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.