My big trip for 2018 was Sirens Conference in Beaver Creek, Colorado. Hosted by Narrate Conferences, Sirens is a yearly gathering celebrating women and non-binary creators and characters in fantasy literature. Attendees range from writers, academics, readers, librarians, educators, and so many more and everyone’s voice is equally important. 2018 was Sirens’ 10th anniversary and this whole trip was absolutely amazing from start to finish.
My friend and I flew into Denver on Wednesday and took the Sirens Shuttle into the mountains. It’s an extremely beautiful drive as you go deeper and deeper into the Rockies especially with the dusting of snow at higher elevations. The Park Hyatt (where the conference is hosted) definitely leaned into the mountain aesthetic with lots of comfy/cozy chairs and fireplaces as well as antler lighting fixtures that screamed Shadow and Bone. Wednesday night was mostly acclimating to the altitude and wow did I drink a lot of water.
Thursday evening was the official start of Sirens and for 2018 the conference was reflecting on four themes from previous years: hauntings, revolutionaries, lovers, and women who work magic. The guests of honor were Violet Kupersmith, Kameron Hurley, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Leigh Bardugo. Friday and Saturday were packed with programming, panels, keynotes, and tons of fun. Honestly I was blown away by the discussions and presentations that I was able to attend and there were so many other choices available. Plus the food was amazing and even with my gluten allergy there were plenty of choices.
The best thing about this conference though was the community itself. It didn’t matter if you were a first time attendee (me) or had been coming for all ten years. The staff and volunteers go out of their way to make Sirens an exceptionally diverse and welcoming experience and it was so easy to meet people and engage with others. Part of this probably has to do with everyone’s love of books (fantasy especially) but it also speaks to the quality of the conference itself. From meal excursions to ice breakers at keynotes and the most wonderful bookstore that was built for me; Sirens felt like home, a rejuvenating spring and I’m so grateful I could attend.
I loved Sirens so much and I definitely plan on going back. Next year’s theme is Heroes featuring some amazing authors and academics. The unabashed passion of the Sirens community and the experience I had in Beaver Creek is something that I will hold close to my heart and I highly recommend checking this conference out. Maybe I’ll see you in 2019!
Been to any amazing conferences? Love the book community?
Let me know in the comments below!