ellenkushner: (Default)

Imagining Fantasy Lands: The Status Quo Does Not Need Worldbuilding

Friday 16:30 – 18:00, Capital Suite 11 (ExCeL)
Mary Anne Mohanraj (M), Tobias Buckell, Kate Elliott, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Ellen Kushner

Fantasy world-building sometimes comes under fire for its pedantic attention to detail at the expense of pacing or prose style. Do descriptive passages clog up the narrative needlessly, when reader imagination should be filling in the gaps? Where does that leave the landscapes and cultures that are less well represented in the Western genre: can world-building be a tool in subverting reader expectations that would otherwise default to pseudo-medieval Euro-esque? If fantasy is about defamiliarising the familiar, how important is material culture - buildings, furnishings, tools, the organisation of social and commercial space - in creating a fantasy world?
Note: the title of this panel is a reference to Kate Elliott's essay:

Reading: Ellen Kushner
Friday 18:00 - 18:30, London Suite 1 (ExCeL)

:25 - what shall I read??  Something old & well-loved . . . or the WIP?

Translation-Wish, Translation-Obstacles
Friday, Capital Suite 6 (Level 3), 8pm - 9pm

Many of us have read work in our own languages that we would love to propose to Anglophone publishers.  But how to fund a rough translation of such work?  The Interstitial Arts Foundation is looking to create a new initiative to bring translators together with national and international funders to create a way to make something happen!

- I'm not on this one, but I am its Faerie Godmother, so I'll be there! If you're interested in the Interstitial Arts Foundation, this will be a good time to meet some people & talk about it, too.

Autographing 2 - Ellen Kushner

Saturday 13:30 - 15:00, Autographing Space (ExCeL)
o god, please come and hang out with me!!!!  No one is going to want that many autographs, and I am honor bound to sit there for an hour and a half, feeling like an idiot and staring off into space or trying to look busy!  A great time to come say Hi, introduce yourself, offer me small but precious gifts, or just sit around talking about books and shoes. I will be a sitting duck.

Literary Beer

Saturday 17:00 - 18:00, The Bar (ExCeL)
All of the Above, but with Beer. YOU HAVE TO SIGN UP FOR THIS ONE IN ADVANCE (AT THE CON).

Imagining the City

Saturday 19:00 - 20:00, Capital Suite 7+12 (ExCeL)

Science fiction and fantasy are filled with memorable imaginary cities, from Minas Tirith to New Crobuzon, Trantor to Vorbarr Sultana. How do writers imagine their cities? What are the advantages and disadvantages of creating a city from scratch versus using one or more existing models? And are there differences in how SF and fantasy approach this task?
- Cannot wait for this one!!

You've Ruined It For Me

Sunday 19:00 - 20:00, Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL)

Screen adaptations of genre works are big business, and fan conversation about them often revolves around issues of accuracy and deviation. But what are the other discussions we could be having about the relationship between novel and film? How does our experience of an adaptation shape the way we read a particular book, whether for the first time or on a re-read? Is it possible, any more, to talk about The Lord of the Rings without reference to Peter Jackson? Are 'book purists' too defensive against what is, after all, simply someone else's reading of a work with a budget, or do blockbuster adaptations carry a popular cultural weight that makes them hard to escape?
 [MODERATOR! 'Cause what the hell do I know about movies?  But there is The SwordsmanWhose Name was Not Death….. Do you think the play just ruined the book?]

ellenkushner: (Default)
I'm delighted to announce that Delia & I will be returning to Hollins University to teach again in Summer 2015 for their MA/MFA Program in Children's Literature - and that Terri Windling joins us there as 2015 Writer-in-Residence!

Now, here's the catch:  In order to study with me, you need to be at least a second year student.  Which means you must apply now for this year's program - deadline March 15th, 2014 ** EXTENDED NOW TO APRIL 15th!** - so that you can begin classes this summer. (Terri & Delia will be available to everyone in 2015. This is just for people who want to take my Advanced Seminar.  And there's nothing to stop you from applying now for 2015!)

Now, don't get your knickers in a twist. You probably are "good enough." The program encourages all levels of students. Seriously.  And there is Financial Aid.  It's a 6-week summer semester, a chance to find out just what you're capable of; and during the year, you can acquire credits through on-line courses.

If you wait to start classes in 2015, you'll get to take Delia Sherman's amazing "Introduction to Fantasy Writing" class, aka "How to read (and think) like a writer!" I didn't think such writing could be taught . . . until I inherited some of her students last year, in my Writing Seminar, and saw how far they'd come since studying with her. Delia works with Fairy Tale, MG fiction, and with the inside of your head and the outside of your pages.

As 2015 Writer-in-Residence, Terri Windling will be lecturing, meeting individually with students to read mss. and give feedback . . . and, of course, hanging out in the Writers' Livingroom (which I founded back in 2011) for the first 2 weeks of this 6-week semester.

I will be teaching a 4-6 person Advanced Seminar again in 2015:  Essentially, a 6-week workshop on how to get your thesis - i.e. your novel - to move forward and keep going.  I work hard to create a supportive atmosphere, with an emphasis students helping each other, not "critiquing" to show off. Both Delia & I keep office hours, and really enjoy meeting one-on-one outside of class.

You also get to take academic classes with the likes of the truly amazing Karen Coats, Brian Attebery, and more - in fact, if you want an M.A. instead of an M.F.A., your primary classes will be with them.  But you still do some Creative Writing for your degree - and if you're an MFA, you still get to take some Academic classes.

And this year, for the first time, Hollins is offering a combined MFA in Children's Book Writing and Illustrating! Artist faculty Ruth Sanderson, Ashley Wolff & Elizabeth Dulemba have become very dear friends; you'll love studying with them.  In fact, much as we love teaching, our other reasons for returning again & again to Hollins are (a) It's in the Blue Ridge Mountains, an area rich with folklore & traditional music (Friday nights! at the Floyd Country Store!!); (b) the chance to hang out all summer with the above-mentioned colleagues, also including Hillary Homzie, Lisa Fraustino, Chip Sullivan, and many more……all creative, funny, charming & supportive teachers who have become dear friends.

Come join us?

Here's how.

**And - because one does not enter grad school lightly or precipitously: Say "Ellen sent me," and our fabulous Program Director will accept applications through April 15th!
ellenkushner: (Default)
Sunday 15 December, 4:00 – 6:00 pm

Delia Sherman & I are doing a holiday "house concert/lecture" - just think of it as coming and hanging out with us in a living room on the Upper West side, while we shoot the breeze about the way that fantasy literature and traditional folk music play nicely together and make beautiful children.  Come with your own examples of books and stories that do the trick, or get ready to hear us talk - and sing! - about Ellen's World Fantasy Award-winning novel THOMAS THE RHYMER (based on a Scots Border Ballad), and Delia's multiple short stories, like "The Maid on the Shore," plus, of course, her novel THROUGH A BRAZEN MIRROR (from Martin Carthy's rendition of the ballad "The Famous Flower of Serving-Men) . . . and how Ellen stole - er, recycled one of its plotlines.
And, yes, there will be singing.
To find out the Secret Location, call Heather at (212) 957-8386 for reservations and information.
General admission: $15. Folk Music Society of NY members or full-time students: $12.
Folk Music & Fantasy
Sunday 15 December, 4:00 – 6:00 pm
Upper West Side
(call for directions: (212) 957-8386)
Presented by the Folk Music Society of NY
ellenkushner: (Default)
...after 8 glorious days in Western Massachusetts, housesitting for friends and riding my (well, their) bike into town along a black bike trail already streaked with yellow leaves (and let me tell you about the day I waited til after sundown, to discover that it wasn't lit....woooo-ooooo! I am brave), making endless cups of tea and pacing the kitchen and bending the ears of various pals with my writerly angst.

At the end of which, I can safely say that the new novel is well underway.  Not as many pages as I could wish, but a very strong sense of who these people are and where they're going, and pretty much how they'll get there.  And some scenes I like a lot.  I've got to turn back to some more pressing deadlines, now, but I think I've got what I need to return to this with vigor (instead of the previous sense of vague dread and impending despair) when I'm done with them.

I will spare you my meditations on what a tremendously inspiring and encouraging speaker I am when it comes to other peoples' process and WIP, and how dismally and utterly I can fail to take my own advice.  Really, it's quite remarkable.  Sometimes I amaze even myself.

Tomorrow morning, I hit New York Comic Con, where I'll be interviewing Wendy & Brian Froud on their latest book - and first official collaboration - TROLLS.  It's stunning (and, despite it slenderness, it weighs a ton!).  Terri Windling's husband Howard Gayton - and his creative partner Rex van Ryn -  interviewed Brian & Wendy this summer, in the village they all live in together.  It's a lovely discussion on collaboration.  You can read it here.

Me, I'm on a collaborative streak:  Just went over the page proofs for the story I wrote last year with Caroline Stevermer for the upcoming Datlow/Windling anthology, QUEEN VICTORIA'S BOOK OF SPELLS . . . halfway through recording the audiobook for THE FALL OF THE KINGS (which I wrote with Delia, pretty early in our relationship) - D & I have 2 meeting this week with our director/producer, Sue Zizza, about music & casting for the "illuminated" version . . . .Am working with Ysabeau Wilce (yaayyy!) on something for a Jonathan Strahan anthology . . . . and Terri Windling & I are talking about drafting something together when she's here in November for FaerieCon.

I like working with other people.  When it's the right project, and they're the right ones.  I've also had some real stinkers of collaborations, so it's not like I'm the dream partner for everyone (nor they for me).  But when it's right, it's divine!  Maybe another reason I am drawn to theater.
ellenkushner: (IAF)
Coming to Readercon this weekend?

You are warmly invited to the annual Town Meeting of the Interstitial Arts Foundation:

FRIDAY 4:00 p.m. Concierge Lounge, 8th floor
(listed in your program as the "Mike Allen /Ellen Kushner Kaffeeklatsch!").

Our Town Meetings there are always a highlight for the IAF, giving new friends a chance to get to know us, and existing ones a chance to give their input on where you think the IAF should be going.... Hope to see you there! 

* * * 

The rest of my Readercon schedule is here (LJ) and here (Dreamwidth).  

I am particularly excited about the opportunity to present my latest research in the field of audiobooks - which is to say, a lecture/demo of Swordspoint and the forthcoming The Privilege of the Sword (TPOTS), with behind-the-scenes gossip on what it was like to narrate and co-produce my own work.  That's also on Friday (5:00 pm).

If you've never been to Readercon, I can't recommend it highly enough!   It takes place in Burlington, MA, just north of Boston.
Thursday night is free and open to the public. 
ellenkushner: (or What You Will)

Looking forward to seeing friends old & new at Readercon in Burlington, MA (just outside Boston) in  2 weeks!   Weekend & day pass memberships are available at the door - and the Thursday evening program is just plain free and open to the public! I should be there then.  I have no formal autographing session, so feel free to simply grab me in the hallway or after a panel.  If it's not convenient, I'll tell you, so don't be shy!

Friday July 13

1:00 PM    VT    Reading. Ellen Kushner. Ellen Kushner reads from a work to be determined.

Any requests?
4:00 PM    CL    Kaffeeklatsch. Mike Allen, Ellen Kushner.

NB:  This is actually the annual Interstitial Arts Foundation Town Meeting!  Please come with your ideas for ways to make the IAF a better medium for all artists - and lovers of their work - who create art that falls in the interstices between recognized genre categories, whatever they may be.

Bring your suggestions, questions, and enthusiasm!

5:00 PM    ME    How I Narrated and Produced the 'Illuminated' Swordspoint Series Audiobooks. Ellen Kushner. Ellen Kushner discusses the making of her latest audiobook, The Privilege of the Sword (released this month, deliberately scheduled to coincide with Readercon!), and its predecessor, Swordspoint, both written and narrated (and co-produced) by Kushner for ACX/Neil Gaiman Presents. A year ago, she'd never even listened to an audiobook; now, using extra voice actors, sound effects and commissioned soundtrack music, she and producer/director Sue Zizza have created a new style called the "Illuminated" audiobook. She will play excerpts and answer questions about the process, including her experiences with ACX, Audible's new initiative for empowering authors to create their own audiobooks.

Yes, there will be pre-release excerpts of TPOTS!

Saturday July 14

2:00 PM    G    The City and the Strange. Leah Bobet, Amanda Downum, Lila Garrott (leader), Stacy Hill, Ellen Kushner, Howard Waldrop. In The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs writes, "By its nature, the metropolis provides what otherwise could be given only by traveling; namely, the strange." N.K. Jemisin's Inheritance trilogy demonstrates that epic-feeling fantasy can still take place entirely within the confines of a single city. Fictional metropolises such as Jeff Vandermeer's Ambergris, China Miéville's New Crobuzon, and Catherynne M. Valente's Palimpsest are entire worlds in themselves, and the fantasy cities of Lankmar and Ankh-Morkpork shine as centers of intrigue and adventure. In what other works, and other ways, can cities be stand-ins for the lengthy traveling quest of Tolkienesque fantasy?

Sunday July 15 

11:00 AM    F    Performing Books to Ourselves. Ellen Brody, Andy Duncan, James Patrick Kelly, Rosemary Kirstein, Ellen Kushner (leader). In a 2011 blog post, Daniel Abraham wrote, "Reading a book is a performance by an artist (the writer) for an audience (the reader)." But readers also perform works to themselves, imagining characters and settings and events, and perform works to others when reading aloud. In those cases, is the writer taking more of a directorial role, or is there a more complex synergy afoot, especially when we get into audiobooks, fiction podcasts, and other carefully produced performances? How does awareness of these layers of performance shape the ways that writers write and readers read?
ellenkushner: (gargoyle)
TONIGHT I'm moderating what promises to be an amazing panel at the Center for Fiction: Samuel R. Delany, Andrea Hairston, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Carlos Hernandez, Steve Berman & I discuss "Outsiders in/of SF/F" - yep, it's coded for "queer & people of color" - but I want to go beyond the usual stuff, and give folks a sense of history as well as of personal experience & mission.  7 pm at Center for Fiction - admission free, though you'll be invited to donate $5 if you can - and you can reserve your spot by RSVP'ing here.  There will be wine & book-signing after.

WEDS. the action moves to my beloved Rubin Museum of Art, for what should be a smokin' hot finale to the Center's Le Guin/Earthsea Big Read month:  
 "From Urdu Epic and Tibetan Sorcerers to Today: Fantasy in Tibetan and World Literature"

With moderator Elizabeth Hand's permission, I have copied here her preliminary instructions to the panelists (John Crowley, Paul Witcover, Andrew Quintman & Hamid Darbashi), to give you a taste of what's to come:

"As this is tied to the Center for Fiction/Big Read's celebration of Ursula Le Guin's contemporary classic A Wizard of Earthsea, it seems appropriate to have our discussion begin with the sorcerer, one of the most ancient and universal figures in human history and art.

"This season is one of the cross-quarters of the ritual year in many cultures, rich with with folklore and ceremonies that celebrate the harvest and transitions between autumn and winter, life and death. Sorcerers and shamans, holy men and women — supernatural figures of many types — often possess the ability to make these liminal crossings.

"As everyone on our panel will approach this subject from a quite different perspective, I'd like to start by having each one [panelist] share, campfire-style, a tale, legend or myth, that involves sorcerers, sorcery, ritual magic, religion, mythology, and so on. We have a very broad palette to draw from, so the choice is yours. We'll have plenty of time for more expansive discussion and comments, as well as questions from our audience." 

Tix are $12 - but I can comp you!  If you'd like a free ticket, go HERE , click on RSVP, and in the MESSAGE section, type in code:  EKSF .  Your ticket also includes 6:15 p.m. tour of the exhibition Once Upon Many Times: Legends and Myths in Himalayan Art, which is well worth seeing. And there's a great little snack /drinks bar there.

Hope to see you at the Center tonight, and the Rubin Museum on Wednesday at 7:00!
ellenkushner: (medal)
10:00 AM: From Elfland to Poughkeepsie:  Should Fantasy Sound Like Fantasy?* 
Ellen Klages, Ellen Kushner(Moderator - ohhhh, the power!), Shawna McCarthy, Terri-Lynne Defino, Susan Forest

Ursula K. Le Guin argued [in her essay "From Elfland to Poughkeepsie"] that epic or mythic fantasy should have a language that helps the story keep a distance from the ordinary. Does most epic fantasy today continue that tradition?  Is it really a necessary part of epic fiction?

Ha.  I did this panel 2 yrs ago at Montreal WorldCon with Guy Kay as moderator! It was a great panel then, and I hope I can come even close to doing as good a job.  It's certainly a subject that fascinates me.  

1-2 pm, room # t.b.a.

Pub party for [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman 's new novel, THE FREEDOM MAZE!
A reading/tea party with Louisiana specialties:  sweet ICED tea, Hubig's pies (shipped overnight from New Orleans), and pralines (handmade by Tiffany Trent) . . . and, best of all,
the very first, hot-off-the-press advance COPIES OF THE FREEDOM MAZE will arrive (shipping willing) for sale! 

ellenkushner: (Witches of LUBLIN)
All this month, NYC's wonderful Center for Fiction (formerly the Mercantile Library) presents a series of science fiction and fantasy events during centered on a celebration of Ursula K. Le Guin's novel A Wizard of Earthsea, called The Big Read.  

I'll be participating in the events there on October 19th, 20th & 24th.  [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman moderates a YA panel this Thursday, Oct. 13th, featuring [livejournal.com profile] blackholly, [livejournal.com profile] cassandraclare, Justine [livejournal.com profile] larbalestier, &[livejournal.com profile] chris_moriarty.  These events are FREE.

And on Weds. night, Oct. 12th, Margaret Atwood is coming to speak on "the impact that science fiction has had on her life as a reader and a writer."

This event is not free.  But, for my Services to the Empire, I have been empowered to offer free tix for YOU!  To be on the Guest List for the Atwood event, go to this page.  Click on RSVP there, and in the Messages box type in code: EKSF

To RSVP for other events (which are free), please go to:
and click on individual dates in the "Big Read Events" box.  It's not like they won't let you in without an RSVP, but it helps them figure out how many are coming; and I suppose if something gets really crowded, the RSVPers will get first pick of seats in their really charming 1930s LiteroColonial building on E. 47th Street.  It's a pretty intimate space - and there are Refreshments after! And tons of used books downstairs.

The Center has assembled a remarkable list of speakers for these events, including John Crowley, Samuel R. Delany, Elizabeth Hand, Michael Swanwick,  N.K. Jemisin, John Wray,  Andrea Hairston, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Steve Berman, Carlos Hernandez, David G. Hartwell...  (I'm afraid you missed last week's Naomi Novik, Lev Grossman, Kelly Link, Katherine Anne Goonan et al panels.)

And it warms my heart to see a Serious Literary Institution giving such honor to a great author & observer of SF/F, and we, her acolytes.

So do come if you can.

For more information: http://centerforfiction.org/events/the-big-read/

There's also a pretty entertaining post at [livejournal.com profile] rosefox 's Genreville about it all.

And if you thought Atwood wanted nothing to do with SF, you'll be pleasantly surprised with the recent interview she did with the Center's Dawn Raffel.
ellenkushner: (gargoyle)
Hollins University has posted the Keynote Speech that Delia Sherman & I gave in June at the Children's Literature Association Conference that was held there this year.  We decided to give parallel psycho-auto-biographies on how reading fantasy as children shaped our lives.  Here's the link, if you'd like to watch it:


Delia & I both taught in the Hollins Graduate program in Children's Literature this summer, and enjoyed it hugely.  We didn't realize when we signed on that we'd get the chance to participate in the CLA conference!  Wish we'd had more time to hang out and talk with people there, but we were so focused on polishing our speech that we missed a lot of good stuff.  Once the speech was over, we had a great time.
ellenkushner: (EK:  Twelfth Night)
Friday July 15
2:00 PM NH "Until Forgiveness Comes" group reading.
K. Tempest Bradford, Jim Freund, Andrea Hairston, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ellen Kushner, Pan Morigan. A live performance of the radio play based on K. Tempest Bradford's story "Until Forgiveness Comes."

6:00 PM NH Teeth group readin
g. Steve Berman, Suzy Charnas, Ellen Datlow, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Kaaron Warren.
Contributors to Teeth, a YA vampire anthology, read selections from their work.

7:00 PM NH Reading. Ellen Kushner. Can I do all of "The Man with the Knives" in <:30?  (BTW, Henry Wessels will be selling the remaining 10 or so copies at the convention. If you buy, I will sign!)

Saturday July 16
2:00 PM G Gender and Sexual Identities in Speculative Fiction
. Steve Berman (moderator), Ellen Kushner. Read more for Saturday & Sunday )
* * * 
In the Boston area but not coming to Readercon (why not??)?  Thursday night we're doing a group reading/signing for NAKED CITY at Porter Square Books.   
ellenkushner: (Witches of LUBLIN)
The Witches of Lublin gets it NYC premiere tonight on the legendary indie station WBAI, 99.5 FM.  Show goes on at midnight, and then at 1:00 a.m. I'll be there in the studio with the great actor Tim Jerome - a Broadway veteran who brings such depth & humanity to the part of the Rabbi in our show - and my beloved co-author Elizabeth Schwartz (through the magic of technology - she's phoning in from San Diego), all hosted by our dear Jim Freund, who so kindly made this possible.

The 1:00 - 2:00 a.m. interview segment is a CALL-IN show - so even out-of-towners (from all over the globe, yet!) can listen LIVE online and phone in your questions & comments.

For a complete list of stations scheduled to air the show, look here.  And remember that most of them will allow you to listen online.

Tomorrow (Thurs. 4/14) I'll be on at noon on WUNC in Chapel Hill, NC with producer/director Sue Zizza & co-author/music director Yale Strom, being interviewed by Frank Stasio on his show The State of Things.  Then they air the show Sunday night at 6:00 pm.

October 2014

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