Noted feminist sci-fi author is subject of two-day symposium

The University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives’ recent acquisition of the Tiptree Papers — named for acclaimed author of feminist science fiction James Tiptree Jr., a pen name of Alice B. Sheldon — is the inspiration for a two-day symposium that will bring several famed science fiction authors to Eugene.

The James Tiptree Jr. Symposium will be held in Room 182 of the Lillis Business Complex with events Friday, Dec. 4 and Saturday, Dec. 5.

To kick off the event, author Julie Phillips will give a keynote presentation on her work as the author of “James Tiptree, Jr.: the Double Life of Alice Sheldon” at 2:30 p.m. Friday. Phillips’ biography was the winner of the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biograph. 

Two panel discussions will be held Saturday — one at 10 a.m. with several publishers of science fiction, and the other at 11 a.m. with remembrances of Tiptree by fellow authors Ursula K. Le Guin, Suzy McKee Charnas and David Gerrold — and an author’s book signing at 1 p.m. to wrap up the symposium.

For a full list of events, click here. An exhibit of photographs and materials from the Tiptree Papers will also be on display in Knight Library during the symposium.

Tiptree has been called one of the great feminist writers of all time for her work exploring themes of gender, self-image, alienation and sexuality that weren’t found in the genre of science fiction, much less in any other genre. Her award-winning stories include “Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death”; “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?”; “The Woman Who was Plugged In”; and “The Screwfly Solution.”

The Tiptree Papers join the UO Libraries’ significant cache of feminist science fiction manuscript collections, including the Ursula K. Le Guin Papers, the Joanna Russ Papers, the Sally Miller Gearhart Papers and the Suzette Haden Elgin Papers.

The symposium is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is requested.

The Tiptree symposium is cosponsored by University of Oregon Libraries, the Oregon Humanities Center, College Scholars Program, Folklore Program, Department of English, Department of Anthropology and the Center for the Study of Women in Society.

— By Nathaniel Brown, Public Affairs Communications