This edition of the C2E2 Spotlight highlights the description and panelist bios for the geek diversity and inclusion panel. I feel incredibly lucky to be working with these panelists, who have all done fantastic work. Also, Geek Bar Chicago CEO/President, David Zoltan, will be introducing our panel. Ideally C2E2 has given us a larger room than last year, but considering the popularity of these topics, it may be advisable to plan on getting in line a wee bit early.
UPDATE 4/24/14: I’m thrilled to announce that comics writer Gail Simone (Birds of Prey, Batgirl, Secret Six, Deadpool) will be joining us as a panelist! I’ve been a fan of Gail’s work for years, particularly her outspokenness on how women are treated in comics – as characters and creators – and the need for better diversity and representation in geek communities. I’m excited to hear what she’ll contribute to our conversation. Thanks for joining us, Gail!
Opening the Clubhouse Doors: Creating More Inclusive Geek Communities
Date: Friday, April 25
As visibility of fans, creators and organizers from marginalized communities increases, geek communities are having more discussions about diversity, tokenism and re-examining just how “welcoming” geek spaces are. This moderated panel will discuss what “diversity” in geek culture means, what it looks like, and why it’s necessary. Panel sponsored in part by the Chicago Nerd Social Club.
Joining me on this panel:
Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of Shades of Milk and Honey (Tor, 2010) and Glamour in Glass (Tor, 2012). In 2008 she received the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and in 2011, her short story “For Want of a Nail” won the Hugo Award for Short Story. Her work has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards. Her stories appear in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, and several Year’s Best anthologies. Mary, a professional puppeteer, also performs as a voice actor, recording fiction for authors such as Elizabeth Bear, Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi. She lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters. Visit www.maryrobinettekowal.com
Mary Anne Mohanraj is author of Bodies in Motion (HarperCollins) and ten other titles. Mohanraj founded the World Fantasy Award-winning and Hugo-nominated magazine, Strange Horizons. She was Guest of Honor at WisCon 2010, received a Breaking Barriers Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women for her work in Asian American arts organizing, and won an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose. Mohanraj has taught at the Clarion SF/F workshop, and is now Clinical Assistant Professor of fiction and literature and Associate Director of Asian and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She serves as Executive Director of both DesiLit (www.desilit.org) and the Speculative Literature Foundation (www.speclit.org). Recent publications includeWithout a Map, Aqueduct Press. She lives in a creaky old Victorian in Oak Park, just outside Chicago, withher partner, Kevin, two small children, and a sweet dog.
Karlyn Meyer is an attorney who uses her vacation days to work at PAX and game development conferences. She studied intellectual property and the law’s application to gender and sexuality, receiving national publication for her scholarship regarding video games and copyright law. You may have seen her on the internet doing a rad cosplay of Maurice Moss from the IT Crowd. In addition to being an avid gamer, she is raising a tiny human who will join her in the Chicago Nerd Social Club. Meyer previously appeared on the “Exorcising the Spectre of the Fake Geek Girl” panel at C2E2 2013, as well as “Unmasking the Fake Geek Girl: Confronting gate-keeping and sexism in geek culture” at the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at the University of Chicago. Follow her on Twitter: @karlyn_darlin
Jeff Smith is the co-founder of the Chicago Nerd Social Club and currently serves as the group’s president. Jeff counts comic books, role-playing games, programming and photography among his nerd badges. Jeff is also the host of the CNSC Podcast. When he’s not running CNSC events you can find him on Twitter as @DarkAndNerdy. If the stars align, you may even see an occasional post at AllThingsDork.com. Jeff will serve as moderator for this panel.
Gail Simone first caught the attention of the comics world on the world wide web, where her popular humor column “You’ll All Be Sorry!” was featured on Comic Book Resources. It wasn’t long before she was tapped to write The Simpsons for Bongo Comics, which led to working in the mainstream for Marvel Comics as the writer on Deadpool.
Following her Marvel work, Simone began working for DC, where she is most known for her much-beloved run on BIRDS OF PREY. She has continued to write for DC and its many imprints on titles that include ROSE AND THORN, ACTION COMICS, TEEN TITANS, THE LEGION, VILLAINS UNITED, JLA CLASSIFIED, THE ALL-NEW ATOM, GEN13 and WELCOME TO TRANQUILITY. Her most recent projects include BATGIRL and THE MOVEMENT. Follow her on Twitter @GailSimone
Scott Snyder has written comics for both DC and Marvel, including the bestselling series AMERICAN VAMPIRE, BATMAN and SWAMP THING, and is the author of the story collection Voodoo Heart (The Dial Press). He teaches writing at Sarah Lawrence College, NYC and Columbia University. He lives on Long Island with his wife Jeanie, and his sons Jack and Emmett. He is a dedicated and un-ironic fan of Elvis Presley. Follow him on Twitter at @Ssnyder1835.