Guests of Honor

Martha Wells

Martha Wells has been a science fiction and fantasy author since her first fantasy novel was published in 1993. Her New York Times Bestselling series The Murderbot Diaries has won Nebula Awards, Hugo Awards, Locus Awards, and an American Library Association/YALSA Alex Award. Her work also includes The Books of the Raksura series, the Ile-Rien series, and several other fantasy novels, most recently Witch King (Tordotcom, 2023), as well as short fiction, non-fiction, and media tie-ins for Star Wars, Stargate: Atlantis, and Magic: The Gathering. She is a member of the Texas Literary Hall of Fame, and her work has also appeared on the Philip K. Dick Award ballot, the British Science Fiction Association Award ballot, the USA Today Bestseller List, the Sunday Times Bestseller List, and has been translated into twenty-five languages.

Martha Wells, a white woman with shoulder-length wavy dark blonde hair and waring a dark top, looks at the camera with a slight smile.
Photo by and © Lisa Blaschke

Donato Giancola

Donato’s passion for narrative art has seen his work grace the covers of over three hundred science fiction and fantasy novels, placed in hundreds of private and public collections, and landed numerous peer honors including three Hugo Awards, two Gold and six Silver Medals from Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, numerous awards from the Art Renewal Center, the prestigious Hamilton King Award from the Society of Illustrators, and recognition from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists with twenty-three Chesley Awards.

Donato recognizes the significant cultural role played by art and makes personal efforts to contribute to the expansion and appreciation of genre works; to that end he serves as an instructor at the SmArt School, the Illustration Master Class, and lectures extensively at conventions, events, and universities worldwide. His current projects include themedworks for exhibition at fine art galleries, ongoing commercial assignments, book projects for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, and explorations on his developing themes of empathetic robots and astronauts.

Donato Giancola, a man with short-cut dark hair and goatee, wearing a grey t-shirt and jeans, sitting in the midst of an artist's studio, with finished and in-progress paintings and paint supplies around him.
Photo by and © Greg Preston.

Bridget Landry

Bridget Landry was educated as a chemist/planetary scientist, and works as an engineer. She has worked in robotic spacecraft operations for 35 years, including the Hubble Space Telescope, Mars Pathfinder, the Cassini mission to Saturn, and both the Curiosity and Perseverance rovers. Wearing her technical hat, Bridget has been on science panels at Worldcons as well as local and regional conventions. However, Ms. Landry has been attending and working cons since the age of 13. She is a master-level costumer and has won masquerade awards from the local to the Worldcon level.

Bridget Landry, a white woman with blonde medium-length hair, standing in at ease stance and wearing a blue original series Star Trek sciences division women's uniform.

Alexander James Adams

In March 2007, unleashed from the land of Fae, came a minstrel named Alexander James Adams. The gender-opposite twin of Heather Alexander, he has inherited and continued her music and magic for all old friends of the Heatherlands, while earning new ones of his own. With fiery fiddle, compelling voice, and the same enchanting magic, Alexander inspires his audiences to make their dreams come true and look for the wonders within. From tender love songs to rowdy brawls, gentle Irish airs to rockin’ reels, the Faerie Tale Minstrel brings ancient legends and magical mythology to the mortal world in true bardic style, proving once and for all the magic never dies! Find him at Alexander James Adams.

Alexander James Adams, a white man with long brown and grey hair in a ponytail, wearing a black sleeveless shirt and cowboy hat, plays a guitar and sings into a microphone.


K. Tempest Bradford

K. Tempest Bradford is an award-winning teacher, media critic, and author of fantasy and science fiction steeped in Black Girl Magic. Her debut middle grade novel, Ruby Finley vs. the Interstellar Invasion, won the 2022 Andre Norton Nebula Award and is nominated for an IGNYTE Award.

Tempest’s short fiction has appeared in multiple anthologies and magazines, including New Suns 2 and Strange Horizons. Her media criticism and essays on diversity and representation have been published at NPR, io9, Ebony Magazine, and more.

She teaches classes and gives talks on representation and creating diverse narratives for Writing the Other and has been invited to teach at Clarion West, LitReactor, universities, and entertainment companies.

She’s the recipient of the 2023 LOCUS Special Award for Developing Diversity in Genre Communities, the 2020 LOCUS Special Award for Inclusivity and Representation Education, and the 2022 Lemonade Award. She’s been nominated for FIYAH Magazine’s IGNYTE Community and Ember Awards.

K Tempest Bradford, a Black woman with curly black hair, wearing glasses, black lipstick, and a red and orange top, smiles at the camera.
Photo by and © Jason Hill

Nisi Shawl

Nisi Shawl (they/them) is the multiple award-winning author, co-author, and editor of more than a dozen books of speculative fiction and related nonfiction, including the standard text on diverse representation, Writing the Other: A Practical Approach. Writing the Other forms the basis for the class series of the same name, which they teach and administer with K. Tempest Bradford. The Writing the Other workshops and webinars cover respectful representation of characters of differing demographics, culturally aware worldbuilding, and diverse narrative voices. Shawl’s best-known fiction is the Nebula Award finalist novel Everfair. Kinning, to be published in January 2024, is an Everfair sequel. Recent books include the 2022 story collection Our Fruiting Bodies and the 2023 middle grade historical fantasy novel Speculation. Editing credits include the 2023 anthology New Suns 2, sequel to the acclaimed original New Suns. They’ve spoken at Duke University, Spelman College, Sarah Lawrence College, and many other institutions. For over two decades they have served on the boards of the Clarion West Writers Workshop and the Carl Brandon Society, a nonprofit supporting the presence of people of color in fantastic literature.

Nisi Shawl, a Black woman with grey hair, wearing glasses, a flowered hairband and a green top, smiling.