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5th-Nov-2012 07:30 pm - Sirens Compendium Available
We're pleased to announce that the first compendium from Sirens is now available!

Sirens: Collected Papers 2009–2011 combines written versions of presentations from three years of Sirens, a conference on women in fantasy literature. During those years, presenters were encouraged to analyze women warriors, fairies, and monsters. Presentations for Sirens were chosen by vetting boards made up of scholars, professionals, and readers. Following each year’s conference, presenters were invited to submit text versions of their presentations for the Sirens compendium; twenty-five of the nearly ninety presentations from 2009–2011 are represented in these collected papers.

The publisher, Narrate Conferences, Inc. (http://www.narrateconferences.org), is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that presents innovative conferences and events for teens and adults. The Narrate Conferences mission is to provide unique opportunities for scholars, students, professionals and readers to discuss books, television, films, other media and popular culture.

You can review the table of contents by visiting the Sirens compendium page at http://www.sirensconference.org/programming/compendium.html or by visiting the Narrate Conferences compendia page at http://www.narrateconferences.org/education/compendia.html.

The Sirens compendium can be ordered through the link above or through your local independent bookstore. For more about Sirens, please visit http://www.sirensconference.org.

Thank you again to all of the compendium's contributors. We hope that you'll enjoy the collection as much as we have! If you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail us at (info @narrateconferences .org).
4th-Nov-2010 04:37 pm(no subject)
The second year of Sirens, a conference about women in fantasy (as readers, writers, and characters), was absolutely fantastic. Guests Marie Brennan, Holly Black, and Terri Windling, along with other presenters and attendees, gathered in Vail to discuss faeries, to share favorite books, and to focus on women in fantasy literature.

Sirens in 2011 will again be held in Vail, and we'd love to see you there from October 6-9. Guests of honor Justine Larbalestier, Nnedi Okorafor, and Laini Taylor will join us to discuss monsters and the monstrous. Programming proposals will be accepted until May 7, 2011, and papers, panels, workshops, roundtable discussions, and afternoon classes that focus on theme or on fantasy books by or about women are welcome.

For more information, please visit the Sirens website. You might also be interested in the sirenscon community.
We're pleased to announce that the compendium from Terminus, titled Terminus: Collected Papers on Harry Potter, 7-11 August 2008, is now available. E-mail announcements are winging their way to you now, but inevitably, some owls will get lost, so we're spreading the word here too.

We greatly appreciated your patience with us as we worked on publishing the compendium, and we hope that you'll enjoy the final product. Many presenters contributed their analyses and articles, and the book includes perspectives on Harry Potter as part of the curriculum, an analysis of the wizarding world's legal system, criticism of gender roles in the series, sets of questions from roundtable discussions, and many additional essays. You can review the table of contents by visiting the Terminus compendium page here: http://www.terminus2008.org/compendium/

You can order a copy of the Terminus compendium via the link above, and as other retail outlets include the book in their catalogs, we'll update our listings. At present, we've made the compendium available through our print-on-demand outlet, Lulu, though we expect it to be available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and others at a later date. In the meantime, if you purchase through Lulu before May 31, 2010, and use the coupon code FLOWERS at checkout, you'll receive 10% off the compendium's price.

Thank you again to all of the compendium's contributors. We hope that you'll enjoy the collection as much as we have! If you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail us at info@narrateconferences.org.

Finally, I wanted to remind you that Sirens, a conference about women in fantasy (as readers, writers, and characters), is celebrating its second year this October in Vail, Colorado. Our guests this year include Marie Brennan, Holly Black, and Terri Windling. Programming proposals will be accepted through May 10, and we'd love to have you in attendance. For more information, the website at http://www.sirensconference.org has registration, travel, and event details.
We have some great news to share today. First, the inaugural year of Sirens was absolutely fantastic. People from all around the United States (and a few from outside of it) gathered in Vail from October 1-4 and shared their thoughts on women in fantasy. We talked about women as characters, authors, professionals, tropes, warriors (the conference theme) and more. Guests Kristin Cashore, Tamora Pierce, and Sherwood Smith shared their paths as authors. Presenters tackled everything from the Twilight series to the crone in modern fantasy to a work by C.S. Lewis to modern-day television witches. Attendees showed up to breakfast book discussions--for books they'd never read!

Sirens was a smaller event for Narrate Conferences, which allowed us to focus on some features that are very important to us. First, we were able to gather professionals, scholars, and readers in one place, and give them the opportunity to share their viewpoints. Registrations included several meals, meaning that attendees mingled several times over the weekend--and sharing a meal is one of the most basic things we can do to build relationships! Also, because we scheduled the keynotes with the meals, there were certain ideas brought up that all attendees were prompted to think about over the course of the weekend; having a few shared experiences helps spark discussions between people who have never met before.

Support from staff, attendees, and friends means that Sirens will happen again in 2010. The theme next year is "faeries," but programming proposals prompted by anything related to women in fantasy are welcome as well. The audience for presentations is smart, open-minded, and excited to be connected with people who share their interests, so let that guide you in your preparations. (sirens_con will also host future topic brainstorming sessions, and has done so in the past, if you'd prefer to be prompted!)

In other news, the compendium for Terminus is still in progress. The road from idea to publication is a long one for any book, and with dozens of presenters and presentations--not to mention the myriad odds and ends that are part of the publication process and that can't be rushed, as they work on the timeline of large companies--we want to ensure that every i is dotted and every t crossed. In the meantime, I've seen some parts of the compendium, which is starting to look like a book, and I believe it will be worth the wait!

Finally, for those of you interested in the nuts and bolts of the events produced by Narrate Conferences, we will be running a boot camp in 2010 that's meant to give future staff members the skills they need to be successful volunteers. It can be hard to learn the scope of an event while you're trying to plan and finish tasks around deadlines, so boot camp will introduce participants to an abbreviated planning process. More information can be found here. Applications for boot camp are due by December 15, 2009.
6th-Nov-2008 09:17 am - Sirens
This week, we want to introduce you to Sirens, Narrate Conferences' next event--and hopefully an event that we can present annually for years to come. Sirens is a conference focused on women in fantasy literature: women authors, women professionals, even women characters. We've designed an event that is both scholarly conference and networking weekend, and that can be a retreat for our attendees as well. We expect scholars, authors, professionals and readers from all walks of life, and as we've done in our Harry Potter-focused conferences, Sirens will include attendee-driven presentations and discussions, as well as related "stuff to do" that's both educational and fun, so we hope that you'll come and share your thoughts.

Sirens will take place October 1-4, 2009, at the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa in the mountain town of Vail, Colorado. We've deliberately limited attendance so that Sirens is more intimate than our Harry Potter conferences have been, and we hope that this is a weekend away full of lively discussion and debate that you'll return to year after year.

While it's pretty easy to explain what Sirens is, where it will take place, and how much we hope that you’ll join us, explaining why we chose to make Sirens the next Narrate Conferences event is perhaps a little harder.

First, the Narrate Conferences staff, and friends who advise and support the organization, tend to be voracious readers, particularly in genre fiction. One of our favorite areas is fantasy literature, and in seeking it in both popular and obscure corners, we kept running into stories new and old about women working in or with the genre. This author took a man's name to publish under; that one used initials because boys won't read books written by girls. That reader found bookshelves full of male authors--and male heroes; that author noted that authors who "write like boys" tend to be more successful financially. This academic noted that the dominant literary canon doesn't include a lot of female creators; that one, that there aren't many studies on certain topics, even as women enroll in college at rates far exceeding men.

In response, we created Sirens, an examination and celebration of women in fantasy literature--and we identified some key goals. First, we wanted to focus on fantasy literature. There are fabulous conferences which cast a wider net and where the presentations we hope for at Sirens would be welcome, of course, and conferences focused on fantasy that are aimed at an academic audience. But this is where some other goals come in.

Next, we wanted to be both narrower and broader in focus than some other events. We'd like the conference (and our programming) to, on the whole, focus on fantasy literature written by and about women. Clearly, this will include some context and studies that won't be just about works by or about women. There might be some presentations that incorporate other fantasy media, and there are certainly male authors who write interesting and engaging female characters. But, since we want to recognize and study women's stories, characters, and careers, here's the difference: a paper about Will in Pullman's The Subtle Knife wouldn't be quite what we're seeking, but a paper that examines Will's relationship with Lyra, or that examines Mrs. Coulter's motivation, or that discusses gender roles in the series would be well within the scope of Sirens. So would a paper on Harry Potter, or one on George R. R. Martin's Danerys, or gender issues in scholarship or publication. So would a writing workshop, and so would be a roundtable discussion on Eowyn, Alice, and Dorothy.

We also want to continue our mission of bringing together a variety of scholars, professionals, and fans--which is easier said than done--and we hope people will encourage others to present and to attend. While working on three Potter conferences, I noticed a gradual change for the better in the quality of presentations, and that's because the attendee community wasn't afraid to reach out to others and give presenting a try. At Sirens, academics will find that their audience exists beyond the ivory tower, professionals that their work experience explains trends and gives them the skills to teach hands-on workshops, and readers that their engagement and perspectives inform discussions of texts. All our attendees have viewpoints to share, regardless--and sometimes because of--their varied backgrounds, and you might just find that an academic is particularly interested in fan viewpoints or that fans want to hear how fantasy literature is marketed.

Finally, we want Sirens to be a conference that people attend to learn, to think, to share, to network, and to rejuvenate. We want it to be a retreat, and so we deliberately chose a friendly venue with has limited space. This will be a smaller event than our past offerings, and we think that that will make it more welcoming and more engaging. We’ll have fewer tracks, longer sessions, and longer breaks, so there will be plenty of chances to discuss, both formally and over a drink with new friends and colleagues. We're encouraging people to read their formal papers in the morning--and demonstrate archery in the afternoon. (This year's theme: warriors.) We want people to talk to each other, hence the inclusion of a dessert reception, two keynote lunches, and a breakfast as part of all registrations.

Most of all, we want to provide a venue for talking about things that we suspect aren't being talked about--and that definitely aren't being shared across disciplines and professions, or with fan input. So, please, if you’re interested in Sirens, even if you can’t attend this year, do share this with your friends; success depends on word-of-mouth. The main page of the website is here, the call for proposals is here, and there's even a link on the Sirens home page to tell a friend. If you can make it, join us. We’re looking forward to the conversations!

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