Four years ago I attended the Sirens conference for the first time and fell right in love with it. You can read a little about my experience here. The theme that year: Reunion. It was Siren’s 5th year and they were celebrating the fact that in those years a small but potent community had grown up around the conference.
I didn’t get to go to Sirens in 2014 or 2015 for financial reasons – it can be an expensive event – but in 2016 I got a scholarship to attend and this year I financed it in part via Patreon. I wanted to be there to celebrate my friends Kiini Ibura Salaam (one of last year’s guests of honor) and N. K. Jemisin (one of this year’s GoHs). And I missed that little but potent community of awesome people.
Next year, I get to go back! I’ve been invited to be a part of the Writing faculty for Sirens Studio, a workshop that takes place in the days right before the main conference starts. My workshop will be on description and writing inclusive fiction:
After characterization, the aspect of craft writers who aim to create inclusive, representational fiction are most anxious to get right is description. This can be particularly difficult for fantasy and science fiction authors, who must sometimes describe types of people who don’t yet exist. In this intensive we’ll use writing exercises to explore and practice the art of description, talk about bias language, and dismantle the idea of exposition as the enemy of good writing. There will be a mix of lecture, discussion, and exercises, and all participants will leave with a set of resources for further practice and deeper understanding.
I’m so pleased I get to go back, especially because next year’s theme is, once again, Reunion. This time it really will be a reunion for me. I’m also very excited about the guests of honor: Zen Cho, Kameron Hurley, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Leigh Bardugo. It’s going to be awesome.
If you are thinking about coming to Sirens, think harder! It’s still a small conference – this year they broke all previous records by having about 225 people all told – and it’s still more in the academic conference mold than the SF convention one. That’s what makes it great. There’s a concentrated amount of programming, there are panels and discussions and presentations, the attendees are all smart and love reading, and it isn’t primarily about writing and writers, it’s about reading and readers. If you love books, if you love fantasy, if you love fantasy books written by women, then then you will love Sirens. And you should come. Registration is open. See you there.