Category Archives: WisCon 40

WisCon 40 panel sign-up and interest survey open!

Tanya D., Joanna Lowenstein, K Tempest Bradford, Stef Maruch
Panel Programming

YES!! The moment we’ve been eagerly awaiting is here. The WisCon 40 panel sign up and attendance interest form is now open!

(Viewing the survey does require an login, but they’re quick to get right here!)

Traditionally, WisCon programming has been divided into separate tracks to provide some visual organization in the at-Con programming pocket guide. However, they serve other purposes. By grouping like concepts together, we hope to prompt you to think of fascinating and important directions to take programs. The tracks are listed below. Click “More»” to read each full description to aid you as you fill out the survey.

Changes for WisCon 40! This year we have a Gaming Track as well as a Teen Programming track. Remember these new tracks, and when we announce that panel suggestions for WisCon 41 are open, please give us plenty of suggestions!

Please review your panel interest expressions on the panel sign up and attendance interest form!

For your convenience, we also provide a full list of proposed panel items. You may wish to open this link in a separate tab or window for ease of reference.

Thank you for your continued attendance, feedback, and support of WisCon as we finalize programming for this year.


Matching donation reaches its goal!

Chris Wallish
SF3 Communications Committee

We are absolutely delighted to announce that Wrdnrd’s matching donation to the Member Assistance Fund was 100% successful!  We are incredibly grateful for the community’s support with this fund drive this week, and humbled by the outpouring of generosity.  This WisCon is the first that we’ve run a dedicated fundraising campaign for our Fund, and we’ve been blown away by the response.  Not only did we meet Wrdnrd’s match in under two days, but we were almost half-way to the goal in only twelve hours.

Another notable thing about this fund drive is that many of the donations were in the $10-$15 range.  All donations add up!  You absolutely don’t have to make “big” donations of $100, $500, or whatever dollars to make a difference.  If you’re able to toss in only a few dollars, it all adds up and helps one more person.

With Wrdnrd’s donation, this means $1,500 into the Fund to help members who have requested assistance to attend WisCon in May.

Thank you all, so, so much!

But wait, there’s more!!  We’ve had another incredibly generous donor step up to challenge the community to see just how narrow we can make the gap between the money in the Fund and the amount of requests we have this year.  Stay tuned for details on Monday!

WisCon 40 Art Show call for artists

Tahlia Day
Art Show

Applications for this year’s WisCon Art Show are open until the end of February.

The WisCon Art Show focuses on art exploring themes related to SF and feminism/social justice, work by women, and work by Midwestern artists. We’re interested in seeing work in any medium (past shows have included painting, drawing, photography, comics, sculpture, fiber art, and jewelry, among others).

This year the Art Show will be moving to a bigger room on the first floor of the hotel, so we may be able to accept more artists and/or give each artist more space!

We prefer and encourage that artists in the show also attend the con, but mailing in art is an option if you are comfortable with us hanging and handling your work. The Art Show operates like a gallery or store — you set the prices for your work and customers can purchase it during the show’s open hours (Saturday through Monday during the con). WisCon takes a 4% commission on all sales (8% for mail-in art).

Our artists page has more information and the application. Completed applications (including images of your work or a link to a website with images) must be submitted online by Monday, Feb. 29 (11:59pm Central Time).  Artists will be notified of acceptance in mid-March.

Matching donation to Member Assistance Fund fund drive

for WisCon Member Assistance Fund

Hi.  Wrdnrd here.

I’m the one who’s been muttering bitterly in the back of class panels for years.  I started coming to WisCon in 2005, before there was a Member Assistance Fund (though i’ve lost my program book from that year so i’m going off pure memory here).  By the time i knew about the Fund, which was originally called Scholarships, i was at a point in my life where i felt financially secure enough to not request help.

This was undoubtedly a straight-up lie that i told myself.  And it wouldn’t be the first time.  When i qualified for food stamps back in the ’90s, i told myself that groceries were one thing i was always able to buy or get from family and that other people needed the help more than i did.  I came by this idiocy honestly — growing up, when our single-mother-led family was below the poverty line and on the school lunch program, my mother didn’t apply for food stamps.  Other people needed the help more.

These days i’m lucky enough that i’m able to donate to WisCon’s Member Assistance Fund.  It’s a little weird — something of a mental shift for me.  But other people need the help.

I do get super mouthy about class issues, as all 160-ish poor souls who follow me on Twitter know.  The other year i was able to put my energy where my mouth is by co-founding Friends of Dennis.  This year, i’m able to put my wallet where my mouth is by offering a last-minute matching donation to the Assistance Fund’s fundraiser.

Here’s the deal:  For donations made to WisCon’s Member Assistance Fund from now until Saturday night (11:59pm Central Time), i will match every dollar up to $500 — TWICE.  So if you donate $5 to WMAF this week, i’ll donate $10.  If we all pull together, this could mean another $1,500 to help bring people to WisCon 40 this May.

Also, for every membership donated to the Fund, I’ll donate another one.  If you’re interested in donating a membership, please email

On Sunday, the SF3 Treasurer and i will tally it all up, i’ll PayPal some monies over to WisCon, and we’ll announce here just how much damage we did to my tax refund.

Okay … GO:

Parties open for proposals

Gretchen & Sooshe

Hey Partygoers!

Welcome back to WisCon! We are looking forward to another year of learning, growing, and partying together. Speaking of parties, one of our grand traditions, Parties, is getting an update. Here’s the scoop:

First, as many of you know, WisCon has party suites on the sixth floor and in the Conference rooms on the second floor. These suites are available for the free use of any convention members who request the space. We love giving our attendees the space to throw these parties, especially when they are long-running annual parties, book/author promotional parties, WisCon promotional parties, and ones that promote other cons and/or SF groups.

Second, if you are thinking about hosting a party, sign up RIGHT NOW. Space is limited, and we need your requests no later than March 15 so that we can send confirmations by the end of March. We will try our best to accommodate all party requests (so really, the sooner, the better). Just log into our parties page and make your request!

Third, we have updated the alcohol policy for all of our parties. This is a non-negotiable update and it will be enforced. If you wish to have alcohol at your party, you may not serve it yourselves in the party rooms. Rather, it will need to be legally purchased by party hosts, then turned over to and dispensed by the Concourse’s bartending station. Please read the new policy before considering including alcohol as part of your party plan.

If you are signing up to host a Party, please read up on these changes so you can be a responsible host of a fun party. We appreciate your help in making WisCon a stronger, faster, better convention for everybody, and we are so excited to see you all, soon!

WisCon 40 Dealers’ Room open to applications

Dealers’ Room

Are you — or do you know — a bookseller, crafter, toymaker, artist, publisher, or other creator who would like to be a part of our Dealers’ Room?

WisCon’s Dealers’ Room is a marketplace of books, toys, posters, artwork, magazines, cards, jewelry, and all sorts of other science fiction and fantasy related merchandise as well as items relevant to explorations of feminism, gender, race, class, and disability. Books by WisCon authors and Guests of Honor are always available, so that attendees can purchase them during the convention to take to our Signout event.

Applications for tables are available now on the website. Fill it out, or remind your favorite vendor to do so!

We’ll have a soft application deadline this year on March 15, when we will review all applications and make decisions regarding the amount of space we are able to award to everyone we accept. We’ll contact all applicants individually with the results of those decisions by March 30.

The form will stay open for late applicants through April 30, who will be added to our waitlist. Waitlisted applicants will be contacted if space becomes available due to cancellations or other changes — we want you there if it’s possible!

Of course, if your inventory is art of your own creation, you can also consider applying to be an exhibitor in our Art Show. Art Show items are sold by WisCon volunteers, so if selling things in person isn’t your style, it’s worth a try! There is no cost to exhibit art, but sales are subject to a small commission to defray WisCon’s costs. You can read more about the Art Show and how to submit your art at

Not-So-Insurmountable Barriers

for WisCon Member Assistance Fund

I first started hearing about WisCon in 2010, when I became good friends with people living in Madison who volunteered for the con every year.  Hearing about all the cool people, interesting discussions, and sheer fun to be found there, I gradually built up longing to go — but, unfortunately, couldn’t build up the money to match my longing.  So I sighed from afar, thinking wistfully of the awesome feminists who were talking about robots without me, and resigned myself to never doing more than reading con reports after the fact.

Then, in 2013, one of my Madison friends said, hey, can I nominate you for this assistance fund? And it was like this huge insurmountable barrier had just been poofed out of existence.

Of course, I didn’t say yes right away, because I struggled with the feeling that con assistance funds weren’t for people like me — they were for people more engaged than me, more productive, more active in various communities, with more valuable perspectives.  I didn’t see myself as valuable enough to be worth anyone else spending money for me to go.  It took a lot of psyching myself up to get past those feelings — especially that horrible capitalist shame that makes me constantly compare myself to others in terms of value, like a commodity — and realize that people genuinely wanted me there and that con assistance funds exist for anybody who needs them to go to the con.

As it turned out, I was the biggest barrier to me using the fund.  I was worried that there would be a lot of paperwork and record-keeping and receipt-tallying, but in the end it was simple.  I told the folks managing the fund how much money I needed, and for what, and they sent me a cheque.  They believed me about what I needed and didn’t place bizarre limitations on the kinds of things that could be covered — so the WisCon assistance fund ended up paying for the rental car, gas, food, and even the bill for boarding my dog for a week.  And, because it was all the same to them whether I drove or flew or took a bus, I was able to pack two of my good friends into the car with me, and WisCon gained itself three attendees for the price of one.

I had an amazing time that year.  I learned a lot, I made new friends, I talked with people who were excited about the same things I was excited about. The WisCon assistance fund taught me that I love going to WisCon, that it’s a great con for me; without the money to make my first WisCon possible, I might never have learned that.  I’m going again this year, with the same people I went with before, because we’re a little better situated financially and now know that the experience will be worth the expense for us.

I hope that, if you’re considering nominating someone or accepting a nomination, you will.  It doesn’t matter how valuable you think you are or aren’t: the assistance fund is for you.  People want you there.  I want you there.

And I hope that, if you’re considering donating to the assistance fund, you’ll give as generously as you’re able to.  This program brings new life, new blood, and new perspectives to the con, and makes it possible for people like me to join the discussion.  Your donation makes an enormous difference to both the con and to the people who receive it.  I couldn’t be more grateful to previous donors for the chance they gave me to be part of the WisCon community.

Donate to the Member Assistance Fund:

Or send a checque payable to SF3 to:

Attn: WisCon Member Assistance Fund
P.O. Box 1624
Madison, WI 53701

SF3 is a 501(c)(3) organization, so your donations are tax deductible.

WisCon 40’s Reading track is now open for proposals!


Hey, author.

Do you have a new book out this year? A poem recently accepted for publication? A work in progress you’d like to share? WisCon’s Reading track is now open to proposals!

Whether this would be your very first reading or your fiftieth, you should give our Reading track a try. A reading can be an exhilarating way to introduce your work to a new fans, and WisCon has an engaged community that turns out as a welcoming audience that’s passionate about good stories.

To start, form a group — readings are organized into 75-minute sessions of four to six authors, usually with a common theme. Open poetry reading and rapid-fire sessions may have as many readers as you can fit into the time period without using time travel. The WisCon Reading track is typically very popular, and so we must limit everyone (except Guests of Honor) to just one reading. Yes, this does mean you can’t read as part of a group and as part of a rapid-fire reading. There is one loophole! You may read again during an open mic event.

Forming a group can be a snap for writing groups, authors featured together in a collection, or just a group of friends. It can feel terrifyingly lonesome, however, if you’re just you! We do encourage you to try to form a group in advance, but if nothing’s coming together please sign up for a reading anyway! We’ll do our best to group individual readers.

Are you interested in giving a visual reading, such as for your graphic novel? A/V equipment is available!

Much more information on our Readings track is available on our website.

The proposal period for Readings closes on Thursday, March 17. Please note that you must also register for WisCon 40 before signing up for a reading!

We look forward to hearing your work at WisCon this year!

WisCon 40 advertising rates available

At-Con Promotions

So you’ve kickstarted your new publishing company devoted to feminist pickle analysis. You’re ready to start selling books, but you need to advertise! Where to go? Who to pay?

WisCon, obviously.

WisCon loves feminist pickle analysis! But did you know that WisCon takes advertising? You didn’t??

WisCon happily sells advertising space in our Souvenir Book, and we accept sponsors for our Programming Book. Rates for the Souvenir Book vary, from a mere $45 to $1200, and sponsorship of the Program Book is $3000. Check out our rates sheet (downloadable PDF) for more information.

Advertising deadline is April 12.

Some of our past advertisers include: the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award, Small Beer Press, the University of Toronto Press, RainbowCon, Tor, Aqueduct Press, and the Helsinki Worldcon Bid.

Contact with any questions you might have. We look forward to working with you!

Souvenir Book — Call for submissions!!

W. L. Bolm
Souvenir Book

The Souvenir Book is WisCon’s gift to the community, featuring profiles of our Guests of Honor, pieces highlighting the work of WisCon’s child-organizations, and essays from community contributors. We now call on our community members to submit their essays of 500 – 1000 words for the WisCon40 Souvenir Book! Previous essay topics have included: an exploration of Working Class Studies; an ethnographic intro to WisCon; and a look at making connections between trans feminism, sisterhood, and Orphan Black through vidding. The only topic requirement for the Souvenir Book’s essays is that they be relevant to the WisCon community. We encourage everyone to submit their work, whether this is your first WisCon or your 40th!


  • Essays should be 500-1000 words
  • Topics both current and historic that are relevant to the WisCon community
  • Authors will be paid $20.00 USD at time of publication
  • All essays or questions should be sent to (Please use the subject line “WC40 Souvenir Book Submission: [Your Name]”)
  • Please submit essays as .doc or .rtf attachments.

Submit by March 15th, 2016 March 27!

Don’t forget to nominate people to receive WisCon Member Assistance Fund grants!

Lisa Cohen
WisCon Member Assistance Fund

Every year, the WMAF tries to help as many people as we can come to WisCon. We are currently accepting nominations for potential recipients of assistance. Nominate someone else or nominate yourself. Tell us why the potential recipient would benefit from attending WisCon and give us an idea of what funds would make the difference between being able to attend and missing the convention. Typically, we give amounts between $200 and $500.

We are often asked whether a previous recipient of assistance can receive help again. The answer to that is that yes, that is a possibility, but if we do not have enough money to help everyone who applies, we will give priority to people who have not previously received assistance. Depending on the number of nominations and the amount of donations, the WMAF committee will try to help out as many people as possible who would like to come to WisCon but need some support to do so.

All nominations need to be made by midnight, CST, February 15, 2016. Assistance recipients will be notified by March 15, 2016. These deadlines are timed to allow people who receive assistance time to sign up to be on programming. Nominations for the WisCon Member Assistance Fund should be sent to Nominate away!

And by the way, if you have a little money to help other people come to WisCon, donate! This year the WMAF is running its first-ever dedicated fund-raiser with the goal of raising $5,000 to help send people to WisCon. All contributions should be made to SF3 and sent to:

Attn: WisCon Member Assistance Fund
P.O. Box 1624
Madison, WI 53701

SF3 is a 501(c)(3) organization, so your donations are tax deductible. Every penny will be used to help potential WisCon members attend in May. You can also use Paypal and send the money to Or click the handy “Donate” button, below.

Donate to the Member Assistance Fund:

See you in May!

Submit programming and panel ideas for WisCon 40 – Deadline is January 29th

K. Tempest Bradford, Joanna Lowenstein, Tanya DePass

2016 is upon us — and WisCon 40 is just four months away! That means it’s time to submit panel and other programming ideas. (Technically, you could have done so right after WisCon 39, but this is the time of year we start talking deadlines and such.) To send us your idea, go to and fill out the form. Simple!

Who can submit ideas?

Anyone! Obviously, we encourage people who plan to attend WisCon to submit, but you don’t have to be registered to do so. If you think you might come to WisCon but don’t know for sure and really want there to be a panel about That Thing You Love if you do come, send us the idea. If you think there should be a conversation about a Very Important Thing even if you’re not there to have that conversation, send us the idea. If you’re coming to WisCon for sure and want a panel to happen but don’t want to be on that panel, send us the idea. And, of course, if you’re coming and you have a panel you want to happen and you want to be on it, send us the idea.

Does the panel have to be fully formed and perfect with the Best Title Ever and a description that would make the Restoration Hardware copy writers weep with envy?

Nope. You can submit sketches of ideas, half-formed thoughts, vague outlines. The programming team will do their best to interpret what you give us and turn it into a proposed panel with a title and full description.

If you would like to submit ideas with semi-polished titles and descriptions but feel like you need some input or help, you can always create a WisCon Brainstorming Thread on your blog or on social media. In fact, the comment section of this post is a free space for panel brainstorming and members of the programming team will pop in to assist up until the deadline.

Are we only accepting panel ideas, or are we up for suggestions outside of the 3 – 5 people sit behind a table and talk for an hour format?

We are very interested in any kind of programming ideas. Anything from roundtable discussions to group participation activities to performances to puppet shows and anything else. The only exceptions: Readings and Academic Talks/Presentations. Those are handled by other departments.

Please feel free to think outside the box and propose things we haven’t ever done before. We can’t promise to be able to make it possible this year. We can say that we’re open to new stuff. Just do us one favor: if you’re not registered yet, provide some way for us to contact you if we have questions in the description.

Is there a limit to how many ideas I can submit?

Nope. Well…okay, your limit is 100.

When is the deadline for submitting programming ideas?

January 29th.

What happens after I submit a programming idea?

Once the deadline hits and we gather all the submissions together, the programming team combs through them all and decides which panels will move onto the next step: the Programming Survey. The Survey is a list of all the viable panel ideas submitted, which is sent to WisCon attendees. The WisCon community votes on the panels, marking the ones they’d like to attend and which they want to be on as panelist or moderator. The panels with the most interest then move on to the final schedule.

How do you decide which panels go on the survey?

We try to err on the side of inclusiveness on that first pass. We weed out panels that are inappropriate for WisCon or that are just inappropriate period. We may also combine panels or other types of programming items that are very similar to each other. We also do some light massaging of panel titles and descriptions for clarity or, if they are simple sketches of an idea, we make them more robust. At this stage none of the descriptions and titles are final, and we welcome feedback from the community about language and appropriateness.

I’m ready to start submitting program ideas!

Awesome. Get to it!