Contribute to Readercon's Program
Thanks for your interest in Readercon. We're now accepting program participant recommendations and program item proposals for Readercon 33 in 2024.
To recommend yourself or someone else as a Readercon program participant, or to propose a program item of any kind, please fill out this form. See below to learn more about the recommendation and proposal process and what Readercon looks for in program participants and program items.
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Who can be a program participant?
Anyone can self-recommend, and anyone can recommend anyone else. You do not need to work in publishing, be an author, or have particular credentials to be on Readercon's program. You just need to be full of interesting thinky thoughts about books and reading, and/or have expertise in a field that's of interest to Readercon's attendees—which is just about anything. We have shifted from "application" to "recommendation" language to make it clear that this isn't a competition and we're not looking for people to impress us. What we're looking for are people to get excited about books with us.
Readercon is committed to diversity in its program; we believe a variety of voices makes for better conversation. Please make wide-ranging recommendations of people you'd love to see at Readercon. We strongly encourage members of marginalized communities to recommend themselves; in the wise words of R.B. Lemberg, don't self-reject.
Please recommend yourself even if you have logistical concerns about getting to Readercon. We set aside funds every year to help program participants overcome financial barriers to attending, and assist international travelers in obtaining visas.
Program participants receive free membership to the convention and are not otherwise compensated.
Anyone who has already been invited to be a Readercon program participant doesn't need to be recommended again.
Fill out the form once for each recommendation. You may recommend yourself once per year, and may recommend as many other people as you like. All self-recommendations will receive responses by January 31.
What kinds of program items can I propose for Readercon?
Readercon is a convention about reading imaginative literature. Every year we receive many, many program item suggestions related to the craft and business of writing, but writing isn't a focus of our program. We would love to see more program item suggestions related to reading—for example, discussions of critical analysis, rare-book collecting, librarianship, or reading aloud—as well as items related to science, history, other art forms, and popular culture. Our attendees' interests are wide-ranging, and our program is too.
Anyone is welcome to submit any number of ideas for panels or activities.
- A panel consists of five or six people having a moderated conversation, usually with some time for audience questions at the beginning or end. Your panel proposal can be anything from a couple of words (the shortest we've ever received was just the word "xenogamy", but that was enough to get us thinking) to a full-fledged description ready to print in the program guide. We also welcome links to interesting essays, blog posts, tweet threads, and news articles that might inspire program items. If you submit a link, please describe it and tell us what interested you about it.
- An activity is a brain break from the intellectual intensity of Readercon. We welcome suggestions for kid-focused and all-ages activities. The activity should take one to two hours; not be excessively loud, excessively messy, or X-rated; not require specialized equipment; be accessible to people with a wide range of abilities and experience; and fit in one room that holds a maximum of 60 people. Be creative!
If your idea leads in some fashion to a Readercon program item, we will choose the participants we think are best suited for it. For example, if you propose a panel on exoplanets, we will populate the panel with experienced astronomers; if you suggest low-intensity yoga for bookworms, we will find a professional yoga instructor to lead it.
Fill out the form once for each proposal, and propose as many items as you like. Please note that we do not respond directly to panel or activity proposals (but we greatly appreciate them).
Invited program participants are welcome to submit up to three proposals per year for solo and specialized program items.
- Talks and talk/discussions run for one hour. If you're giving a solo talk, we request that you leave some amount of time for a Q&A at the end. You can also choose to make it a talk/discussion, a hybrid that is (as far as we know) unique to Readercon, in which your 15-minute talk is followed by a panel discussion before audience questions are invited.
- A workshop is instructional, led by one or more teachers. Readercon does not do advance sign-up for workshops, so if you propose one, you'll need to be prepared to teach it to any number of people, from just a handful to as many people as can fit in the room. You can request that the workshop take place in a larger or smaller space if you would like some control over the maximum possible number of participants.
- A discussion is a group conversation with a facilitator. There is no audience/panel divide; anyone who comes can contribute to the conversation. We suggest that the facilitator start with a brief rundown of the topic and some basic rules for civil discussion before opening the floor.
- A performance can be a solo or group performance, and can be performed with or without audience participation. Past performances at Readercon include collaborative on-the-fly story creation and illustration, radio dramas, game shows, and readings with live musical accompaniment. Nothing X-rated, please.
- A group reading is a series of very brief readings by members of a group such as a writing collective or contributors to an anthology. Each group reading is allotted one hour; how you divide that among the participants is up to you, but please keep it in mind when deciding how many people to include in the group. By proposing a group reading, you are agreeing to be the point of contact for the group, provide us with a complete list of the readers, and ensure your readers show up at the reading.
You don't need to submit a proposal for a solo reading, autograph session, or kaffeeklatsch; that's handled separately during our program sign-up process.
Fill out the form once for each proposal. All proposals from program participants will receive responses by March 31.