Friday, May 27, 2011

WisCon 35 - Celebrating Guest of Honor Nisi Shawl

We're in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin now for the 35th annual WisCon - The world's leading feminist science fiction convention!  This year's GoH is writer Nisi Shawl (FILTER HOUSE).  I first met Nisi in 1999 when I was a writer in the six-week Clarion West workshop in Seattle.  Our instructors for the workshop were Nancy Kress, Greg Bear, Octavia Butler, Howard Waldrop, editor Gordon Van Gelder, and Gwyneth Jones.  Talk about awesome--the experience was life-changing in a number of ways.  It was at Clarion West where I met what would become my main writing group, the Beyon'Dusa Women Artist's Group, and it is at Clarion where I finished editing the first volume of Dark Matter (and no, I did not sleep, none of us did!).  I lost ten pounds I needed *to keep* then, ate sushi for the first time (Greg Bear coaxed Trent Walters and I to finally give it a try, yum, thanks!), and I experienced my first real earthquake.  I still can remember the mild panic I felt when I realized that *we* were actually moving, as in, the 8th floor of the college dorm we were in, and in fact, the entire city.  Staring in horror at Mt. Ranier through the window, I knew the summer would be more than memorable and more than a little scary.  It was both, and well worth the coast-to-coast trek from New York.  In fact, fellow writers had traveled from much further--writer Margo Lanagan arrived from Australia and years later I can still remember works from each of the 17 writers gathered there.  With earthquakes, no sleep, cabin fever, and the usual ball of nerves a diverse group of writers can bring together, it was one strange, exhilarating brew.  Nisi and David were there to see it all.

So you can imagine how delighted I am to be able to see and greet some of these folk at WisCon this year, meet new folks and friends, and to help celebrate Nisi's body of work and contributions to the genre.  Today she is dressed in white  and wearing a fabulous glittering tiara.  She's all star-dusty diva now and I'm loving the joy coming off her. She will read and discuss her work throughout the weekend, and do all the good stuff GoH's do with grace and a good sense of humor.

I'll post pictures once I get all the hell yeahs and approvals, in the meanwhile visit the WisCon 35 website for more info:

WisCon 35: May 26-30, 2011

The Concourse Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin

I'll be moderating and participating in a few panels this weekend.  Here are a few of those (only a handful of the zillion available to attendees on at least three different programming tracks-- 1) writing, readers, publishing  2) academics and scholarly research/discussions 3) all things fandom -- and explorations of how race, class, sex, and identity impact the genre are interwoven throughout

Yearning from the Threshold: Magic Realism & Diaspora Literature

TRACK: Reading, Viewing, and Critiquing Science Fiction (Power, Privilege, and Oppression)
Description Those who write about diaspora create from the threshold, from the border. Magical realism—with its crossing of many borders, including the border between magic and reality—allows the writer to celebrate the myths and folklore of home, even as the story echoes the experience of being ex-centric, out of the mainstream, and on the threshold. Join us for a conversation about the ways that the displaced writer (whether immigrant, ex-pat, diaspora, or refugee) uses magical realist fiction to explore the idea of marginality.
Location Senate B
Schedule Sat, 10:00–11:15 am
Panelists M: Mary Anne Mohanraj. Hiromi Goto, Nisi Shawl, Sheree Renée Thomas, Ibi Aanu Zoboi  

Why We Do What We Do: WisCon's Statement of Principles
Track(s) Fandom as a Way of Life (Power, Privilege, and Oppression)
Description WisCon's planning committee (concom) recently created a Statement of Principles to guide our work:  In the statement, we make a commitment to a broad definition of feminism. What does it mean to be a feminist science fiction and fantasy convention? Come add your voice to the conversation. We want your feedback and suggestions.
Location Conference 4
Schedule Sat, 4:00–5:15 pm 

Panelists M: Sheree Renée Thomas. Jeanne Gomoll, Cat Hanna, Debbie Notkin, Victor Raymond                      


Blogger Sheree Renée Thomas said...

More panels!

The Trials, Joys and Tribulations of Tiptree Jury Duty (scheduled) participant Sat, 10:30–11:45 pm
Senate A
Moderator: Alexis Lothian.
Fellow participants Alexis Lothian, Gwenda Bond, Karen Joy Fowler, Geoff Ryman, Sheree Renée Thomas

Lots of things happen during a year of reading for the Tiptree Award: discussing works with fellow judges, identifying nominees, and making the final decision. Judges live all over the world and rarely meet, so they have to figure out how best to talk to one another. Over the last 20 years, judges' communications moved from snailmail to email and then to wiki, where they must figure out what gender-bending means for them, that year. They disagree. They agree. They read a lot and sometimes discover that the experience of reading for the Tiptree has affected the way they read afterwards. They make friends and sometimes they don't. Let's take a peek behind the curtain.

Beyon'Dusa: Wild Wimmin Rehearsing the Impossible (scheduled) participant Sun, 1:00–2:15 pm Conference 2
Fellow participants Andrea D. Hairston, Pan Morigan, Ama Patterson, Sheree Renée Thomas

Mix jazz harmonies with soaring melodies; take curious characters that bring you to Love, Fear, and Awe; walk with a pair of unforgettable lovers; let your imagination float through wondrous waters, at this reading from four wild wimmen with hair that just might bite.

Karen Axness Memorial Panel: Women Writers You’ve Probably Never Heard Of (scheduled) participant Sun, 2:30–3:45 pm
Capitol B
Moderator: Tom Porter.
Fellow participants Tom Porter, David Peterson, Sheree Renée Thomas, Storyteller

Panelists recommend the best books by new women authors. This panel has been offered every year since WisCon 2. Come see why the audience won’t let us have a year off!

The SignOut (scheduled)
Mon, 11:30 am–12:45 pm Capitol/Wisconsin
AUTOGRAPHS & CHIT CHAT - Alex Bledsoe, K. Tempest Bradford, Richard Chwedyk, Alan John DeNiro, Moondancer Drake, Timmi Duchamp, Pamela Dean, Carol F. Emshwiller, Matt Forbeck, Valerie Estelle Frankel, Hiromi Goto, Anna Black, Eileen Gunn, Andrea D. Hairston, Jacqueline Houtman, Douglas Hulick, Deborah Lynn Jacobs, Vylar Kaftan, Ellen Klages, Josh Lukin, Kelly McCullough, Neesha Meminger, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Sarah Monette, Nancy Jane Moore, Pat Murphy, Nnedi Okorafor, Mark D. Rich, James P. Roberts, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Mary Doria Russell, Catherine M. Schaff-Stump, Fred Schepartz, Nisi Shawl, Jennifer Stevenson, Kathryn Sullivan, Lynne M. Thomas, Sheree Renée Thomas, Amy Thomson about this item.

5/27/2011 10:02 PM  

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