Diversicon 26: Diversitopia coming 2018

Sahtu Press has been a supporter of Diversicon, a Minnesota-based speculative literature and arts convention for several years now, with our founder Nor Sanavongsay providing convention art for the organization for several years now. Bryan Thao Worra has also been a regular speaker and presenter, and in 2006 was a special guest with Kelly Link and Small Beer Press.

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Sahtu Press is pleased to learn that Bryan Thao Worra will be returning in July, 2018 as one of the Guests of Honor along with the award-winning author Charlie Jane Anders. The theme will be "Diversitopia."

For Bryan Thao Worra, the year is particularly significant because it will be the 40th anniversary of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association where he serves as their president, and it is the 5th anniversary of his award-winning collection DEMONSTRA from Innsmouth Free Press.

Diversicon is an annual speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy, or SF) convention held the first weekend of August in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota area. Diversicon provides programming and social opportunities to encourage the multicultural, multimedia exploration and celebration of SF by those within and outside of the traditional SF community. Diversicon includes both live and posthumous guests. It is sponsored by SF Minnesota.

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Charlie Jane Anders is the author of All the Birds in the Sky, out now. She’s the organizer of the Writers With Drinks reading series, and she was a founding editor of io9, a website about science fiction, science and futurism. Her stories have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Tor.com, Lightspeed, Tin House, ZYZZYVA, and several anthologies. Her novelette “Six Months, Three Days” won a Hugo award.

Bryan Thao Worra is a Lao American writer who holds over 20 awards for his work including an NEA Fellowship in Literature and was a Cultural Olympian representing Laos during the 2012 London Summer Games. He is the author of 6 books, with poems and writing appearing internationally including Australia, Canada, Scotland, Germany, France, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea, and Pakistan.

The posthumous guests this year are Madeleine L’Engle, Phillip Jose Farmer, and Theodore Sturgeon.

Theodore Sturgeon (February 26, 1918 – May 8, 1985) was considered one of the most influential writers of the so-called “Golden Age” of science fiction fostered by editor John Campbell from 1938 to 1950. Sturgeon was particularly appreciated for his literary style, his attention to character and his treatment of important social issues such as sex, war, and the alienation of those felt to be different from the norm. His depictions of the American working class and his sensitivity to strange and disabled people have been likened to Flannery O’Connor, Sherwood Anderson, and William Faulkner. In his obituary, the New York Times said that “Sturgeon was, in several senses, the conscience of modern science fiction,” and Kurt Vonnegut called him “One of the best writers in America…certain to fascinate all sorts of readers, not only science fiction fans.” His work is beloved by younger generations of writers as well, including James Tiptree, Jr., Connie Willis, Samuel R. Delany, Michael Chabon, Jonathan Lethem and Nalo Hopkinson.

Philip José Farmer (January 26, 1918 – February 25, 2009) was an American author known for his science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories. Farmer is best known for his sequences of novels, especially the World of Tiers (1965–93) and Riverworld (1971–83) series. He is noted for the pioneering use of sexual and religious themes in his work, his fascination for, and reworking of, the lore of celebrated pulp heroes, and occasional tongue-in-cheek pseudonymous works written as if by fictional characters. Farmer often mixed real and classic fictional characters and worlds and real and fake authors as epitomized by his Wold Newton family group of books. These tie all classic fictional characters together as real people and blood relatives resulting from an alien conspiracy. Such works as The Other Log of Phileas Fogg (1973) and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (1973) are early examples of literary mashup. Literary critic Leslie Fiedler compared Farmer to Ray Bradbury as both being “provincial American eccentrics” who “strain at the classic limits of the [science fiction] form,” but found Farmer distinctive in that he “manages to be at once naive and sophisticated in his odd blending of theology, pornography, and adventure.”

Madeleine L’Engle (November 29, 1918- September 6, 2007) was an American writer best known for her Young Adult fiction, particularly the Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters. Her works reflect her strong interest in modern science: tesseracts, for example, are featured prominently in A Wrinkle in Time, mitochondrial DNA in A Wind in the Door, organ regeneration in The Arm of the Starfish, and so forth. She went to Smith College and studied English with some wonderful teachers as she read the classics and continued her own creative writing. She graduated with honors and moved into a Greenwich Village apartment in New York. She worked in the theater, where Equity union pay and a flexible schedule afforded her the time to write. She published her first two novels during these years–A Small Rain and Ilsa--before meeting Hugh Franklin, her future husband, when she was an understudy in Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard. They married during The Joyous Season. Madeleine became associated with the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, where she was the librarian and maintained an office for more than thirty years. She wrote over 60 books.

For further details, you can visit: www.diversicon.org

Bryan Thao Worra