Williams to Host Science Fiction Symposium

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: Noelle.Lemoine@williams.edu

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., September 27, 2013—Williams College will host a science fiction symposium on October 22, 23, and 24.  The David G. Hartwell ’63 Science Fiction Symposium will feature public readings and panel discussions with leading writers and thinkers, including Samuel R. Delany, Kim Stanley Robinson, and prominent science fiction editor and Williams alumnus David Hartwell, for whom the event is named.

The symposium brings together the best of the science fiction community in a setting similar to a science fiction convention. “Science fiction writers can appeal to a wider range of people than often attend a convention,” says Paul Park, lecturer in English and organizer of the event. “There is something magical that happens when a number of these writers get together, an aggregate consciousness that expands each other’s work. This symposium gives the community an opportunity to discover that.”

The symposium will include workshops on screenwriting, design direction, and fiction writing for Williams students, as well as a number of free, public events. They include:

Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 4 p.m. in Griffin 3: Readings by Terry Bisson, Samuel R. Delany, Paul Park, and Kit Reed.

Wednesday Oct. 23, at 1:10 p.m. in Griffin 6: Samuel R. Delany and critical theory faculty members from Williams will lead a directed discussion of a series of Delany’s stories, including “The Tale of Gorgik,” “The Tale of Old Venn,” (both from Tales of Nevèrÿon) and “The Game of Time and Pain” (from Return to Nevèrÿon).

Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the Paresky Center: “The Wave of the Future,” a panel discussion on climate change and Science Fiction, featuring Paolo Bacigalupi, Terry Bisson, Elizabeth Kolbert, Kim Stanley Robinson. The panel will be moderated by David Hartwell.

Thursday, Oct. 24, at 4 p.m. in Griffin 3: Readings by Paolo Bacigalupi, John Crowley, Kelly Link, Kim Stanley Robinson.

Symposium participants include:

Paolo Bacigalupi, whose first novel, The Windup Girl, won the Hugo, Nebula, and John W. Campbell awards in 2010. His 2010 novel, Ship Breaker, was a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Much of his work is set in an uncertain near-future when fossil fuels have run out. His third novel, The Drowned Cities, appeared in 2012.

Terry Bisson, author of the novels Talking Man, Voyage to the Red Planet, and Pirates of the Universe, and Nebula Award-winning short stories “Bears Discover Fire” and “macs.” “They’re Made Out of Meat” has been adapted for film, and other stories have been adapted for the stage. He has written screenplays, comic books, and graphic novels, as well as biographies of Nat Turner and Mumia Abu-Jamal.

John Crowley, a recipient of the American Academy and Institute of Letters Award for Literature and the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award. His critically acclaimed works include Little, Big; The Translator; Lord Byron’s Novel: The Evening Land; Four Freedoms; and the Ægypt novels. He teaches fiction writing and screenwriting at Yale.

Samuel R. Delany, author of Babel-17, The Einstein Intersection, Nova, the best-selling Dhalgren, and the Nevèrÿon tetralogy. He is a professor of English and creative writing at Temple University. The recipient of four Nebula and two Hugo awards, in 2002 he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

David Hartwell, Williams class of 1963, senior editor at Tor Books, publisher of the New York Review of Science Fiction, and anthologist of Year’s Best SF and Year’s Best Fantasy. Hartwell has won dozens of genre awards in many categories, including best editor, best anthology, and best magazine. He holds a Ph.D. from Columbia in Comparative Medieval Literature

Elizabeth Kolbert, staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change. She is a two-time National Magazine Award winner, recipient of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s magazine writing award, and a Heinz Award winner.

Kelly Link, author of Pretty Monsters and Her Magic for Beginners, has received three Nebula Awards, a Hugo Award, and a World Fantasy Award. Her works combine science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, and realism. Link and her husband manage Small Beer Press in Northampton, Mass.

Paul Park, author of The Starbridge Chronicles trilogy, Coelestis, Three Marys, The Gospel of Corax, A Princess of Roumania and its sequels, The Tourmaline, The White Tyger and The Hidden World. “The Persistence of Memory, or This Space for Sale” was nominated for a World Fantasy Award in 2010, the same year his novella “Ghosts Doing the Orange Dance” was nominated for a Nebula Award. He teaches writing at Williams.

Kit Reed, author of the novel Son of Destruction and collection The Story Until Now, which appeared earlier this year. What Wolves Know and Other Stories was a Shirley Jackson Award nominee in 2012, and two earlier collections were short-listed for the Tiptree Prize. A Guggenheim fellow and first American recipient of a literary grant from the Abraham Woursell Foundation, she is a resident writer at Wesleyan University.

Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the Mars Trilogy. One of Time Magazine’s “heroes of the environment,” he has won numerous literary prizes, including this year’s Nebula Award for his novel 2312. He is on the board of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute and was one of the artistic fellows sent to Antarctica by the National Science Foundation. His new novel, Shaman, has just been published.

The symposium is sponsored by the departments of English and theatre, Africana studies, American studies, environmental studies, the Class of 1960 Scholars Fund, comparative literature, the Lecture Committee, and the Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

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