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:

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!

Donate to the WisCon Member Assistance Fund!

WisCon Member Assistance Fund
& SF3 Fundraising Committee

As an inclusive feminist convention, WisCon is always striving for ways to welcome more voices to our conversations — and we are proud that we’ve had the support of our community in our efforts over the past few years, building a code of conduct in our Anti-Harassment Policy, instituting our Statement of Principles, adding Safer Spaces, expanding our work toward accessibility, and maintaining low registration fees, rebates for volunteers, and $1 childcare for attendees.

There’s another vital part of enriching the conversations we have at the con — our Member Assistance Fund (WMAF). Every year, SF3 (WisCon’s parent organization) moves what we can afford out of our savings and into this dedicated pool of money to help people travel to and enjoy WisCon. The WMAF awards attendees amounts ranging from $50 to $500, amounts that might cover everything from a tank of gas to a plane ticket to a stay in the WisCon hotel.

We don’t ask our attendees who receive WMAF money to tell us how they use their money, because we know that they know their situations best — the important thing is that they join us, bringing their opinions, their ideas, and their knowledge. They are just as vital to WisCon if they decide to share their thoughts on a panel, in a reading, or in a hallway… or if they keep their reactions to the con private. 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 can’t do that without making a concrete effort toward the inclusion of diverse voices.

We need your help to grow this effort. Any amount you can donate to WMAF will make a huge difference — we’d like to raise $5,000 this year, which would mean a full award for ten people, or many more small awards for those who just need a little help to attend.

We’ll be sharing more about the WMAF and how important it is to WisCon over the next few months. Donate now to make WisCon 40 truly an anniversary to be proud of!

Please consider a recurring donation of $5 or more every month — it’s a relatively painless way for many people to make a HUGE difference!

PS — Did you know that SF3, WisCon’s parent organization, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization? That makes your gift tax deductible in the U.S.!

WisCon 40 concom recruitment

Chris Wallish
SF3 Communications Committee

If it’s December, it must be… recruitment time for the WisCon Convention-Planning Committee.

The planning committee — most of the time shortened to “concom” — is the stage crew who push buttons, flip levers, and pull the ropes to make WisCon happen every Memorial Day weekend.

“What’s it take to join?”

Willingness to commit to doing a task. You can sign up for something that takes just a couple hours a month, something that largely happens only at the convention, or something that completely wraps up before the convention even starts. You don’t need to be local to Madison for most tasks. And even if you can’t make it to WisCon this year, you can still help out!

“Do I need experience?”

Not necessarily! It can be helpful to have been on a concom before, or to have skills that are relevant to what you’re interested in doing. But WisCon also has decades of experience in training new concom members to pick up a task and carry on.

“Are there meetings? I hate meetings.”

Our monthly meetings are definitely useful (especially closer to the convention), but they’re completely optional. If you’re local to Madison you can join the in-person contingent; if you’re elsewhere in the world you can join the meeting via phone. In between meetings we discuss things via a private Google Group, so regular access to a computer is helpful, as is the ability to respond to emails in a timely fashion.

“Why in the world would I want to join WisCon‘s concom??”

Ahhh. And that is a perfectly fair question. It’s one that I’ve been asked a few times, especially because I stepped into my communications role in the middle of the summer of 2014. So I’ll tell you the same thing I’ve been telling people these past 18 months — I joined because WisCon has been transformative for me, because I knew I had skills that would be useful to the concom and the convention, and because I found I was passionate to help. Which passion comes from one very simple idea: That by helping to build WisCon, I am, in a small but noticeable way, helping to build the sort of world that I want to live in.

This is why the concom needs you. Because we need your skills, your passion, and, yes, sometimes we need your anger to help us build WisCon — to help us build a better WisCon.

As Alexandra Erin wrote last year: “Who runs WisCon? You do. WisCon is your con. It’s run by you, for you.”

WisCon is your con — backstage and out front. Consider joining us on the stage crew.

Our list of open positions this year ranges from a Parties Coordinator, to Access, to editing, to Logistics (the stage crew of the stage crew). If you have questions or if you’re interested in any positions, contact us at


(PS: Oh, and the deep dark secret of the concom is… It’s fun to be part of the planning. You meet a group of tremendous, dedicated people who, the next thing you know it, are some of your closest friends.)

Call for submissions — WisCon invites scholars to submit proposals for WisCon 40 academic track

Alexis Lothian & Lauren J. Lacey
Academic Programming

One of the things that sets WisCon apart 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.

A pile of books stacked next to a notebook and a nib pen.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! 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 especially welcome scholarship on the work of 2016’s Guests of Honor Sofia Samatar, Justine Larbalestier, and Nalo Hopkinson and on the histories and cultures of feminist and social-justice-oriented fan communities.

We encourage 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.

An incomplete list of possible subjects:

  • Gender, sexuality, race, class, and disability in individual works of science fiction and fantasy, especially the work of this year’s Guests of Honor Sofia Samatar, Justine Larbalestier, and Nalo Hopkinson
  • 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
  • Science fiction and feminist science and technology studies
  • Race, colonialism, and speculative fiction; Afrofuturism and related cultural movements
  • Fan cultures and communities
  • Feminist pedagogy and speculative fiction in the classroom

An incomplete list of possible formats:

  • 15-20 minute paper presentations, with or without visual accompaniment
  • Groups of presentations submitted together as panels
  • Presentation of scholarly creative works, including digital scholarship
  • Readings from recently published or forthcoming scholarly books
  • Discussion-based panels and roundtables on scholarly research, teaching, or service
  • Mentoring sessions on academic professional life: graduate study, the job market, tenure and promotion, publishing and presentation
  • Screenings and discussions of short films or videos

The deadline for submitting an abstract for WisCon 40 is midnight Central Time on February 1, 2016.

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:

WisCon announces chair for WisCon 40

Chris Wallish
SF3 Communications Committee

The SF3 Board and WisCon Concom are happy to announce Aileen Wall as the chair for WisCon 40, effective immediately.  She relieves Jackie Lee, who has been acting as interim chair.

Aileen has been on the Concom since early 2014.  At WisCon 38 and 39 she was master of ceremonies for the Sunday night Dessert Salon / GoH Speeches event.  For WisCon 39 she was also hotel co-liaison.  In life outside of Wiscon, Aileen works in the Madison performing arts community including as stage manager of Concerts on the Square.

We all have enormous respect for Aileen from her work as hotel co-liaison and are grateful for the stage management skillset she brings to the Concom Chair role.  We’re looking forward to working with her over the next seven months as we build WisCon 40 together.

Thanks, Aileen!

WisCon 40 conchairs resign

Chris Wallish
SF3 Communications Committee

The SF3 Board and WisCon Concom announce, sadly, the resignations of WisCon Concom Co-Chairs Andrea Horbinski and s.e. smith.  Their resignations are effective immediately.

Interim Chair for WisCon 40 will be Jackie Lee, SF3 Board President.

In resigning, Andrea and s.e. said both that as chairs they felt they were a poor culture fit and also that balancing commitments and workload was becoming unsustainable.

In their months as Concom chairs, Andrea and s.e. were enacting exciting ideas for WisCon 40, starting with inviting back a previous guest of honor as a special guest.  They also showed great commitment to placing the concom on firm, sustainable ground by pushing forward an internal documentation initiative proposed by the outgoing WisCon 39 chairs.

Andrea and s.e. stepped up as chairs during a very transitional time for the Concom and the Concom and Board are deeply grateful for their work over the past year.

We are sorry to lose Andrea and s.e. as chairs and from the Concom and we wish them nothing but all the success in their future endeavors.