Category Archives: WisCon 42

Support WMAF this Giving Tuesday!

If you’ve heard of Giving Tuesday, odds are you’re a generous person and you’ve got lots of organizations asking for donations from you already. Thank you for that! Generosity toward others in our communities is increasingly necessary to us all.

If you haven’t heard of Giving Tuesday, it was conceived a few years ago as a balance to the Black Friday phenomenon — a day centered around supporting nonprofits by making donations. We suspect you’re a generous person as well, and we salute your remarkable ability to stay off donation mailing lists!

We know that most of the people in our community are spread thin, and that when our friends and neighbors need help with day-to-day expenses, contributing to WisCon’s Member Assistance Fund (WMAF) can feel like a low priority.

We believe that WisCon is a vital space to regroup, to strategize, to take a break, to do work that advances justice, and to envision the future. Because of that, we feel that it’s more important than ever to support folks who want to attend but face financial challenges to their participation. The WMAF makes awards of between $50 and $500 to folks who apply for assistance, but we can’t do that without your donation. Your $5 (or more!) can help us to have a vibrant, inclusive WisCon this May.

Please give at!



One of the things that sets WisCon apart, besides being the first feminist science fiction convention, is that we place many types of fannish interactions side-by-side in our programming. We have panels dedicated to exploring a single book or film as well as panels that look at, say, race across all of science fiction. We have author readings, discussions of fanfic or fanvids, and conversations about games and gaming.

We also have an entire track dedicated to scholarly investigations of feminism and science fiction — open to scholars of all descriptions.

The proposal period for WisCon’s academic track programming is now open!

WisCon’s track of academic programming, framed by the convention’s intersectional feminist principles, encourages submissions from scholars in all fields, including interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary areas, and from amateur and independent scholars as well as graduate students, postdocs, and faculty. One of the benefits of this track is that it strengthens the links between the wider feminist science fiction community, students and other scholars working on feminist science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy and related fields.

Given WisCon 42’s theme: “What Does Justice Demand?” We invite papers and panels that explore the meanings, histories, and cultures of “social justice.” How is social justice lived/embodied without becoming a buzzword? And how does this shape feminisms’ relationship to speculative genres (scifi, fantasy, horror, and beyond) both past and present? This theme is an opportunity both for work that deals specifically with social and political questions of justice as they relate to feminist science fiction and for work on the histories and cultures of social-justice-oriented fan communities.

Further, we invite proposals from anyone with a scholarly interest in the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, class, and disability with science fiction — broadly defined — in literature, media, and culture. We encourage contributions that emphasize WisCon’s focus on how science fiction has played an important role in the exploration and creation of socially just futures: futures where people of all colors and backgrounds flourish, where women’s rights and women’s contributions are valued, where gender is not limited to one of two options, where no one is erased out of convenience, hidden discrimination, or outright bigotry. We especially welcome scholarship on the work of 2018’s Guests of Honor Tananarive Due and Saladin Ahmed.

An incomplete list of possible subjects:

  • What Does Justice Demand? How is social justice lived/embodied? How does social justice shape feminism and genre work (scifi, fantasy, horror, and others) both past and present?
  • Gender, sexuality, race, class, and disability in individual works of science fiction and fantasy, especially in the works of our Guests of Honor, Tananarive Due and Saladin Ahmed
  • Feminist, queer, critical race, and critical disability analysis of science fiction and fantasy in media (film, television, music, video games, online culture)
  • Speculative aspects of feminist and social justice movements
  • Race, colonialism, and speculative fiction; Afrofuturism and related cultural movements
  • Feminist pedagogy and speculative fiction in the classroom

An incomplete list of possible formats:

  • 15-minute paper presentations, with or without visual accompaniment
  • Groups of presentations submitted together as panels
  • Presentation of scholarly creative works, including digital scholarship
  • Discussion-based panels and roundtables on scholarly research, teaching, or service
  • Screenings and discussions of short films or videos

The deadline for submitting an abstract for WisCon 42 is midnight Central Time on February 14, 2018.

Please submit your proposal using this form ( site profile is required). You will be asked for a 100-word abstract, which will be printed in the convention’s program, and for a more detailed proposal of up to 500 words. If you are proposing something other than a traditional paper, please make sure you describe the format of your proposed program item. A projector and screen will be available; if you have further technological needs, please let us know in your proposal.

If you have questions, please email:

Donate to the Member Assistance Fund – Put WisCon Within Reach!

Last May, during WisCon 41, political turmoil was dominating national and world attention. We know it had a dramatic impact on the conversations we had during the convention — not only as a topic, but also in shaping the membership. We know that as a convention in the midwest, in Wisconsin, in the United States, our environment became less welcoming — and in many ways more hostile — than ever before. And we know that hasn’t changed.

We feel that it’s important to counter that hostility while continuing our work right here in Madison. WisCon is not simply a convention: every Memorial Day weekend we create a space to organize, to push back, to have restorative conversations, to make connections, and to build our dream of a better future.

As an intersectional feminist convention, we know we can’t do that without striving for equity and taking concrete steps toward including as diverse a group of participants as possible in those spaces, conversations, connections, and dreams. Our most concrete step toward inclusion and equity is WisCon’s Member Assistance Fund (WMAF).

The WMAF has a single purpose: to help people travel to and enjoy WisCon. The WMAF awards attendees amounts up to $500, at whatever level they tell us they need to make their attendance possible. It’s vital that we ease the way for as many people as possible to join us, bringing their opinions, their ideas, and their knowledge. WisCon builds and tests ideas, exploring gender, class, race, and ability in science fiction and fantasy, and through that process, we build our culture and our world in a way that isn’t limited to the con.

We need your donations to make this happen. Any amount you donate to WMAF makes a huge difference — our goal is to raise $8,000 by December 31, enough to help at least sixteen people, and probably many more. Donations to WisCon are tax-deductible in the US.

Please give now to help us put WisCon within reach.

Get Into the Guts of Convention Planning on Our Hotel Team

Have you ever thought about how crucial WisCon’s Hotel team is to the convention? Maybe you haven’t. Maybe you don’t know what the Hotel Department is or what they do. Would you like to learn? It just so happens we’re looking for a few understudies!

You might have already guessed that they interact with our hotel—it’s right there in the name. The Hotel team keeps in touch with the Madison Concourse Hotel, our venue, throughout the year (and not just because they get to be friends during the convention, though that’s true, too).

Details? The members of our Hotel team get the updates on remodeling and other changes happening at the Concourse, keep tabs on reservations in WisCon’s room block, and double-check that our programming will fit into the available space. They confirm which rooms will hold the Safer Spaces, the Quiet Space, the parties, papers, panels, and workshops, and sort out which rooms need what audio/visual equipment when. They work closely with the Concourse to put together the diagrams of how each program room will be set up, when those setups need to change, and whether or not we need to rent more chairs, tables, or microphones. They tell the hotel when to expect our deliveries, meet our moving truck, and make sure that everyone involved—volunteers, convention members, contractors, and hotel staff—is able to have a great time throughout Memorial Day weekend.

How crucial is the Hotel team? Without them we wouldn’t have rooms to sleep in during the convention. Or anywhere to have panels. And no one would be able to hear the panelists, since they wouldn’t have microphones. Or chairs. Or tables. And we couldn’t all chill in the Con Suite because all of our kitchen equipment would still be in storage.

Want to be part of making all of these practical details happen? We’re currently looking for at least two additional Hotel team members, no prior experience needed. We will teach you all of the mysteries of who gets a “lanyard of power,” what our contracts say, how to read BEOs, and, incidentally, what BEO stands for.

Members of the Hotel team do not need to be local to Madison, since we work via email, chatrooms, shared documents, and conference calls. Folks on the team are automatically eligible to opt for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of your registration fee, meaning that if you register for WisCon as an adult, you can opt to receive $22 of your $55 membership back after the con ends.
To apply to join the Hotel team, please email

Beef Up Your Resume: Join Fundraising!

SF3’s Fundraising Committee is looking for new members, and we want to train you! We’ve only been around for a few years, and this is the first time we’ve felt ready to expand and welcome new team members. The Fundraising Committee raises money for SF3’s projects — right now, that just means that we raise the money that keeps WisCon both affordable and amazing. We do that by appealing to our community for donations, by approaching businesses that might be willing to sponsor parts of the convention or to shoulder some of the costs of parts of the convention, and by applying for grants that could cover specific elements of our programs.

Right now we’re doing that as a team of three people, and we’d like to bring at least two more folks onto the team. Our current team includes an experienced nonprofit development professional who is interested in training people who are completely new to fundraising but would like to learn, as well as folks who would like to contribute their own expertise.

The two roles we’d like to fill can both be filled by beginners, offer completely flexible hours, and can accommodate irregular availability; both also require willingness to communicate proactively with the rest of the team and to make certain that a small number of tasks are done every month by a set deadline. If you are interested in building your resume, changing careers, or translating volunteer work into paid work at another nonprofit in the future, we can help you with that! Available roles include:

  • Grant Writer. If you enjoy making clear, compelling arguments and presenting evidence in text, this one’s for you! To take this one on, if you don’t have some experience, then we ask that you be willing to do a certain amount of self-guided training, mainly by reading up on a few “how to” books at your local public library. You’ll learn about WisCon & other SF3 projects, collaborate with the whole Fundraising team to identify grant-fundable programs and to research potential grants, and then you will coordinate the tasks of writing and submitting those grants. You shouldn’t need to do all of the writing or any other part of a given grant if you don’t want to, but you will be our expert, and will direct grant application efforts. The entire team will be expected to contribute work under the grant writer’s direction, so that no one on the team will be crushed by deadlines or have to shoulder any other stress. We think this role will take a maximum of 10 hours in any given month, and that it should average out to around 3 hours a month over the course of the year.
  • Fundraising Generalist. Absolute beginners are very welcome in this role. You’ll learn about nonprofit fundraising best practices including responsibilities to donors, to the community, and to the organization. You’ll participate in planning and carrying out fundraising appeals, collaborate on designing and pursuing sponsorships, help to create donation records, reports, and donor recognition procedures. You’ll also help us to make sure that we thank every donor so they know how crucial they are to WisCon’s success. This role will have lots of support and guidance if you’d like to learn, but can also accommodate a volunteer who is already familiar with fundraising or is just looking for regular set tasks and low-stress conversational planning. We think this role will take a maximum of 5 hours in a busy month, and it should average out to around 1.5 hours a month over the course of the year.

Members of the Fundraising Committee do not need to be local to Madison, since we work via email, chatrooms, shared documents, and conference calls. Folks on the team are automatically eligible to opt for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of your registration fee, meaning that if you register for WisCon as an adult, you can opt to receive $22 of your $55 membership back after the con ends.

To apply to join the Fundraising Committee, please email

Help Create WisCon 52!

Yes, you read it right. This year’s WisCon *will* be 42, but we plan to be just as vibrant and challenging a space for ideas, inquiry, and justice long into the future. We’re laying the groundwork for that now, with our youngest members―and we need your help.

We’re looking for creative and enthusiastic folks to join our Kids’ Programming team and help nurture the next generation of feminist SFF fans. Tailored to WisCon members 6-12 years old, Kids’ Programming has a long history and excellent reputation. In the past, it’s included hands-on science, book discussions, crafting workshops, collaborative art and storytelling, games, swimming, and talks with artists and authors. It’s kind of like a day camp in 3 hour chunks…which isn’t actually that different from the grownup version of WisCon. The biggest difference is that the timescale of planning programs for the convention doesn’t work well for the under-twelve set, and that’s where you come in.

Our Kids’ Program team will be made up of at least three adults who will be part of our Convention Committee (ConCom). In the coming months, the team will plan out a series of highly varied short programs to fill around 16 hours of time, and will talk with likely authors, artists, crafters, and creators from among WisCon’s membership who can lead, share, demonstrate, or teach the things they are passionate about to young convention members. Kids’ Programming is drop-in, just like most of the grownup programs at WisCon, but offers adult supervision and requires that attendees are signed in and out by a parent or responsible adult. Because of that, members of the Kids’ Program team will be expected to be present during programming for 4-6 hours of the convention, all between 8:30am and 5pm, and never overlapping with lunch breaks.

This role is the perfect experience if you’re thinking of a future as a teacher, a librarian, a parent, an event planner, a counselor (camp, crisis, or other)… You don’t have to be a parent, you just have to enjoy making plans that will allow kids to have a good time. And you should probably be over 18. A larger team will make the work low stress and low time commitment, with an emphasis on discussing ideas and having conversations with people interested in making those ideas reality.

Members of the Kids’ Programming team do not need to be local to Madison, since we work via email, chatrooms, shared documents, and conference calls. Folks on the team are automatically eligible to opt for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of your registration fee, meaning that if you register for WisCon as an adult, you can opt to receive $22 of your $55 membership back after the con ends.

To apply to join Kids’ Programming, please email

WisCon 41 at-con newsletter — A Momentary Taste of WisCon, Monday edition

Last day of the con, last newsletter of the con.  ?????

Please don’t forget to turn in your plastic badge holder at the Registration desk.  While you’re there grab one of our Souvenir Books!  Enjoy a day of relaxing in Madison if you’re staying today, and safe travels if you’re leaving.

We all had a great time this weekend, and we can’t wait to see you again in a year.  Hope you can join us!

WisCon 42 — May 25-28, 2018

We are overjoyed to announce that our Guests of Honor for WisCon 42 are Saladin Ahmed and Tananarive Due!  Want to join us?  Memberships and hotel reservations are open!

Saladin Ahmed
Saladin Ahmed (Photo by Al Bogdan).

Tananarive Due
Tananarive Due.

Keep in touch after WisCon

We’ll miss you, too!!!  Please keep in touch!  Sign up for our email newsletter (eCube), or follow us on social media.

Registration / Lost & Found

Have one last question?  Want to register for WisCon 42?  Lost something over the weekend and hope someone turned it in?  The Registration desk is open until 1:30pm.


You still have a few more hours to visit the Art Show, Dealers’ Room, and the Con Suite.  And get your drabbles in to the Drabble Challenge!

  • Art Show:  10am – 12pm
  • Dealers’ Room:  10am – 2pm
  • Con Suite:  Closes at 1pm
  • Drabble Challenge:  Closes at 4pm

Today’s big events


  • 11:30am – 12:45pm
  • Capitol/Wisconsin

Come to the SignOut, a signing party and WisCon farewell rolled into one! Writers and those who love them will gather together to sign and get signatures, to thank and praise and schmooze one last time before we fly away for another year.

Authors at the SignOut this year are:  Becky Allen, Charlie Jane Anders, Paul Dale Anderson, Eleanor A. Arnason, Robyn Bennis, Lee Blauersouth, Ty Blauersouth, K. Tempest Bradford, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Moondancer Drake, Timmi Duchamp, Amal El-Mohtar, Ruthanna Emrys, Alexandra Erin, Michael Thomas Ford, Andrea D. Hairston, Naomi Kritzer, David D. Levine, Nancy Jane Moore, Sunny Moraine, Pat Murphy, Anne M. Pillsworth, Beth Plutchak, Kiini Ibura Salaam, Cath Schaff-Stump , Nisi Shawl, Jan Suzukawa, Sheree Renée Thomas, Amy Thomson, Nancy Vedder-Shults, Cynthia Ward

Fond Farewell Party

  • 8pm – 12am
  • Room 629

If you’re still here on Monday night, come join others who are still here for a Fond Farewell party. We’ll have munchies, beverages, and good conversation. It’s the last party for WisCon 2017! It’ll begin at 8 PM and run until the last fan falls over.

Volunteer needs


SignOut:  Still needs volunteers to help with set-up and during the event.  Contact

Art Show:  Desperately needs help packing up the art of the 8 artists who mailed their work into the show.  Also needs help for breaking down displays during tear-down. Stop by the show in Senate (1st floor) to sign up.

Tear-down:  MANY departments will need help to tear down after the convention.  Stop by the volunteer board (2nd floor, next to Registration desk) to see where you can help!

More details on volunteering in the section at the bottom, or email

The once & future WisCon

How can WisCon improve?  What programming would you like to see next year?  Who would make a great Guest of Honor for WisCon 43?  Please check out this blog post and help us continue to build a great WisCon.

Need to contact Safety?

Reminder:  Our Code of Conduct

  • email:
  • phone:  608-957-7233 (957-SAFE)
  • reporting form:

Or look for one of our on-call Safety volunteers. They’re wearing bright yellow/green high-visibility vests.

Announcing our WisCon 42 Guests of Honor — Saladin Ahmed & Tananarive Due

We are overjoyed to introduce our Guests of Honor for WisCon 42!

Saladin Ahmed

Saladin Ahmed
Saladin Ahmed (Photo by Al Bogdan).

Saladin Ahmed was born in Detroit. His novel, Throne of the Crescent Moon, was nominated for the Hugo and Nebula awards, and won the Locus Award for Best First Novel. His poetry and short fiction have been widely anthologized, and his nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and Salon. He is currently writing “Black Bolt” for Marvel Comics.

Tananarive Due

Tananarive Due
Tananarive Due.

Tananarive Due is a screenwriter and an award-winning novelist who teaches Afrofuturism at UCLA. She also teaches creative writing in the MFA program at Antioch University Los Angeles and for Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA). She was the former Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Spelman College. Due, an  American Book Award winner and NAACP Image Award recipient, is the author of twelve novels and a civil rights memoir. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus and has been named to the Grio100 and Ebony Power 100. Her short story collection, Ghost Summer, won a British Fantasy Award and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. In 2013, Due and her husband/collaborator Steven Barnes co-wrote a short film, “Danger Word”, based on their YA zombie novel Devil’s Wake, which they co-produced with director Luchina Fisher. Starring Frankie Faison (“The Wire,” “The Silence of the Lambs”) and Saoirse Scott, “Danger Word” was nominated for Best Narrative Short at the BronzeLens and Pan African film festivals.

Open now — memberships & hotel rooms for WisCon 42

Believe it or not, it’s time to start planning for WisCon 42!  As always, WisCon will happen over the U.S.’s Memorial Day weekend — May 25-28.  And we’ll again be at the beautiful Concourse Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin.

WisCon 42 Registration

Memberships are now available for WisCon 42!  The news this year is that after holding off raising our membership rate for as long as we could, for 2017 we’re increasing the cost of our adult membership to $55.  All other membership prices remain the same.

How to register

  • Online:  Log into (or create!  it’s free!) your WisCon account at  You can pay immediately via PayPal, or you can choose to mail a check or to pay at the convention.
  • In person:  Stop by our Registration desk (2nd floor) and register in person.

Membership prices

  • Adult (18+): $55
  • Teen (ages 13-17): $20
  • Youth (ages 7-12): $20
  • Former WisCon Guests of Honor: Free
  • Child Care (age 0-6) $1 per child. We need to know in advance how many children to expect, so if you plan to use WisCon’s childcare at all, you should register for it ahead of time! Please fill in the age of each child to be enrolled in childcare. Please read the childcare information page for full details.

The Dessert Salon

You can also purchase tickets to our Sunday night Dessert Salon through our registration system or in person at the Registration desk.

Our Dessert Salon is our fancy-ish Sunday night event, happening right before the Guest of Honor Speeches.  There are decadent desserts created for us by the Concourse’s pastry chef and lots of conversation with all the friends you met during the weekend.

Because the Dessert Salon is intended to be a fancy-ish event the price reflects that.  Money that we bring in from the salon not only covers the cost of the event but goes to support WisCon in many ways, including such things as our accessibility and affordability initiatives.

However!  We also want everyone who wants to join us have the chance, and so Dessert Salon tickets are available on a sliding scale!

Our recommended cost is $25 per ticket.  This is a little more than the base cost of the event to WisCon.

The sliding scale is $15-$50 — accommodating those who have a tight budget and those who may have some extra cash on hand and would like to support the salon and WisCon.

Concourse Hotel Reservations

Reservations at the Concourse Hotel open at 9am on Sunday.  There are 3 ways to make your reservation this weekend:

  1. At the Concourse front desk.  At 9am on Sunday there will be a reservation agent at the desk to assist you.
  2. Online using the Concourse’s reservation system.
  3. Calling the Concourse: 1-800-356-8293

The cutoff date to reserve a room in our discounted room block is April 26 (end of day — 11:59pm).

Concourse level

  • $117/single
  • $127/double
  • $137/triple
  • $147/quad

Governor’s Club

  • $199/single
  • $209/double
  • $219/triple
  • $229/quad

Who would you like to see as a Guest of Honor at WisCon?

Chris Wallish
SF3 Communications Committee

WisCon 42 is a year-and-a-half away — which means NOW is the time to let us know who you’d like to see as a Guest of Honor in 2018.

Nominations for WisCon GoH come from our community. We want to hear from those of you who attend WisCon regularly and those of you who can only make it now and then. We want to hear from our volunteers and our concom members. Hey, even if you’ve never been to WisCon but you’ve been kind of wanting to come, let us know who you’d love to see as a GoH at your very first WisCon.

Nominations opened during WisCon weekend earlier this year, and they’re still open right now — but they close at the end of the week: Friday, Nov. 4, at 11:59pm Central Time

What does a Guest of Honor do?

Our Guests of Honor are part of WisCon programming all weekend long. There will be panels and discussions about their work. Each GoH gives a few readings — one during our unofficial kick-off on Thursday night at Room of One’s Own and another some time during the convention weekend. On Monday during the SignOut, they’ll be available to sign things for you. And, most prominently, on Sunday night our Guests of Honor in turn honor us with a keynote speech.

Who can I nominate?

WisCon has tended to have Guests of Honor who are writers of novels and other fiction, but we’ve also honored editors as well as individuals who are significant in the fan community in some way. For the upcoming WisCon 41 (in 2017), our Guests of Honor are Amal El-Mohtar, a poet, fiction writer, and prominent critic, and Kelly Sue DeConnick, comic book writer known for “Bitch Planet” and for her run on “Captain Marvel.” We’d also be delighted to receive nominations for artists, game writers or developers, musicians, and so on. The pool is as wide as you want to make it!

The most important thing to remember is that WisCon is a feminist convention — a Guest of Honor should be someone who upholds WisCon’s Statement of Principles in some way — and our feminism is intersectional, encouraging discussions not just about gender but also around race, class, disability, and many other axes oppression.

How do I nominate?

Send an email to: Let us know the names of those whom you wish to nominate, and include a short paragraph about why you think they’re a good fit for WisCon and would make a great Guest of Honor. If you could provide a link to their website or to a Wikipedia page, that would be helpful.

(Please send your nominations via email only. Our nomination process is confidential — we do not ever release the names of individuals who have been nominated.)

What happens next?

In the next few months, WisCon’s convention-planning committee — the concom — will review the nominations, discuss them, and, in a series of voting, winnow the pool down to just a few people to whom we’d like to extend an invitation. Out of this process emerge the two Guests of Honor that we’ll announce for WisCon 42 at the conclusion to our Sunday evening ceremonies during the upcoming convention in 2017.