Readercon 31 Program

August 13–15, 2021 (See our latest announcement for more.)
Hosted online!

This year's program

It's here! Download the complete Readercon program in any of several formats:

If you have any difficulty accessing Readercon program information through these files, please email program@readercon.org for assistance.

All times are in Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4).

Programming for Readercon 31 will take place virtually. Here's how that will work:

  • Register to get a code for access to the Readercon 31 Discord server, a text-based virtual community space.
  • In Discord, there are channels (chat rooms) corresponding to a hotel's function rooms. Just as you would go to a function room to watch a panel or talk and ask questions, you can go into the appropriate program channel to get a link for viewing a panel or talk and to ask questions.
  • Panels will take place live over Zoom, broadcast via YouTube, and panelists will answer questions from Discord as part of this live presentation. Talks and readings are pre-recorded, broadcast via YouTube at their scheduled times so attendees can watch them together, and presenters will join the Discord chat conversation and take questions there after the broadcast is done.

Recordings of all program items will be available exclusively to Readercon 31 members for six months following the convention. After that date, most program items will be made public, but some may no longer be available, depending on permissions granted by program participants. 

Please do not download, share, or rebroadcast Readercon 31 program items. Please do not share unlisted links outside of the Readercon 31 Discord server.

Unless otherwise noted, all items fill a 60-minute program slot, except for solo readings, which fill a 30-minute slot. All items begin five minutes after and end five minutes before the times given.

All pre-recorded items will have edited captions. All live items will have automated captions.

There are many other spaces to enjoy in Discord, including spaces for general chat, fan tables where you can learn about other groups and events, a virtual version of Readercon's beloved Bookshop, kaffeeklatsches, and even launch parties. We also have Help Desk and Safety channels if you need assistance, and a Discord 101 channel for requesting and offering technical support. Register now to join the server and explore!

Contributing to Readercon's program

We're accepting panelist applications and program suggestions for Readercon 32. Learn more about contributing to Readercon and help us make the next convention even more amazing!

What's Readercon like?

Readercon covers the whole of imaginative literature (or "speculative fiction"): science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the unclassifiable. We have a special emphasis on the most literary, ambitious, and cutting-edge work in the field, and embrace works for children, teens, and adults. Our regular program participants include writers, editors, publishers, critics, and other experts from across America and around the world.

In order to adapt to the global pandemic, this year's Readercon will be a little different than in past years. Instead of gathering in person at a hotel, we'll be gathering online through Discord, an instant messaging and digital distribution platform. Participants and registered attendees will be granted access to the Readercon 31 Discord server, where you can talk to one another, watch and discuss panels and talks, attend kaffeeklatsches*, swing by virtual fan tables, and even attend a launch party or two. Panels and talks will include Q&As, with the participants responding to questions you ask in Discord.

Most years, Readercon weekend runs from Thursday evening to Sunday afternoon Eastern time, and boasts a massive selection of programming and activity tracks to choose from. (Readercon is all about the program. It's not just the heart of the convention, but also the lungs, liver, and kidneys.) This year, we're being a little more reserved: We're running from Friday evening through Sunday evening, and we’ll have two tracks of panels, one of presentations, and one of readings, along with kaffeeklatsches and other social opportunities. In acknowledgement of the fact that attending from home means many people will still be following their families' daily schedules, we'll be starting mid-morning and breaking for lunch and dinner. 

As is traditional, we’ll pause everything to showcase the Guest of Honor interviews on Saturday afternoon and enjoy Saturday evening entertainment. And to mirror Saturday and end the weekend on a high note, this year's Shirley Jackson Awards will conclude Sunday's schedule.

* A kaffeeklatsch is a low-key, wide-ranging conversation hosted by one or two program participants for up to 12 fans. It gives you an opportunity to interact directly with writers, editors, and other estimable personages you admire. Spaces are limited, so sign up early in the weekend.

How can I participate?

Recommend yourself or someone else as a program participant! 

We are especially eager to recruit scientists, historians, librarians, artists and musicians, and others who work in fields of interest to genre fiction writers and readers. Readercon is committed to diversity in its program, and we strongly encourage members of minority and marginalized groups to apply.

Suggest a program item! 

We welcome anything from vague concepts to full-fledged proposals complete with suggested panelists. Be adventuresome and creative; remember that Readercon's program starts where other conventions leave off. 

Submit a proposal!

If you've been invited to be a program participant at the upcoming Readercon, we encourage you to submit a proposal to present a solo talk, performance, discussion, workshop, or group reading. We'd love to showcase you and your expertise.

To do any or all of those things, visit our page on contributing to Readercon's program.

Philosophy

To quote Theodore Sturgeon, Readercon likes to ask the next question. Imagine going to a typical convention, attending a panel, and having an interesting spin-off conversation in the hallway outside afterwards: That moment of extrapolation and exploration is what we take as our starting point. Our program items are usually quite focused and we encourage panelists and attendees to grapple with tricky ideas and dig deep into the genre's history. We don't shy away from the political, and the past several years have seen an emphasis on discussing topics relevant to minority and marginalized members of speculative fiction writing and reading communities. There are some items about the craft of writing, but we are readers first and foremost, and much of our program is devoted to looking at how we choose, approach, and interact with the things we read.

Recordings

At the virtual Readercon, all program items will run privately on our YouTube channel. The links to view them will only be distributed in Discord and through a version of the program schedule accessible only to registered program participants (with the exception of the Shirley Jackson Awards, which will be broadcast to the world) during the convention and for the six months following. After that, most items will be made public.

When Readercon takes place in a physical space, we record audio and video of many program items. We’re in the process of making those recordings accessible to the public as part of our educational mandate. Anyone who would like to individually record a program item and make that recording public is welcome to do so with the prior consent of the program participants. Attendees should be aware that audience contributions are often captured on these recordings.

For recordings of past Readercon program items, see our media page and our YouTube channel.