Organisers & Acknowledgements for 2017

GifCon was organised by the following people:

Laura Becherer Laura R. Becherer is a creative writing doctoral student at the University of Glasgow. She has a BA in English Literature (with a minor in German) from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and an MA in English-Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She writes and studies primarily fairy tales and women’s narratives and has published poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and essays, as well as the recipe book A Drink of One’s Own: Feminist Cocktails for Literary Ladies. Originally from Wisconsin, USA, she now lives in Glasgow with her partner and their two American cats, Lily and Spock, who sometimes edit her essays when she isn’t looking.

Laura co-authored GifCon’s CfP, liaised with the School of Arts to finalise the status of our event, and is running our “Fairy Tale Retellings” and “Creating a New World Without Exposition” workshops.

Helen Bleck Helen Bleck is a freelance editor and proofreader who has worked in publishing, museums and libraries. She has a Joint MA (Hons) in European History with German from Edinburgh University, and a PG diploma in Information Management and Librarianship from the University of Strathclyde. As a part-time student on Glasgow University’s Fantasy MLitt, she is indulging her reading-and-talking-about-books passion to her heart’s content. What captures Helen’s attention in Fantasy is the overall strength of story and experimentation with what ‘is’, from Rossetti to George R.R. Martin.

Helen was our co-liaison with Julie Bertagna and people from the publishing industry, sourced part of our merchandise and expertly helped with our proofreading.

Ruth Booth Ruth Booth is a writer and student on the MLitt in Fantasy at the University of Glasgow. She holds an MSc in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine from the University of Manchester, and has recently returned to academia as a part-time student to explore the relationship between science and fantastic literature. Her academic interests also include fantastic landscapes, gods and monsters, the solo and collaborative works of Neil Gaiman, time and interdimensional travel in science fiction and fantasy, and more. Formerly a freelance music journalist, she also writes speculative fiction and poetry under the name Ruth EJ Booth. She is a member of the Glasgow SF Writers’ Circle, and in 2015 she won the British Science Fiction Association’s Best Short Fiction Award. Her favourite use of the latter is pointing it at the cats and pretending to be Captain Tau of the SCS Pioneer.

Ruth managed the first round of the CfP distribution and maintained GifCon’s presence in the social media.

Thaleia Flessa Thaleia Flessa is a final year PhD student at the University of Glasgow’s School of Engineering at the Aerospace Sciences Research Division. She has an MEng in Mechanical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens in Greece. Her research is on the navigation and control of planetary exploration rovers. When she isn’t contemplating the movement of small (or not so small) rovers on distant planets, she enjoys reading fantasy and science fiction. What she finds most appealing is the capability of creating wondrous, imaginary worlds that tell the most complex of sagas. Her hobbies include tabletop and live action role-playing games, photography, music and playing with her imaginary pet demon.

Thaleia organised the event venues and catering, helped with the event programme and, most importantly, was our Mistress of Coin.

Chris Lynch Chris Lynch has an MA (Hons) in English Literature from the University of Glasgow, and is currently studying on the MLitt in Fantasy Literature, also at the University of Glasgow. In September 2016 he will begin a PhD in urban fantasy at the same university, specifically researching Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. Outwith academia, he also occasionally writes book reviews for The Skinny magazine as well as being co-editor of the creative writing journal From Glasgow to Saturn. Chris isn’t sure if he has a favourite book, but he knows that his favourite film is either Singin’ in the Rain or Tokyo Story. Given a chance, Chris will talk about the Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea series for weeks on end.

Chris co-authored GifCon’s CfP, liaised with Julie Bertagna and Maureen Farrell, sourced our merchandise and diligently minuted our meetings.

Lan Ma Lan Ma is a PhD student in the University of Glasgow. Her research focuses on the representation of discourse and power in dystopian YA works of the West and East. She received a BA in Sociology from the University of Fudan in China, and an MA in Children’s Literature and Literacies from the University of Glasgow. Before coming to the UK, she worked as an editor and struggled in the ocean of children’s and YA literature for 5 years in China. Lan has been a TRPG player and a big fan of Japanese comics for many years, dreaming to write some stories for the fantasy world built up by her and her friends in the future.

Lan liaised with Maureen Farrell and helped us with the merchandise, printing & promotion!

Dimitrios Xanthakis Dimitrios Xanthakis has degrees from the National Technical University of Athens, the University of Glasgow and the Heriot-Watt University. Years later he also became one of the Fantasy Canaries, the pioneering group of students of Glasgow University’s unique Fantasy MLitt. He has been playing computer and tabletop role-playing games for quite a long time. He is the creator of the worlds of Universe Online and Nocturion, used as the basis for two MMORPG games, and is collaborating in the development of Mark Rein-Hagen’s latest RPG project. He is an avid fantasy and science fiction reader, enjoying the myths and legends, the sinister plots and the heroic (or not-so-heroic) characters that not only shape up alternate realities but also constitute a significant, often memorable part of our imagination.

Dimitrios did the second round of CfP distribution, communicated with presenters, liaised with Stefan Ekman and Phil Harris, supported this website, set up the EventBrite registration, prepared the event programme, arranged the dinner and helped with the venues. He also designed the event booklet on a whim, inspired (fantastically enough) by the Book of Mystic Wisdom from Ultima IV.

We also want to thank the following people:

Matteo Barbagallo Matteo Barbagallo is a multilingual Italian PhD student at the University of Glasgow. He holds a BA in European Languages and Cultures from the University of Catania and an MA in Linguistic, Literary and Translation Studies from Sapienza University of Rome. When he doesn’t devour one book after the other, he focuses his energies on a doctoral research dealing with the famous fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire and its implications on the Fantasy genre.
Ieuan Ledger Ieuan Ledger has ostensibly been studying Fantasy Literature from the age of six, when a battered copy of The Hobbit found its way into his lap and he failed to put it down. After studying with Rob Maslen and gaining an MA (Hons) in English Literature, he returned to Glasgow University as one of the first students of the Fantasy MLitt, in his case paired with Creative Writing.
Liz Kaldi Liz Kaldi was born and raised in Athens, where she completed her studies in Literature and also holds an MLitt in Modernities from the University of Glasgow. She has studied Classical Piano and, after obtaining her diploma in 2015, she has performed in various concerts in the National Conservatoire of Athens. Her blog Delizcacy Inc. combines her passion about food, photography and music with her experience in Glasgow.
Antiopi Mastrogiannopoulou Antiopi Mastrogiannopoulou is an interior design student in the Glasgow school of Art and a chorus singer. She got her first Diploma in Conservation and Restoration of Art in Greece and was involved in several exhibitions. After experimenting with various art forms, she found painting to be her greatest passion. When not reading fantasy books or cooking her favourite Greek dishes, she enjoys handcrafting and reading about astronomy.

We also want to thank Alex Atkins, Fantasy MLitt student, who secured our website address and wrote much of its initial content, while making heroic efforts to find venues in the early stages of the project; Cameo Marlatt, a Canadian doctoral student and poet who is running our “Fantastic Beasts and How to Write them” workshop; and Kat Ward, who designed our cute dragon logo.

This event was partially funded by the University of Glasgow. Adeline Callander and Brooke Gordon helped us from the School of Arts and Rev Stuart Macquarrie and Joan Keenan helped us from the Interfaith Chapel.

Last but not least, we would like to thank Dr Rob Maslen, whose efforts in establishing the Fantasy MLitt opened new avenues for many of us – some of them not yet fully known!