by Irvin K


MISTI-Con, an immersive Harry Potter convention happening in New Hampshire this month, just announced their keynote speakers.

MISTI-Con, a bi-yearly Harry Potter con, has always placed emphasis on inclusivity and social justice. This year, with a theme centered on “coming home” to Hogwarts for the 20-year anniversary of Sorcerer’s Stone, they are doubling down on that emphasis. To that end, the Keynote will be “Journeys of Women in Harry Potter: Women Share Their Story of Moving Through and Beyond Fandom.”

The keynote will “explore the journeys of women in the fandom, we will explore both the positive elements and the challenges, through the perspectives of three women who have had unique experiences.” The three women in question are Connie Neal, Julie Schwartz, and Melissa Anelli.

Connie Neal, who has written several books about the intersection of Christianity and Harry Potter fandom, will discuss her role as a woman challenging the religious establishment’s attack on the Harry Potter books.

Julie Schwartz, a long-time fan who explored her gender in the fandom, will discuss inclusivity and diversity in fandom.

Melissa Anelli is the Featured Guest, and is known throughout the Potter fandom as webmistress of The Leaky Cauldron, author of Harry, A History, and CEO of Mischief Management (which runs conventions such as LeakyCon). She will discuss her unique role in the fandom, which included being a creative consultant for the launch of Pottermore.

It seems like this will be a keynote of great interest to many of the congoers, of whom three quarters are female. Tickets are on sale now for $35, and include a buffet lunch. Registrations for the con itself are also still on sale, for $175. MISTI-Con takes place in Laconia, NH, on May 18th through 22nd. The Keynote will be at noon on Friday, May 19.

The organizers had the following to say: “As we celebrate ‘Coming Home’ it is important to pay particular attention to how we got here and where we are going. As our fandom was established by the extraordinary work of one woman, and in light of the challenges still facing us all, we believe is more important than ever to spotlight the stories of women who have faced those challenges.

Regardless of field, women face roadblocks to success, receive reduced credit for accomplishments, and have fewer opportunities to express themselves and this is also true inside of fandom. Yet, fandom also allows for great opportunities and has encouraged women to create and engage in wonderfully meaningful ways. This year we decided that it would be interesting to explore the journeys of women in the fandom, we will explore both the positive elements and the challenges, through the perspectives of three women who have had unique experiences.

From personal experience, we can attest that MISTI-Con is one of the best Harry Potter conventions around. In addition to the keynote, there will be a 12-band Wizard Rock Festival (also open to non-congoers for $15), a Bewitching Bazaar, a Lip Sync Battle, and over 100 hours of formal programming! Shameless plug for my own programming: “The Art of Wizard Dance” (Saturday 10am), “Severus… Please…: The Dumbledore/Snape Relationship” (Sunday 3 p.m.), and “Win the Bloody Baron’s Galleons” (Sunday 12 p.m.). I hope to see you there!

For more information about the convention, visit their site, here.

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