Guest of Honor Recommendations
I’ve had several conventions ask me for Guest of Honor suggestions lately, so I figured I’d do some public brainstorming. The following are some folks I think would make excellent SF/F convention or conference guests.
- Nnedi Okorafor: Her books have won multiple awards, including the World Fantasy Award. I’ve read, loved, and reviewed several of her books here. She’s also a professor of creative writing at the University of Buffalo.
- Amal El-Mohtar: El-Mohtar is an award-winning poet, editor of Goblin Fruit, and a Nebula-nominated author of more than a dozen well-reviewed short stories. She’s a thoughtful and outspoken member of the SF/F community with a broad range of experience.
- Ken Liu: Liu has won the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy … basically, the dude has ALL THE AWARDS for his short fiction, and his first novel will be coming out in 2015. He also writes poetry, and has done some translation of Chinese fiction into English. I would love to see more discussion of translated fiction at conventions.
- Charles A. Tan: Tan was the associate editor for the award-nominated World SF Blog. He’s edited several collections of Phillipine speculative fiction. He’s very active in SF/F, contributing to sites such as SF Signal, Fantasy Magazine, the Shirley Jackson Awards, and more.
- Mary Robinette Kowal: I love Kowal’s fiction. (Review here.) She’s also won the Campbell Award for best new writer and the Hugo Award for best short story. In addition to fiction, she does professional audio book narration, and has a second career as a puppeteer. She was SFWA vice-president, and has served as art director for two different magazines. Having worked with her, I can confirm that she’s an excellent presenter and performer.
- Kameron Hurley: Hurley’s novels have been nominated for the Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke awards. She’s currently on the Hugo Award ballot for her essay, We Have Always Fought, making her the first person ever (I believe) to be nominated for the Hugo for a blog post.
- Keith R. A. DeCandido: I don’t think I’ve ever attended a smaller/local-type convention that featured a tie-in writer as author guest of honor. Why is that? DeCandido has written for Starcraft, Buffy, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Farscape, Firefly, and more. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I want the chance to pick this man’s brain at a convention!
- Aliette de Bodard: De Bodard has won the Nebula, Locus, BSFA, and Writers of the Future awards, and has been nominated for several others. She was a contributor to the World SF Blog, and her personal blog is on my Must Read list.
- Tansy Rayner Roberts: Roberts has at least five SF/F novels in print, and also writes crime fiction under a pseudonym. She’s won the Aurealis Award, the Ditmar, the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer, and is part of the award-winning Galactic Suburbia podcast.
- Mary Anne Mohanraj: Founded Strange Horizons, one of the first pro-paying online SF/F zines. Founded the Speculative Literature Foundation. Her bibliography includes edited works, short fiction collections, novels, poetry, and more.
- Nisi Shawl: Tiptree award-winning author for her short fiction collection Filter House. Shawl is also the co-author with Cynthia Ward of Writing the Other. She also reviews SF/F for The Seattle Times, and is a board member for Clarion West.
- Charlie Jane Anders: Anders has received the Hugo, Lambda, and Emperor Norton awards. In addition to being a critically acclaimed author, she’s also co-editor of the popular site io9 and organizes the Writers With Drinks series.
- Malinda Lo: Lo writes YA science fiction and fantasy, and a number of people have noted the need for more YA guests of honor. Lo is also the cofounder of Diversity in YA, and has written many well-researched blog posts about diversity and representation.
Who else would you like to see as convention guests of honor? I’m particularly interested in suggestions for folks who — for whatever reason — might otherwise be overlooked.
May 5, 2014 @ 9:38 am
I found Kameron Hurleys blog post on persistence (http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/01/22/on-persistence-and-the-long-con-of-being-a-successful-writer/) even more impressing.
May 5, 2014 @ 10:09 am
We had Keith at Omaha’s SF con last year. He was a great guest, and a pleasure to hang out with.
May 5, 2014 @ 12:02 pm
People I’d like to see:
May 5, 2014 @ 12:08 pm
Australian author Kate Forsyth – The Witches of Eileanan / Rhiannon’s Ride fantasy series were excellent. She’s also done Historical fiction and Children’s books.
Jane Lindskold – loved her Firekeeper saga (excellent series with a strong female protaganist).
Karen Miller / K.E. Mills – Kingmaker, Kingbreaker and Rogue Agent books
May 5, 2014 @ 12:27 pm
May 5, 2014 @ 2:16 pm
I can confirm that if Mary Robinette Kowal is a guest at your convention, you will probably not stop laughing. When I saw her at Confusion a couple of years back, she gave what was easily the most hilarious opening ceremonies speach I have ever heard.
May 5, 2014 @ 2:21 pm
Thank you for the recommendation! I’m most appreciative of the joy extended. About to participate in my second GOH gig, and hoping I’m given the chance for many more.
May 5, 2014 @ 2:52 pm
James S.A. Corey (aka Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck)
May 5, 2014 @ 3:02 pm
Christopher J Garcia
May 5, 2014 @ 3:14 pm
I’m going to be Fan GoH when Mary’s also a GoH at Westercon this year.
I’d also add three folks who I owuld LOVE to see GOHized in the near – Rachel Swirsky, Kelly Link, and Michael Chabon.
May 5, 2014 @ 4:16 pm
Dru Pagliassotti would be a good choice.
May 5, 2014 @ 6:22 pm
As someone who knows both Mary and Chris, I can predict Westercon will be laff central.
May 5, 2014 @ 10:43 pm
Lois Gresh has kind of a dual life as an author – she’s published teen literary guides (“The Divergent Companion” is her most recent) and “pop science” books, but she calls her fiction books “weird fiction” and it’s very much where SFF and horror meet. She has a several decades long background in STEM, especially programming. I really enjoy her as a GOH.
David B. Coe / D. B. Jackson writes the Thieftaker novels, among others, and contributes to the Magical Words blog and book. Listening to him talk about writing is a great experience.
May 5, 2014 @ 10:49 pm
Also seconding the Martha Wells recommendation – the Raksura stories are my favorites, but she’s also done a great Star Wars tie-in about Leia and just started a new YA series.
May 6, 2014 @ 10:11 am
N(ora).K. Jemisin. I loved her novels, they’re beautifully written, and she’s also got some interesting things to say about race and gender and diversity issues.
May 6, 2014 @ 11:49 am
I’d like to recommend Jim Hines! He was our author GOH at ConStellation II in 2011 in Lincoln, Nebraska! Witty, charming and entertaining!
May 6, 2014 @ 3:30 pm
Thanks for the list! For a conference coordinator, it’s great for me to read the extra information that gives an idea about the person beyond just a name on a page. A future suggestion, if I may? It’s a massive help to conference organizers dealing with tight travel budgets if you happen to know where people you’re recommending are based (generally, even, by state or even which coast or part of the country). (Yes, we can look this up, but if you’re making a recommendation and happen to know, it saves us an extra step and is much appreciated.) Thanks for the great list!
Jim C. Hines
May 6, 2014 @ 3:50 pm
Thanks, Kathy! I will definitely keep that in mind next time!
May 7, 2014 @ 12:20 pm
I’ll second the recommendation of Martha Wells. She writes adult SF/F, YA, and media tie-ins. Since rediscovering her work recently she’s become one of my favorite authors; she also has a moderate amount to say about the craft of storytelling.
May 7, 2014 @ 5:46 pm
DAMMIT! Where’s my “like” or +1 button?
Amazing Stories | AMAZING NEWS: 5-11-2014 - Amazing Stories
May 11, 2014 @ 11:02 am
May 12, 2014 @ 7:58 am
N.K. Jemisin is a truly FABULOUS guest of honour. She was the GOH for Continuum in Melbourne last year, and was simply wonderful as a guest.
May 12, 2014 @ 9:59 am
And what country they’re from (for those of us running cons outside of the US)
May 14, 2014 @ 10:54 am
G. Willow Wilson, author of Alif the Unseen and some absolutely amazing graphic novels including Cairo.