ENMU hosting 33rd sci-fi lectureship

By Argen Duncan: Freedom New Mexico

Step into the world behind the other worlds of science fiction.

Today and Friday, Eastern New Mexico University is hosting the 33rd Annual Jack Williamson Lectureship, which features speeches and panel discussions by science fiction writers and editors.

Lectureship organizer Patrice Caldwell said writers are solitary people, but when they share their creativity, it heightens others’ creativity.

“I think anything people can do to enliven their own creativity and wake it up and shake it up makes them better people,” she said.

Jennifer Senn, Special Collections librarian and a lectureship fan, said the event promotes the arts, reading and literature.

Thursday, the public can attend author Nalo Hopkinson’s post-colonial presentation for the English Honors Club. The post-colonial motif critiques societies in which the dominant culture has lost much of its power.

“It’s just stunningly relevant for science fiction,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell, ENMU executive director of planning and analysis, said Hopkinson blends fantasy and science fiction in her writing, which also includes social commentary and Caribbean culture. Caldwell said Hopkinson particularly uses the post-colonial motif in her work.

Also on Thursday, writer Connie Willis is to conduct a young writers workshop, with no parents allowed, at Portales Public Library. The participants have already been selected.

The lectureship luncheon Friday is to feature Hopkinson’s keynote speech as well as book sales and signing by several authors. The deadline to reserve space has passed.

Caldwell hopes Hopkinson will discuss her methods and inspiration for writing.

“She’s a working writer and a very interesting person,” Caldwell said.

The public is invited to come and go during the panel discussions Friday in the Golden Library. The topics are “New Directions for Sci-Fi and Fantasy,” “Cross-Cultural Sci-Fi” and “Sci-Fi/Fantasy in Film and TV.”

“The panel discussions will be informal, very lively, very interactive with the audience,” Caldwell said.

She said the panelists have a lot to say.

“They can talk at the drop of a hat,” Caldwell said. “They don’t even need a hat.”

Senn called the panel discussions fantastic.

“I love hearing the authors’ opinions on different things, their works and other’s works,” she said.

Senn said at least four of this year’s participants are New Mexico authors.

The lectureship honors the late Jack Williamson, science fiction writer and ENMU professor emeritus of English.

33rd Annual Jack Williamson Lectureship

• What: Post-colonial culture presentation by author Nalo Hopkinson
• When: 5 p.m. Thursday
• Where: ENMU Jack Williamson Liberal Arts building, Room 112
• Cost: Free
• What: Panel discussions “New Directions for Sci-Fi and Fantasy,” “Cross-Cultural Sci-Fi” and “Sci-Fi/Fantasy in Film and TV”
• When: 3:30 p.m., 4:15 p.m. and 5:10 p.m., respectively, Friday
• Where: ENMU Golden Library Special Collections
• Cost: Free