Suzanne Rogers Gruber (@srgruber)
Sirens is important to me as an opportunity to interrogate and reflect and celebrate works and genres that I love in a community of readers. It’s my time to connect with old friends and make new ones, to explore other perspectives and approaches, and to let Amy talk me into yet another pile of books from the bookstore. But the real importance of Sirens is in the ongoing evolution of a space where a community of fantasy readers can share and explore and sometimes disagree. I have listened to new publishing professionals discuss how their time at Sirens shaped them and their careers. One author told me, with tears in her eyes, that in decades of writing fantasy and attending conferences, she’d never been in a space so friendly and open to her as a woman who wrote fantasy. I remember the look of utter joy on one reader’s face when an author whose works she adored invited her to join a group for dinner. The magic of Sirens is in all of the people who come and share their complicated, passionate, and insightful ideas about women in fantasy, and who make room for others to share, too.
Faye Bi (@faye_bi)
First, some facts: behemoth Comic-Cons are swallowing up smaller, more local cons. Many MFA programs and English departments still scorn genre fiction. The voices of female creators and professionals continue to be silenced or worse, ridiculed. And even though it’s a “fantasy book” and there’s magic and time travel and super-special jewelery, there are still no female characters or characters of color in any position of agency.
Sirens, thus, inhabits a unique space in the word of conferences: intimate, intellectually rigorous, inclusive, and unabashedly geeky. A space where my voice is just as valued as the bestselling fantasy author, the academic with two degrees, and the reader who loves paranormal romance. A space where my voice, as a woman and an immigrant, won’t be silenced or ridiculed. Lucky people may live near friends who already discuss the portrayal of Native American culture in the werewolves of Twilight or how hauntings are inherently women’s stories. But for those who don’t, that’s why Sirens exists: to be a space of conversation, insight, and refuge.
Kate Larking (@astres)
Sirens is the one conference that I make sure not to miss. I’ve gone to several fantasy-centered conventions, but Sirens is the one for me. The strong sense of community brings me back again and again. I am always satisfied with the wonderful book recommendations, and divergent and accommodating conversations on all sorts of hot-button topics for women. Most of all, when I come to Sirens, I am guaranteed when to meet someone who has a completely different background from mine, has rich knowledge in areas of folklore and fantasy that I lack, and can stretch my brain to think of things I haven’t before considered. Every time I come to Sirens, I grow as a person, a reader, and a writer.
Kate Tremills (@KateTremills)
Sirens offers a space for us to be strong, smart, silly, and joyful. To express our most creative selves in every possible way. I was especially moved by the community at Sirens. These women look after one another, challenge each other, and scream when they see one another again after a year has passed. This conference gave me a space to share some of my most vulnerable personal stories and have them received with kindness and understanding. I have experienced few places like Sirens and no other conference like Sirens.