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Running for SFWA VP

Rachel Swirsky, author photo
Hey y'all,

I think people already know that I'm running for SFWA vice president, but I thought I'd drop my platform here in case it's of interest.

Dear SFWA Members:

I am running for vice president of SFWA.

I support the work that the current administration has done toward strengthening SFWA’s foundation, and I hope to participate in the ongoing efforts to run the organization in an efficient, cooperative, business-like manner. I hope to continue their practices of acting from near-consensus and constructively resolving conflicts with an assumption of good faith.

I joined SFWA in 2008. From then until the membership committee was dissolved, I worked as a liaison between said committee and those writers and editors who had questions about short story eligibility.

I’ve worked as both a writer and an editor. I spent two years editing a reprint market, and recently co-edited an anthology from Prime Books. I’ve published more than fifty short stories since 2006, in venues including Subterranean Magazine, Tor.com, and Clarkesworld. My short fiction has been nominated for the Hugo Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Locus Award, the Sturgeon Award, and the Million Writers Award. In 2011, my novella “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window” won the Nebula Award.

As a board officer, I would come to the organization with certain interests and priorities. For instance:

1. As Scalzi says, many SFWA members “have come of age professionally using the Internet and its precursors.” This is true literally as well as professionally; writers from the millennial generation—of which I am on the oldest fringe—are taking part in the copyright conversation as content creators. In aggregate, SFWA represents a wealth of knowledge about navigating technology and copyright concerns. It’s important for the organization to have a conversation about those issues, and to make the collective’s knowledge available to all its members, allowing writers to make informed choices about how to handle copyright violations and the vulnerabilities (as well as the benefits) of new media.

2. As a writer who is (barely) from the millennial generation, I am in a good position to address the concerns of the up-and-coming writers who share my experiences but have chosen not to join SFWA. Recruitment is up, but it could always be higher. I’m positioned well to help increase recruits from that demographic.

3. I hold an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop where I was fortunate enough to teach creative writing for two years. I instructed students who have gone on to publish in semi-pro and professional venues and even join SFWA. As the founding editor of the audio reprint market, PodCastle, I had the opportunity to present stories to people who don’t often read in print format. I am particularly interested in fostering new writers and in engaging in community outreach. I’m excited by the prospect of doing this work through SFWA. In his candidacy statement, Scalzi outlines the ways in which the Nebulas and the Grand Master awards help establish the importance of genre in the broader American culture. I endorse these things, but I’m also interested in doing more work in the vein of the readings series that Mary Robinette Kowal has begun in Portland and Seattle. I’d like to see SFWA increase the hands-on interactions between members, new writers, and readers.

Nevertheless, while I do have particular areas of interest, I envision my role as vice president being primarily one of support. I’m excited to help the new president of SFWA carry out his or her goals as efficiently and competently as possible. SFWA is standing on a more–or-less solid foundation these days; it’s time to start building higher. I have some ideas for the imaginary parapets, but I’m happy to spend my term laying pragmatic and utilitarian—if not especially glamorous—bricks.

Thank you,

Rachel Swirsky

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