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.|
|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: http://www.wiscon.info/principles.php 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.|
|Schedule||Sat, 4:00–5:15 pm|
|Panelists||M: Sheree Renée Thomas. Jeanne Gomoll, Cat Hanna, Debbie Notkin, Victor Raymond|