I've done readings, book signings, a book launch, and exhibited at an inaugural reading summit for Oregon librarians, but THIS will be my very first time as a panelist at a literary conference. Yes, I'm nervous, but more so I am SO SUPER EXCITED!
Norwescon is the Pacific Northwest’s premier science fiction and fantasy convention. I was invited to participate for their 2020 event, but, well, you know... covid. But they're back, this time virtually. I'm sad to not have the in-person experience, especially since this is my first time in attendance, but I know it'll still be fantabulous!
Come listen, engage, and play at any one of the seven panels I'm on. See my itinerary below (all times Pacific Standard and subject to change):
Thursday, April 1
I Am Not A Monster (YA)
5:00pm - 6:00pm
Benjamin Gorman (M), Elsa Sjunneson, Sonja Thomas, Mikko Azul
Characters, like children, come in all shapes, sizes and abilities. Some children have obvious abilities and then there are those who have abilities that aren’t so obvious. This panel explores how characters relate to themselves and their world when they have both obvious differences, like requiring wheelchairs or hearing aids, to the invisible differences of autism, schizophrenia and other mental health issues.
Friday, April 2
Pass the Story (Youth)
Noon - 1:00pm
Rebecca A. Demarest (M), Kate Ristau, Dale Ivan Smith, Sonja Thomas
Working together to build a story is exciting, particularly when you don’t know what is coming next. Our panelists will work together as a group to create a new story with the help of their friends! (Ages 3-6 with help from caregivers.)
Moving Beyond Diversity and Toward Inclusion (Culture)
3:00pm - 4:00pm
Annie Carl (M), Blue, Sang Kromah, Sonja Thomas
For years fandom has been working on bringing in diversity, whether that's through speakers or topics of discussion. But is diversity enough? Or is the move toward inclusion our next step? Join panelists as they discuss diversity vs inclusion and equality vs equity.
Saturday, April 3
Talk Like a Teen (YA)
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Marta Murvosh (M), AmÃ©lie Mantchev, Caitlyn McKinzie, Sonja Thomas
Valley girls, surfer dudes, millennials, boomers and zoomers and how they speak can create discourse. Lingual shifts and shifts in modes of communication have always caused strife. Can there be communication between people who speak in words versus those who convey information via textspeak, tiktok, reddit, snapchat, and memes? Should these platforms and modes of communication be included in written works or does this date them?
The Creation, Care, & Feeding of Writing Groups (Writing)
2:00pm - 3:00pm
Cat Rambo (M), Tex Thompson, Sonja Thomas, Rhiannon Held
How do you set up a writing group? How often should it meet, and how many members should it have? Can you have a group of mixed genres, or is it best to process on one? What sort of meeting places are best? What do you do when no one's submitting critiques or when problems like personal differences arise? When do you know it's time to move on to another group? Join our panelists as they discuss how to find a writing group that encourages and nurtures your writing efforts, rather than poisoning, undermining, or otherwise sabotaging you.
Sunday, April 4
Under the Bed (Youth)
10:00am - 11:00am
Rebecca A. Demarest (M), Sonja Thomas
What makes a good monster/villain scary, and how can we create our own? Together we'll figure out how to make some good monsters...and how to defeat them. (Ages 7-12 and younger ones with help from caregivers.)
Body Positivity: Be Like Lizzo (Lifestyle)
3:00pm - 4:00pm
Sienna Saint-Cyr (M), Sang Kromah, Shweta Adhyam, Sonja Thomas
We've all heard that body positivity is important and that we should be confident in who we are. But that can be so hard when society is constantly telling us that we're flawed if we're not 'thin and white'. Can Lizzo set us right? Join panelists as they discuss Lizzo and how she's fighting back by being her authentic, beautiful, badass self.