Monday, May 22, 2023

Gen Con Writers' Symposium - Special Guests and Program release


Gen Con is the largest tabletop gaming convention in North America. In 2019, they welcomed over 65,000 unique visitors and offered over 19,000 events. By its nature, Gen Con attracts a large number of attendees who enjoy speculative fiction.

Gen Con 2023 will be held August 3-6 in Indianapolis, Indiana

The Gen Con Writers’ Symposium (GCWS) is a semi-independent event hosted by Gen Con and intended for both new and experienced writers of speculative fiction. All registration is handled through the Gen Con website. 

Over the past 28 years, the Writers’ Symposium has grown from a small set of panels over a day or two to one of the largest convention-hosted writing tracks in North America, offering hundreds of hours of programming from authors, editors, agents, and publishers to nearly 3000 unique visitors per year on average.  

We’re proud to announce that the Scalzi Family Foundation will be this year’s Gen Con Writers’ Symposium Legendary Sponsor! This sponsorship will enable the symposium to support more writers to attend, creating a more representative and inclusive event.

“The Scalzi Family Foundation is happy to be able to sponsor and support Gen Con Writers’ Symposium 2023,” says John Scalzi, “and to help it bring in more writers and voices to learn, to share, and to create a diverse and thriving field for all writers, and all readers. Let the writing flow!”

If you’ve already purchased your ticket to Gen Con, you can now select which events you’d like to attend. And wow – do we have an amazing program for you at the Gen Con Writers’ Symposium, with more than 150 events, including:

    • 70 Free Seminars
    • 60 Workshops
    • 20+ Signings
    • 65+ Presenters


We’re very proud to announce this year’s special guests (in alphabetical order):

John Jennings is a Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California at Riverside.  His work centers around intersectional narratives regarding identity politics and popular media. Jennings is co-editor of the Eisner Award-winning collection The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art and co-founder/organizer of The Schomburg Center’s Black Comic Book Festival in Harlem. Jennings is a former Nasir Jones Hip Hop Studies Fellow with the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. He is also a former mentor for the Sundance Institute’s New Frontier program. Jennings’ current comics projects include the horror series Box of Bones with Ayize Jama-Everett, the supernatural crime noir story Blue Hand Mojo, and the New York Times best-selling and award-winning graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s classic dark fantasy novel Kindred. He and Damian Duffy’s adaptation of Octavia Butler’s book Parable of the Sower has been nominated for the Eisner Award for Best Adaptation and The Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story. Jennings is also curator and founder of ABRAMS Megascope; a new line of graphic novels dedicated to primarily speculative stories entered around BIPOC people.

Latoya Peterson lives at the intersection of emerging technology and culture. She is cofounder and CXO at Glow Up Games, a game studio centering storytelling around black and brown joy. Glow Up Games recently launched their first title set in the world of HBO’s Insecure. Previously, she was the Deputy Editor, Digital Innovation for ESPN’s The Undefeated, an Editor-at-Large at Fusion, and the Senior Digital Producer for The Stream, a social media driven news show on Al Jazeera America. In 2018, she soft-launched AI in the Trap, a collaborative art project that explores the future of artificial intelligence and predictive policing through a hip-hop lens. In 2016, she produced a critically acclaimed YouTube series on Girl Gamers that was highlighted on Spotify. She is currently on the advisory board of the Data & Society Institute and the board of visitors for The John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships. She is also part of the selection committee for the Museum of Play’s World Video Game Hall of Fame.

Diana M. Pho (she/her) is a Hugo Award-winning editor with over 15 years of experience in publishing, most notably the Science Fiction Book Club and the Tor Publishing Group. Before landing her current job at Erewhon Books as Executive Editor, Diana served as Lead Creative Executive for Co-Productions & Partnerships at the podcast studio Realm Media. She has had the pleasure of working with household names like George R. R. Martin and the Robert Jordan estate for The Wheel of Time, as well as critically acclaimed writers such as P. Djèlí Clark, Bethany C. Morrow, Lara Elena Donnelly, Benjamin A. Wilgus, and Margaret Killjoy, among others. Books she has edited have won the Thriller Award, the Ditmar Award, the American Library Association’s Alex Award, the Nebula Award, and a Kirkus Best Book of the Year Selection. Diana herself is also the recipient of the Hugo Award for Best Editor, Long form, a two-time finalist for the Ignyte Award and a finalist for the Locus Award. More than anything else, she appreciates a good cup of tea.

Sheree Renée Thomas is a New York Times bestselling, two-time World Fantasy Award-winning author and editor. A 2023 Octavia E. Butler Award honoree and a 2022 Hugo Award Finalist, she is the author of Nine Bar Blues: Stories from an Ancient Future, a Locus, Ignyte, and World Fantasy Finalist, Marvel’s Black Panther:Panther’s Rage novel, and she collaborated with Janelle Monáe on “Timebox Altar(ed)” in The Memory Librarian and Other Stories of Dirty Computer. She co-edited Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction, a NAACP Image Award Nominee, and is the Editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Sheree lives in her hometown, Memphis, Tennessee, near a mighty river and a pyramid.


We’ve organized our events into different categories (tracks) to help you home in your selections. Note that some seminars are on the schedule more than once with different panelists each providing a unique experience.

  • A 2nd Floor Marriott hallway is dedicated for our events, conveniently connecting our seminars and workshops.
  • Signings are in the convention center Exhibit Hall (all free!)
  • The Meet-the-Pros event, where you can meet or shop from these amazing writers, is in the convention center.

GCWS Program: 

Check out our special guests, authors, game writers, poets, game designers, editors, publishers, RPG developers, and more!

More pre-filtered links below to help you sign up:

GCWS Tracks:

Interested in a topic? Sign up for all the events in the category! Prefiltered Gen Con Registration Links for each:

  • Career (managing the business of writing: e.g., publishing, publicizing, navigating change)
  • Classroom (direct instruction by topic experts; come prepared to participate hands-on)
  • Critique (opportunities to present your work for direct review)
  • Editing (perspectives on editing work, designed for writers)
  • Event (special sessions featuring individual writers, live entertainment, or interactive writing experiences)
  • Game Narrative (storytelling in video and tabletop games)
  • Genre (discussion on specific genres from experts in that genre)
  • Multimedia (crossing forms of storytelling)
  • Signings (all free, in the Exhibit Hall; swing by and say hello)
  • Tech (discussions on creative technologies)
  • Writing (nuts and bolts of the craft)
  • Worldbuilding (crafting the space for your words)

GCWS Panelists:

Interested in following one of the 65 authors/panelists? Search their names in the keyword field on the Gen Con site.


  • Space is limited, so make sure to select your preferred sessions as soon as possible.
  • Registration opened May 21st! First come, first serve!
  • See you in Indianapolis this August 3rd-6th!

Learn more by visiting:

See you in Indianapolis this August 3rd-6th!