Friday Morning Special Topics

Marianne Kirby

WisCon Workshops will be offering sessions all weekend long — but we haven’t forgotten about our Friday morning crowd. That means we have some very special offerings for the early arriving folks at WisCon 41.

Got a suggestion for a WisCon Workshops offering you’d like to see next year? Email any time!

To sign up for these sessions

  • Register for WisCon!
  • Deadline:  April 25, 2017, 11:59pm Central Time

If you have any questions, email ASAP!


  • Friday, 9am – noon

The sessions

  • Each of these special sessions is capped at four participants (unless otherwise noted) plus the facilitator and is first come, first served.
  • NOTE: Some of these sessions do not necessarily follow the critique format. Please pay attention to any special deadlines and requirements listed for a session!

Genrequeer Writing: Contrary to what purists might tell you, “genre” and “literary” are not distinct categories, but a Venn Diagram with plenty of overlap. Lots of us cross boundaries and write from the interstices, tossing forms and genres into a blender and seeing what comes out. Bring your weird, liminal, slipstream, offbeat, hybrid Frankenstein experiments to this session. Nino solemnly swears that nobody will tell you it’s not “___” enough.

Essay, Creative Non-Fiction, Academic Paper Workshop: Are you working on a piece about feminist science fiction/speculative fiction on which you would like some feedback and critique? Want to have in-depth conversations about non-fiction writing using science fiction texts? Are you looking for space for some small group critique of your manuscript in process? Need help trying to get past an academic publishing hurdle or essay submission? This session is for WisCon participants who write non-fiction about science fiction/speculative fiction and who want an opportunity for manuscript critique and creative collaboration. Given our current political moment and the need to recognize the diversity of lives in this world and beyond, this session will prioritize work that does not center white Western narratives. Preference will be given to writers of color or those with other often marginalized voices. Submit your 3,000-5,000 word piece; focus on brevity and clarity; and, if necessary, submit a part instead of the whole paper. Participant limit for this session is 5 people. Please include an abstract in your cover letter and otherwise follow the guidance offered on the WisCon Workshops page.

Adding Romantic Elements to Your Speculative Fiction: Almost any fiction is better with a dash of romance and/or sexual tension. So what are the key writing tools you need to convey “all the feels” to readers? How can you write dialogue that sizzles on the page like it does in your head? How should romance work in tandem with speculative fiction to make your writing even more engaging? What if you want to say “Screw romance!” and provide deliciously perverse elements of gender, sex, or obsession in your writing instead? This session will address all of these questions – plus Madeline will provide great tips for writing query letters and back cover blurbs that will stand out to agents, editors, and readers.

​Our awesome facilitators

Nino Cipri is a queer and nonbinary trans writer. Their work has been published or is forthcoming from Nightmare Magazine,, Fireside Fiction, Interfictions, and other fine venues. Nino is a graduate of the Clarion Writing Workshop, and is currently working toward an MFA in fiction from the University of Kansas. A multidisciplinary artist, Nino has written fiction, essays, reviews, plays, comics, and radio features, and performed as a dancer, actor, and puppeteer. One time, an angry person on the Internet called Nino a verbal terrorist, which was pretty cool.

Laurie Fuller is a life-long science fiction fan who knows that we need imagination to figure out ways to create a more just world. She is a professor of Women’s and Gender Studies who uses speculative and science fiction in the classroom. She believes in the power of these texts, and the academic essays written about them, to mobilize readers to consider how to transform the contemporary conditions of oppression and to engender new ways of being in radical, free and accountable societies. She has published articles in journals such as Radical Pedagogy, Radical Teacher, Frontiers, and the Journal of International Women’s Studies.

Madeline Iva got through a particularly gruesome adolescence with the help of romances that not only swept her away but gave her hope for a better future. Her Wicked Magic fantasy romance series focuses on smart women learning to wield their powers for the greater good – and the brooding heroes who are drawn to them. Madeline blogs every Thursday at (think Jezebel for romance fans), where she writes about SFF romance, pop culture, and her #VALoveFest, a day of romance panels at the Virginia Festival of the Book.

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