Like a Mini Convention

Recorded a three-hour podcast session with Jed Hartman and Benjamin Rosenbaum this morning — oof. We were talking about drafting and revision and workshops and I guess we had a lot to say. It’s so great, talking with them, but I’m also always kind of drained afterwards — it’s intense, sort of like attending a mini convention. I’m hiding in the shed now, and am going to give myself a few hours of silence, I think. Although first, I need to talk to Jed about a thing. 🙂 But then, silence and grading and course prep and maybe a little revision of my own…

Congratulations to Strange Horizons

Super-proud to hear that Strange Horizons has won an Ignyte Award for Community (for Outstanding Efforts in Service of Inclusion and Equitable Practice in Genre) — so great to see people appreciating our magazine.

20 years of wonderful work — congrats to all the hardworking staff, the writers and artists, and well, everyone! 💖💖💖

The IGNYTE Awards

for novel-length (40k+ words) works intended for the adult audience WINNER | Gods of Jade and Shadow – Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey) for novel-length (40k+ words) works intended for the young adult audience WINNER | We Hunt the Flame – Hafsah Faizal (FSG BYR)* *BYR: “Books for Young Readers” for

An Interview with Minal Hajratwala

Here’s a really fun interview I did with Minal Hajratwala at the very start of the Portolan Project — we talk about attending Clarion, about South Asian SF/F, and much, much more. At this stage, I wasn’t set up for video yet, so it’s just audio, which you can listen to or read!

“South Asian work in particular, it’s interesting because I feel like…a modern South Asian science fiction sensibility, if there is one, is still forming. And of course we’ve talked about this, how diverse South Asia is, so many different strands. So whether you can even say there is “a South Asian sensibility” is disputable. But at the same time, I do think that South Asian countries have this deep wellspring of myth…and religion, which is nothing if not speculative. To me, that’s the definition. We don’t know things; therefore, we will speculate about how reality is constructed. And so drawing from that is this really fertile ground that I think people are still just beginning to tap into.”

Minal Hajratwala

“South Asian work in particular, it’s interesting because I feel like…a modern South Asian science fiction sensibility, if there is one, is still forming. And of course, I mean, we’ve talked about this, how diverse South Asia is, so many different strands. So whether you can even say there is “a South Asian sensibility” is disputable.

Tasveer South Asian Literary Festival

I was excited to attend Tasveer literary festival in Seattle, but they’ve had to go virtual this year. The plus side to that is that it’ll be much easier for all of you to attend, especially since it’s free!

I’ll be on a panel about South Asians writing SF/F, which is going to be super fun, and the other panels look terrific too!

The festival runs from Oct 20 – 25; my panel is Saturday the 24th, 12 – 1:30 Pacific time.

“Speculative fiction – a broad category that includes science fiction, fantasy, horror, and more – has long been a space for writers to imagine alternatives to our world and our circumstances, whether in outer space, magical realms, or right here on Earth. TSAL, in partnership with the Plurality University Network, is thrilled to host a conversation with Mary Anne Mohanraj, Mimi Mondal, Salik Shah, and Iona Datt Sharma about what those new worlds and futures look like in their writing and work.”

Registration (free) and full schedule here:


The Illinois Arts Council has awarded the SLF a grant for $1700, which will be a big help as we continue to build out the Portolan Project.

Huge thanks to our Development Director, Cee Gee, who battled through Covid to get our application in on time. (The first time we were applying for an IAC grant, so it was a lot of new work for us, and she carried it.)

Thanks as well to our UIC spring interns, Darius Vinesar and Emmanuel Henderson, who helped us research and build out a database of grants we should be applying for.

Halloween for the SLF

I had an idea for the SLF for Halloween, and I just know I don’t really have time to organize it.  But if someone else wants to take the lead, or a few people, I could help.  The idea is a few hours (or several hours, or 24 hours) of Halloween ‘programming’.  We’d have a Zoom set up for it, and schedule:

– a couple of free writing workshops aimed at producing spooky fiction and/or poetry

– a few co-writing sessions, where we just meet and write together

– but mostly, several readings — I’m picturing booking writers in 30-minute slots, to do a reading and take any Q&A afterwards.  You might be reading to 1 person!  Or 100!  Hard to say.  But we’re record them all and put them up on our website / YouTube channel afterwards as well, and you could then link to them from your site

What do you think?  Worth doing?  I’m mostly thinking Halloween is going to be a little sad this year, and I’d like us to do something to help with the spooky cheer.  But this would also be a good test case for my whole ‘rolling 24-hour convention’ concept, in a really mild sort of way.

I think what I’d need to make this happen are:

– several people willing to take responsibility for hosting a 2-hr segment of the day (can be a combination of writing workshop / co-writing / readings)

– readers (ideally it’d be great to have at least a few big name people involved — who would you most like to hear reading a spooky story to you on Halloween?  I can ask!  but also newer pros and also fill in with some aspiring writers in a rapid-fire 3 minutes-each reading)

What do y’all think?

Surreal Virtual Convention Land

Today we’re in slightly surreal virtual convention land, as I am a program participant for two conventions at once! Worlds colliding!

My NASFiC programming starts today, and I’ll simultaneously be hosting events at Fiberworld. Well, not quite simultaneously — I’ll be ducking out of tonight’s fashion show to be on a NASFiC panel, and then coming back to finish hosting. Complicated!

(I wouldn’t normally try to do two conventions the same weekend, but these are both major events, so I hated to say no. Thanks to the organizers for working with my schedule to make it possible!)

Reminder, NASFiC is free to attend virtually this year, a great opportunity for writers and readers — register here:

Register for Fiberworld here:

NOTE: All times Eastern!


Friday 4:00PM, Room Scioto
Nuts & Bolts: Running a Non-Profit Lit Organization
“Join Mary Anne Mohanraj for a presentation + Q&A on non-profits and their role in the field. Mohanraj will talk about conventions, magazines, and the Speculative Literature Foundation ( — a nuts-and-bolts presentation for those interested in running such things.”

Friday 6:00 – 9:00 PM — Fiberworld fashion show
“The 2020 fashion show, with some of the year’s most amazing looks from all over the world. Our hosts Mary Anne Mohanraj, Nacinimod Deodee and Franklin Habit will live emcee the event.”

Friday 7:00 PM, Room Olentangy
Imaginary Book Club
Ada Palmer, Anne Gray, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Julia Rios “Panelists discuss amazing books they’ve read in the past year! The catch: none of those books exist.”

Saturday 12:00 PM, Room Olentangy
The Ever-Expanding Universe of New Space Opera
Aliette de Bodard, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Valerie Valdes
“While the genre has existed for ages, there are always new stories to tell, new planets to explore, and new characters to populate the universe with. Panelists discuss recent trends in space opera and how they reflect changing demographics of readers and writers, sociopolitical realities and concerns, and broader personal and cultural interests and narratives.”

Saturday 3:00 – 3:20 PM, Room Reading
Mary Anne Mohanraj
“I’ll read something! Not sure what yet!”

Sunday 12:00 PM, Room Scioto
Running SF/F Organizations
Cheryl Morgan, Eileen Gunn, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Sumana Harihareswara
“Creators, directors, publishers, and nonprofit leaders discuss the trials and victories of running magazines, publishing companies, and other SF/F businesses and organizations. They discuss logistics, strategy, budgets, and the effects of gender and race on their experiences as leaders. And they share what they wish they’d known ten years ago.”