GIFCon 2023 Keynotes and Reading Suggestions

Event registration can be found here
The Programme can be found here.
Abstracts and Speaker Bios can be found here
Workshops and Roundtables can be found here.

Workshop registration opens on May 3 at noon BST. 

This document is updated as needed. All times listed are BST, British Summer Time


Dr. Will Tattersdill

‘Breathe Deep, Seek Peace’: The Fantasy/Science Boundary, Especially As It Applies To Dinosaurs 

Will Tattersdill (he/him) is Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Fantasy at Glasgow University, and the author of Science, Fiction, and the Fin-de-Siècle Periodical Press (Cambridge UP, 2016). He has taught and written on alternate history, museology, and animals in Star Trek, and is currently editing H. G. Wells for the Oxford World’s Classics series. His first children’s choose-your-own-adventure book (co-written with Sarah Crofton) will be published by Usborne this July. 

In the 181 years since they were formally named, dinosaurs have become almost synonymous with genre fiction. To find one in a text is to understand that text as sci fi, fantasy, horror; so-called realist literature stays well away from them. This is curious because dinosaurs are real – ideas extracted from the Earth, impossible without the methods and institutions of modern science. In this lecture, I’ll talk about how dinosaurs can be used to trouble the notion that fantasy always escapes, presenting the boundary between science and the imagination as pliable and generative rather than staunch and forbidding. My focal text with be Dinotopia, James Gurney’s iconic 1992 vision of a world where humans and dinosaurs live in harmony. 

Suggested Reading List

Nghi Vo

‘A Fantastic Conversation’

Nghi Vo became a writer because while there were alternatives, none of them suited her as well as a lifetime of endless research combined with simply making things up.  

She is the author of Siren Queen, The Chosen and the Beautiful, and The Singing Hills Cycle, including The Empress of Salt and Fortune and When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain

Suggested Reading List (all authored by Nghi Vho!)

  • The Empress of Salt and Fortune (2020)
  • When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain (2020)
  • Into the Riverlands (2022)
  • The Chosen and the Beautiful (2021)
  • Siren Queen (2022)

Dr. Sami Schalk

‘Reimagining Bodyminds and Liberation in Pandemic Times’

Dr. Sami Schalk (she/her) is an associate professor of Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction (Duke 2018) and Black Disability Politics (Duke 2022). Dr. Schalk’s academic work focuses on race, disability, and gender in contemporary American literature and culture. She also writes for mainstream outlets, including a monthly column called “Pleasure Practices” in TONE Madison. Dr. Schalk identifies as a fat, Black, queer, disabled femme and a pleasure activist. 

Drawn from the book Bodyminds Reimagined, this talk will explore how science and speculative media can challenge our understandings of social issues and how these new understandings can expand our imaginative potential and be applied to real world work for social change. 

Suggested Reading List

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