ll be sending you emails regarding, as appropriate, meeting the Sirens Shuttle, checking in for the Sirens Studio, finding the Sirens Supper, and claiming your Sirens registration.

 

SCHEDULE
If you’ve got all of your travel details set, it might be time to review the accepted programming and schedule for Sirens and daydream about owning a Time-Turner, or to volunteer (see below). It might also be time to review the Books and Breakfast list and pick out something to chat about before the day’s programming starts, or time to squeeze in a few more books from this year’s themed reading list. Remember, if you’ve finished this year’s Reading Challenge, please email us by September 12 to let us know of your victory; we’ll have a button suitable for gloating waiting for you at Sirens!

 

VOLUNTEERING
We’d love your help at Sirens! Volunteer shifts vary in length and responsibilities, but most volunteer shifts are during programming and allow you to attend presentations. You might help people find seats, turn microphones on or off, give presenters their five-minute warnings that time is up, and gather lost and found items. See the volunteers page page on our website for more details. If you’re a returning volunteer, you don’t need to fill out the form—just follow the directions in the email sent through the Google Group. Thank you!

 

SUPPORT SIRENS
Each year, Sirens raises thousands of dollars in order to hold the conference and to keep registration costs as low as possible for everyone—even as the cost of hosting events skyrockets. If you can support Sirens through a donation of money, auction items, or used books, we’d be very appreciative.

 

GUEST OF HONOR INTERVIEW

Rae Carson

Read our in-depth interview with Guest of Honor Rae Carson, where she discusses inspirations, gold panning, Princess Leia, writing and more.

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB

AnEmberintheAshes

Come read with us! Sirens co-founder Amy leads the Sirens Book Club each month. September’s book is An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Join the discussion on Goodreads.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

July Recap: Sirens News, Book Releases, and Interesting Links

Sirens Accepted Programming for 2015: Roundtable Discussions

Sirens Accepted Programming for 2015: Workshops

Sirens Accepted Programming for 2015: Afternoon Classes

Sirens Accepted Programming for 2015: Panels

Rae Carson: Five Young Adult Fantasy Works with Adult Crossover Appeal

Andrea Horbinski: Five Fantasies of the Roaring Twenties from the New Gilded Age

Erynn Moss: Eight Fantasy Works That Don’t Over-Explain

s.e. smith: Five Dark and Twisty Young Adult Works

Casey Blair: Six Secondary World Urban Fantasies

Testimonials: If you’ve attended Sirens more than once, why did you decide to come back to Sirens?

Sirens Support

 


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

 

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 7, Issue 10 (August 2015)

In this issue:

 

INTERVIEWS WITH GUESTS OF HONOR

Kate Elliott Yoon Ha Lee

We recently posted Sirens interviews with two of our guests of honor for 2015: Kate Elliott and Yoon Ha Lee, and they’ve got some fascinating things to say about reading, writing, and women in fantasy. Coming soon, we’ll interview our third guest of honor, Rae Carson, as well!

 

REGISTRATION DEADLINE
The deadline to register for Sirens is fast approaching. If you haven’t purchased your registration yet, please make sure to do so before registration closes on September 12. After that, you must register at the door at an increased price. If you have any questions, please contact us at (registration at sirensconference.org).

 

TICKETS
Tickets for the Sirens Shuttle, Sirens Supper, and Sirens Studio are still available. The Sirens Shuttle offers discounted group transportation to and from Denver International Airport, for you and any friends or family who’d like a ride too. The Sirens Supper is our annual pre-conference dinner, and a great way to kick off the conference. Finally, our new offering, the Sirens Studio, features two days of workshop intensives (for readers, writers, and professionals), discussion, networking opportunities, and flexible time for you to use however you wish. If you’d like to join us for some—or all—of these, tickers can be added to a registration until registration closes on September 12 . Tickets for these events are unlikely to be available at the door.

 

HOTEL RESERVATIONS
Don’t forget to make reservations to stay with us at the Inverness Hotel in the south Denver metro area. Rooms are filling up quickly, especially for the Sirens Studio days (and nights)! If you’re seeking roommates, let us know on Twitter so we can retweet your search, or make a post on Facebook or our website message boards. If you have any issues making a reservation and getting the Sirens discount rate, please do let us know at (help at sirensconference.org); if we can help, we certainly will. Read more about why staying at the hotel helps us and why you will want to stay at the Inverness.

 

PROGRAMMING SPONSORSHIPS
You can see the presentations we’ve accepted from Sirens attendees on the accepted programming page. (The schedule is undergoing proofreading as you read this!) If you see a presentation you love, consider sponsoring the presentation under your name or on behalf of a group! Presentation sponsorships cost only $35, and the proceeds go entirely to Sirens’ expenses. We appreciate your donations, and if you sponsor a presentation by August 21, we’ll be able to list your donation not just on the website, but in the printed program book that all attendees receive.

 

VOLUNTEERING
Would you like to help out during Sirens? Volunteer shifts vary in length and responsibilities, but most volunteer shifts are during programming and allow you to attend presentations; you might help people find seats, turn microphones on or off, give presenters their five-minute warnings that time is up, and gather lost and found items. See the volunteers page on our website for more details. If you’re a returning volunteer, you don’t need to fill out the form—just keep an eye out for email from the Google Group. We’ll be sending information about available volunteer shifts to group members. Thank you!

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB

InGreatWaters

Come read with us! Sirens co-founder Amy leads the Sirens Book Club each month. August’s book is In Great Waters by Kit Whitfield. Join the discussion here on Goodreads.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

Books for Friday’s Books and Breakfast and Saturday’s Books and Breakfast have been announced.

Sherwood Smith: Influential Fantasy for Heroines

Hallie Tibbetts: Sirens Accepted Programming for 2015: Papers

June Recap: Sirens News, Book Releases, and Interesting Links has become its very own special feature, with links, book releases, and more. We’ve rounded up June, and July is on its way…

Yoon Ha Lee: Six Fantasy Works for Sirens

Shveta Thakrar: Seven Fantasy Books Featuring Non-Western Mythology and Folklore

Kate Elliott: Five Fabulous Epic Fantasy Works by Women

Hallie Tibbetts: Six Fantasy Books with Non-US Settings

Testimonials and a Love Letter

 


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

 

Sirens Newsletter – Volume 7, Issue 8 (June 2015)

In this issue:

 

SIRENS SCHOLARSHIPS AND DEADLINES
This year, because of the generosity of the Sirens community, we are pleased to offer scholarships in three categories: via Con or Bust, for programming proposal merit, and for people with financial hardships. Each scholarship includes both a Sirens registration and a Sirens Shuttle ticket. Con or Bust is coordinating the first set of scholarships (and two were claimed at the time of this writing), and to be eligible for a programming merit scholarships, presenters opted in during the submissions process. Sirens is taking financial hardships scholarships applications until June 15, 2015. If you need assistance, we hope you’ll consider applying for a scholarship.

 

PROGRAMMING DECISIONS ARE COMING!
Notices regarding programming proposals will be sent no later than June 8, 2015 (and you should expect them close to or on that date, rather than sooner). Please note, however, that if we’re still tracking down your co-presenters, a decision may be delayed. Thank you in advance for making sure that all proposal collaborators have checked in! We’ll be sending programming scholarships decisions with the decisions on proposals. The vetting board and the scholarships committee both thank you for your participation, and are giving thoughtful consideration to your proposals.

 

REGISTRATION PRICE INCREASE AND PRESENTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE
The last day to register for Sirens for $195 is July 7; the price increases to $205 on July 8. July 7 is also the deadline to register for presenters; if you’re a presenter and need an extra day or two to register and pay, be sure to coordinate with (programming at sirensconference.org) so that your accepted presentation is not dropped from the schedule.

 

SIRENS STUDIO
For the first time, Sirens is delighted to offer a pre-conference option for readers, writers, scholars, and professionals! The Sirens Studio will start Tuesday morning and feature two days of workshop intensives, discussion, networking opportunities, and flexible time for you to use however you wish. Check out the schedule, workshops, and faculty here.

 

SIRENS SUPPER
If you’ll be in Denver on the evening of October 7, 2015, perhaps you’d like to join us for the Sirens Supper. Each year, our conference staff hosts a dinner for a limited number of attendees and friends, where we get to know each other before Sirens starts, and you’re welcome to come. The menu: petite greens with jicama, orange segments, cilantro-lime dressing and cornbread croutons; local corn and roasted poblano chili chowder; a medley of fresh, seasonal vegetables; black bean rice pilaf; fresh baked rolls and butter; baked salmon with Yucatan spices and coconut; cane sugar-rubbed roasted pork loin with Creole mustard sauce; quinoa-stuffed eggplant with roasted pepper marinara; margarita cheesecake; fruit empanadas; and coffee and hot tea. Tickets are $60, and those who also register for the Sirens Studio get $10 off the dinner price.

 

SIRENS SHUTTLE
Ground transportation in Denver is expensive, and Denver’s public transportation isn’t what it could be. In addition, the Inverness Hotel, the location for Sirens, is out of the way. Sirens offers discounted group transportation so that you can ride to and from Denver International Airport. We’ll pick you up and return you to the airport for $60, less than other vendors want for a one-way trip. You can add tickets for yourself or friends on a new registration or to an existing registration. Get more information and the Sirens Shuttle schedule here.

 

AUCTION AND BOOKSTORE DONATIONS
Each year, Sirens covers thousands of dollars in operating expenses with the proceeds from our conference auction and bookstore. While the bookstore does purchase its new inventory, Sirens attendees and supporters always generously donate both auction items and used fantasy books in order to help us raise these necessary funds. Auction items can—and have been—everything from custom artwork to professional services, advanced reader copies of fantasy books to t-shirts, pillows, and journals. Anything that might interest fantasy readers, writers, or professionals is welcome. Similarly, we accept gently used fantasy books by female authors or featuring complex female protagonists for the used section of the bookstore. If you are interested in donating an auction item, please email Amy Tenbrink at (donate at sirensconference.org) to let her know that you’ll be supporting our auction; if you are donating used books, please send them so they reach us at the following address no later than September 19, 2015 (and you can use media mail!):

Sirens
c/o Narrate Conferences
P.O. Box 149
Sedalia, Colorado 80135

Thank you for your support!

 

AMY’S BOOK CLUB

TheMirrorEmpire

Come read with us! Sirens co-founder Amy leads the Sirens Book Club each month. June’s book is The Mirror Empire (Worldbreaker Saga #1) by Kameron Hurley. Join the discussion here on Goodreads, starting on Saturday, June 6.

 

YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT…

Interesting Links:

We are saddened to hear of the passing of Tanith Lee (1945–2015)

Fairy tales, fantasy and dangerous female desire: Celebrating Angela Carter, the literary link between Bros. Grimm and ‘50 Shades’”

Subversive Pleasure”: On Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber

5 Black Women Authors Everyone Should Be Reading”

Dear Marvel and Sony: We Love Movies for Their Kick-Ass Female Heroes, Too, You Jerks”

Feminist Thor Selling Way More Comic Books Than Dude Thor”

2015 Locus Awards Finalists

2014 Shirley Jackson Awards Nominees

The 2015 Norton Award jury has convened and seeks entries; young adult and middle grade books with speculative content published in 2015 are eligible

Lumberjanes optioned for a live action movie

 

Recent Releases:
This month, we’re changing how we tell you about recent releases. In July’s newsletter, we’ll give you the June roundup. We love to hear about new books, whether yours or those you’re anticipating; please send the details to (help at sirensconference.org).

 

SIRENS REVIEW SQUAD
We’d love a few more volunteers to supply us with short reviews of works they have read and loved. If you think you could contribute a book review of at least 250 words sometime during the next year, we would be pleased to have your recommendation for the Sirens newsletter.

Review squad volunteering is flexible; we simply ask that you share information about books you’ve enjoyed. (We are, of course, especially interested in fantasy books by and about women, and we hope you’ll consider interesting, diverse selections.) You can contribute once or on an ongoing basis, and on a schedule that works for you. Please visit the volunteer system and, when we ask you what position you’re interested in, type in “Book Reviewer.”

 

This month, 2009 Sirens Guest of Honor Sherwood Smith offers us a look at two recent releases.

Crimson Bound, Rosamund Hodge
Uprooted, Naomi Novik

Some twenty, twenty-five years ago, I recollect a lot of scorn poured on the pastoral fantasy. Which is fine—no every subgenre pleases every reader, blah blah—but (as people will) the pastoral novel was derided as being not only twee but backward-looking, especially compared to the Cool New Cyberpunk, which was all about the edge of the future.

Of course there were readers who cheerfully admitted to liking both. I remember rolling my eyes and bailing discussions as soon as they devolved into if-this-is-good-that-has-to-be-bad. Especially when “pastoral” was narrowly defined as twee stories about sweetly eccentric English hedge witches and revampings of Beatrix Potter. (To which I once responded, have you actually reread Beatrix Potter recently? Or the poetry of William Blake?)

Anyway, for whatever reasons, pastoral fantasies largely went out of fashion, at least I hadn’t seen any until this month when two came out within days of each other. They contained a lot of similar elements, they were not set in an idyllic England, and they are very, very not twee.

These are Crimson Bound, by Rosamund Hodge, and Uprooted by Naomi Novik.

Before I talk about them, I want to address what I think pastoral fantasy is. This is an old form that resurfaces every few generations, in art, poetry, and fairy tales. It’s not always twee or cute, though there is an emphasis on natural beauties. But pastoral fantasy can explore beauty that is dangerous, inspiring but unsettling, powerful and even subversive because it has not been neatly clipped into box hedges, cemented over, and civilized into an urban pretense of order.

CrimsonBoundPastoral fantasy is not grimdark, which emphasizes the ugly and grinds down the dispossessed; it permits the tangle of the forest to get its roots and leaves into the urban walls and streets. Pastoral fantasy can be dark and dangerous but also full of beauty, hope, and tenderness: you can die in the same wilderness you go to experience peace, beauty, and calm. Alone in nature, you become aware that you are not the most powerful force there.

I think that that is the most important distinction of pastoral fantasy: that humans are not the most powerful force.

Neither of these two new novels takes place in fantasy England: Uprooted is set in a semblance of eastern Europe, and Crimson Bound in a fairy tale France circa the seventeenth century—which was a time of dynamic change.

In both, the woods play a fundamental role—a threatening, dangerous, horrific role. Some of the most evocative writing in both books is about the forest and its dangerous nature.

From Crimson Bound:

Erec led them through the Chateau, and it was almost the forest. Bleeding through the marble hallways, Rachelle saw labyrinthine paths between trees whose branches wove together overhead until they seemed like a single plant.

Birds called with warbling, half-human voices. The wind dug its fingers into her hair, burned at her eyes.

From Uprooted:

There was a falling tree stretching across the space, a giant, its trunk taller across than I was. Its fall had opened up this clearing, and in the middle of it, a new tree had sprung up to take its place.

But not the same kind of tree. All the other trees I’d seen in the Wood had been familiar kinds, despite their stained bark and the twisted unnatural angles of their branches: oaks and black birch, and tall pines. But this was no kind of tree I had ever seen.

It was already larger around than the circle my arms could make, even though the giant tree couldn’t have fallen very long ago. It had smooth gray bark over a strangely knotted trunk, with long branches in even circles around it, starting high up the trunk like a larch. its branches weren’t bare with winter, but carried a host of dried-up silvery leaves that rustled in the wind, a noise that seem to come from somewhere else, as though there were people just out of sight speak softly together.

I’d say both books are New Adult or above; both are centered around seventeen-year-old girls who gain terrific powers, tackle adult relationships, and fight their way against terrible odds. Uprooted is pastoral fantasy but also horror, and Crimson Bound, while not horror, is more of a dark fantasy; while it doesn’t have the Die Hard body count of Uprooted, it is no slouch in dealing with duels and death.

UprootedAnd in both the woods are compellingly dangerous.

In spite of these similar elements, they are very different books. To read one is not at all to have read the other. I talk about them more specifically on Goodreads here and here; though they head in different directions (and I’m not getting more specific lest I tread into spoiler territory), there is one important element they share: their exploration of female emotional growth, and agency.

These heroines are not looking backward, nor are the thematic elements of their stories. They are playing out, in entertaining format, what life will be like for young women moving into positions of authority. That includes the cost of moral and ethical choices, and the inexorable ramifications of decisions made when you have the power to effect others’ lives.

Both are immersive, compelling reads, and in spite of the retro-fantasy setting, have a great deal to say about issues right now. –Sherwood Smith


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

 

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