Menu Close

Category: Spec Fic Lecture/Workshop

Speculative Fiction Lecture Series with Writing Workshop

Saturday, April 6, 2019
10-12:00 Workshop by YA author Megan Lynch

Feminism in Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writer’s Workshop: Learn about the evolution of feminism in genre fiction, begin to analyze stories through a feminist lens, and start to weave your perspective on gender issues into stories of your own. Bring a notebook and pen.

1:00 pm Lecture by Connecticut fantasy author Tochi Onyebuchi


“The untranslatable & deeply felt pain-joy of sincerely, ceaselessly loving something (Star Wars, Firefly, Blade Runner, so many more) that uses the aesthetics, the language, the empty shell of your culture while tossing aside the ppl (& your humanity alongside it).”  

Partners in Speculative Fiction and Parsec are sponsoring this daylong event.

Book signing with both authors immediately afterward.

All events take place in the Studio Room of the Cohon University Center at Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave. Free parking in the East Campus Garage, next to the University Center.  

Please join us for this free, public event. 

 Megan Lynch

Unregistered (Children of the Uprising, Volume 1)


Unafraid (Children of the Uprising, Volume 2)


Undone (Children of the Uprising, Volume 3)


Tochi Onyebuchi

Beasts Made of Night (Volume 1) (Hardcover)



Crown of Thunder (Volume 2) (Hardcover)


Writing workshop, book signing and lecture

Lara Elena Donnelly

Date: Saturday, September 8

1:00 – 3:00 pm:  Writing Workshop
3:00 – 4:00 pm:  Book Signing
4:00 – 5:00 pm:  Author Talk

Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

McConomy Auditorium
University Center

Campus map: Map
Free parking in the East Campus Garage next to the University Center.
(Push button for ticket and use it when you leave, no charge on weekends.)

The Partners in Speculative Fiction student club and Parsec will sponsor NY fantasy author Lara Elena Donnelly (Amberlough, Armistice), hosting a two-hour, genre writing workshop for the public from 1 – 3 pm, a book signing from 3 – 4 pm, then one more author talk from 4 – 5 pm. Amberlough is a 1920’s European burlesque spy novel, a politically charged thriller and a love story between two very different kinds of men. Ms. Donnelly is a graduate of Clarion and Alpha, the SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers and currently resides in Harlem, in a tower named after Ella Fitzgerald.

Speculative Fiction Lecture

With authors Jill Yeomans and Michael A. Arnzen


Facebook event page: Facebook Event Page

Date: Thursday, May 31, 2018
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Location: 7316 Wean Hall, CMU, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Free parking in the East Campus Garage

Sponsored by the CMU student club, Partners in Speculative Fiction

Free, no registration necessary, open to the public.

Michael A. Arnzen is a horror author and writer of the Bram Stoker Award-winning novel, Grave Markings. He won his second Bram Stoker Award for his newsletter and his third for his poetry collection, Freakcidents. He currently holds four Bram Stoker Awards and an International Horror Guild Award for his disturbing (and often funny) fiction, poetry and literary experiments. He has been teaching as a Professor of English in the MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University since 1999.

Jill Yeomans earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing at the University of Michigan, where she received the prestigious Arthur Miller Award for Fiction in the Avery Hopwood Awards. She was a children’s book editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers—working with authors including Stephenie Meyer, Jerry Pinkney, and Patrick Carman—before embarking on a writing career. She has ghostwritten nearly a dozen books for teens and adults and co-wrote the bestselling Witch & Wizard series with James Patterson. Under the pseudonym Devon Hughes, she wrote Unnaturals, a middle grade fantasy series, for HarperCollins. She also co-owns White Whale, an independent bookstore in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Speculative Fiction Lecture/Workshop

Lecture: CMU McConomy Auditorium, 10am-11am
Workshop: CMU Connan Room, 1:30-3:30pm, Carrie Ann DiRisio

Join us for the Parsec-CMU Speculative Fiction Lecture Series to be held in McConomy Auditorium in the University Center at CMU on Saturday, March 31st. The lecture by a national author will be 10 to 11 am with a book signing following. The 2-hour writing workshop will be held at 1:30 in the Connan Room and run by Carrie Ann DiRisio (BROODING YA HERO: Becoming a Main Character). These events are free and open to the public, including free parking in the East Campus Garage next door. The series is sponsored by the CMU student club Partners in Speculative Fiction (PSF) and Parsec.

Workshop: 1:30pm – 3:30pm

© 2017 Powder Blue Photography.

Carrie DiRisio runs multiple popular social media accounts including @BroodingYAHero, and is the social media intern for Serial Box Publishing. Her speaking engagements include talks at the Carnegie Library System of Pittsburgh, Western PA SCBWI workshops, and the upcoming YALSA national symposium. She proudly considers herself a Slytherin and aspiring Disney villainess, who also loves the color pink and making people laugh with funny GIFs. She resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she is currently pursuing her MBA in Digital Marketing.

Lecture: 10am – 11am

Jessica Cluess is a writer, a graduate of Northwestern University, and an unapologetic nerd. After college, she moved to Los Angeles, where she served coffee to the rich and famous while working on her first novel. When she’s not writing books, she’s an instructor at Writopia Lab, helping kids and teens tell their own stories. She is the author of the KINGDOM ON FIRE series, which features magic, monsters, and mayhem in Victorian London.

Parking: The East Campus Garage, at the corner of Beeler and Forbes Ave at CMU, is free on weekends.

For more info, contact: Joe Coluccio  /
If you would like to be on a mailing list for further announcements, please Contact Us.

To volunteer to help with the lecture series, please send Diane Turnshek a message using the Contact Us form.


February 12, 2017

Rex Jameson
Genre Writing Workshop: The Art of the Character Study
1:00 – 3:00 pm
In this workshop, we will discuss the creation of character studies and their incorporation into a storytelling narrative. Participants will learn the relationship between show and tell in character building, the importance of genre and perspective, and the art of moving plot forward while also developing interesting protagonists and antagonists.

Rex Jameson is the author of two novels Lucifer’s Odyssey and The Goblin Rebellion and half a dozen short stories. An avid history buff and an unabashed nerd with an appetite for science fiction and fantasy, he loves to create complex speculative fiction with layered characters. He earned a PhD in Computer Science at Vanderbilt University and researches distributed artificial intelligence in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University. Rex and his wife Jenny live in Pittsburgh where they enjoy hosting family and friends. Workshop will be in the Danforth Lounge, 2nd Floor of the Cohon University Center, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15213.

Mary Robinette Kowal
Photo by © 2012 Rod Searcey

Mary Robinette Kowal
The Intersection of Puppetry and Science Fiction
4:00 pm
These two arts have a surprising amount in common. In this talk, award-winning author and professional puppeteer Mary Robinette Kowal looks at how puppetry has shaped her creatively, and the tools that working writers can borrow from stage.

Mary is a three-time Hugo Award winning author of The Glamourist Histories fantasy novels. The talk will be in Room 1112, Doherty Hall, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15213; no registration, lecture is free.

Book Signing
Mary Robinette Kowal
and Rex Jameson
5:00 pm

Room 1112, Doherty Hall, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15213. Open to the public.


Fall 2015

Lecture Speaker: Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater writes Young Adult fiction novels and short fiction, notably the 2010 New York Times Bestseller Linger and the 2011 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book The Scorpio Races. She worked for some time as a portrait artist and is a race car and race car driving enthusiast. She was a competitive bagpipe player in college while studying at Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She lives in Shenandoah Valley in Virginia with her husband, two children, three dogs, and one cat.


Writing Workshop: Rachel Grinti

rachel grinti

Rachel Grinti writes books for children and teens and is a part-time youth services librarian. She thinks every story is better with dragons and every house is better with a Boston Terrier. Her most recent novel is Jala’s Mask (Pyr, 2014), co-written with Mike Grinti.

Summer 2015

Lecture Speakers: Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman

ellen_kushner-150x150Ellen Kushner began her career in publishing as a fiction editor in New York City, but left to write her first novel, Swordspoint, which has become a cult classic, hailed as the progenitor of the “mannerpunk” (or “Fantasy of Manners”) school of urban fantasy. Swordspoint was followed by Thomas the Rhymer (World Fantasy Award and the Mythopoeic Award), and two more novels in her “Riverside” series. Her short fiction appears regularly in various anthologies. Ellen Kushner’s fiction has been translated into numerous languages, including Japanese, French, Dutch, German, Spanish, Latvian and Finnish. She has narrated and co-produced “illuminated” versions of all three of the “Riverside” novels with SueMedia Productions for Neil Gaiman Presents at–and won a 2013 Audie Award for Swordspoint. Other recent projects include the urban fantasy anthology Welcome to Bordertown (co-edited with Holly Black), and The Witches of Lublin, a musical audio drama written with Elizabeth Schwartz & Yale Strom (Gabriel, Gracie and Wilbur Awards).

delia_sherman-150x150Delia Sherman was born in Tokyo, Japan, and brought up in New York City. Delia’s short fiction for adults has appeared most recently in the anthologies Naked City and Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells. Stories for teen readers have appeared in numerous anthologies, including Steampunk! and Under My Hat. “CATNYP,” a story of a magical New York Between, inspired her first novel for children, Changeling. The sequel, The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen, followed in 2009. The Freedom Maze, a time-travel fantasy set in Louisiana, was awarded the Norton Award, the Prometheus Award, and the Mythopoeic Award. Her recent collection of short fiction, Young Woman in a Garden, has appeared on PW’s list of Best SF of 2014. She has worked as a contributing editor for Tor Books and has co-edited the fantasy anthology The Horns of Elfland with Ellen Kushner and Donald G. Keller, as well as The Essential Bordertown with Terri Windling, as well as two anthologies of Interstitial fiction, Interfictions 1, with Theodora Goss and Interfictions 2, with Christopher Barzak. She is Executive Editor of Interfictions Online: A Journal of Interstitial Arts. (Photo by Austen Burroughs.)

Writing Workshop: Mary Turzillo and Geoffrey A. Landis

LandisMary Turzillo‘s 1999 Nebula-winner,”Mars Is no Place for Children” and her Analog novel An Old-Fashioned Martian Girl are recommended reading on the International Space Station. Her poetry collection Lovers & Killers won the 2013 Elgin Award. She been a finalist on the British Science Fiction Association, Pushcart, Stoker, Dwarf Stars and Rhysling ballots. Sweet Poison, her Dark Renaissance collaboration with Marge Simon, was a Stoker finalist and their collaboration, Sweet Poison, is on the 2015 Elgin ballot. She’s working on a novel, A Mars Cat and his Boy.

Geoff Landis is a writer, a scientist, and a poet. His short stories have been published in over 20 languages, and have won the Hugo and Nebula awards for best science fiction. He is also the author of the novel Mars Crossing and the story collection Impact Parameter (and Other Quantum Realities). As a scientist, he works for NASA on Mars exploration, and on developing advanced technologies for spaceflight. He was the 2014 recipient Robert A. Heinlein Award “for outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings that inspire the human exploration of space.” He lives in Berea Ohio with his wife, poet Mary Turzillo, and four cats.

Spring 2015

Writing Workshop: Joshua Bellin

Joshua Bellins-285x300Joshua David Bellin has been writing novels since the age of eight (though the first few were admittedly very, very short). A native of Pittsburgh, Josh received his B.A. from Wesleyan University and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He currently teaches at La Roche College. His debut novel, the YA science fiction adventure Survival Colony 9, was published last year, and will be followed soon by a sequel, Skaldi City. Books will be available for purchase after the workshop at the book signing event in Doherty Hall 2315 at 3:00 pm.

*Parsec, Inc. is a Pittsburgh non-profit, charitable organization seeking to promote literacy through the enjoyment of science fiction, fantasy and horror. A $10 tax-deductible donation to Parsec is suggested for workshop participants. No money will be collected in person at the door. If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation separately through PayPal, send it to, or you may mail a contribution to: Parsec, PO Box 3681, Pittsburgh PA 15230-3681.

Lecture: Kristin Cashore

(Photo by Laura Evans)
(Photo by Laura Evans)

Kristin Cashore grew up in the northeast Pennsylvania countryside. She received a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a master’s from the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College, and she has worked as a dog runner, a packer in a candy factory, an editorial assistant, a legal assistant, and a freelance writer. She has called many places home (including Sydney, New York City, Boston, London, Austin, and Jacksonville, Florida), and currently lives in the Boston area. Cashore wrote the New York Times bestsellers Graceling, Fire, and most recently, Bitterblue, all of which have been named ALA Best Books for Young Adults. The books are world travelers, published in over thirty languages.

Fall 2014

Lecture: Nalo Hopkinson

Nalo HopkinsonFans old and new attended Nalo Hopkinson’s inspiring lecture Keeping it (Un)Real at the second YA Author Lecture Series talk event held at Carnegie Mellon University on Saturday, November 15, 2014. After the talk there was a lively question and answer session, followed by a book signing. Nalo Hopkinson, born in Jamaica, has lived in Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana and for the past 35 years in Canada. She is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside.

Writing Workshop: Caroline Carlson

CarolineCarlsonBefore the lecture, those signed up for the workshop participated in Caroline Carlson’s writing workshop. She is the author of a series of funny and fantastical series of novels for young readers. Caroline holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Pittsburgh with her husband.