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Mythcon 53
Fantasies of the Middle Lands

Minneapolis, Minnesota
August 2-5, 2024

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Progress Report #1

Call for Papers

Download PDF of Call for Papers here


The idea of “middle-ness” can suggest stability—the center of an object is less likely to break than its edges. It can also suggest the opposite: something in a state of change can be said to be “in the middle”—neither one thing nor another. Mythcon 53, located in the middle of the continental U.S., welcomes papers exploring the concept of “middle-ness” as it is worked out in fantasy, science fiction, and related genres. Paper topics can cover a wide range of possibilities, including but not limited to the following: We also welcome papers on the work of either of our Guests of Honor, Brian Attebery and Eleanor Arnason. Because this conference is happening in conjunction with Diversicon, a multicultural, multimedia event dedicated to improving contacts among groups and individuals interested in speculative fiction, we are also interested in papers on their traditional Posthumous Guest, who this year is L. Frank Baum. And, as always, we welcome papers focusing on the work and interests of the Inklings (especially J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Williams), and other fantasy authors and themes. Papers from a variety of critical perspectives and disciplines are welcome.

Each paper will be given a one-hour slot to allow time for questions, but individual papers should be timed for oral presentation in 40 minutes maximum. Panels are also welcome, and both papers and panels may be presented virtually or in person. Paper abstracts of no more than 300 words, along with contact information, should be sent to the Papers Coordinator at by May 15, 2024. Please include your A/V requirements and the projected time needed for your presentation. If your programming interests are more in line with Diversicon’s focus (see, then please send your proposal to

All presenters must register for the full conference; please see the Mythcon 53 Registration page for information and rates.

Participants are encouraged to submit papers chosen for presentation at the conference to Mythlore, the refereed journal of the Mythopoeic Society. All papers should conform to the 9th edition of the MLA Style Manual.

Presenters who are full-time undergraduate or graduate students are encouraged to submit their completed conference papers in advance for consideration for the Alexei Kondratiev Student Paper Award. Please see for more information.


Eleanor Arnason is the award-winning author of dozens of science fiction and fantasy short stories and novels, including stories about a mythic “Big Mama,” and Icelandic troll stories collected in Hidden Folk. She is also a poet, and co-edited the collection Time Gum and Other Poems from the Minicon Poetry Readings. Eleanor’s novel A Woman of the Iron People not only won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award in 1992, but was the recipient of the first-ever James Tiptree Jr. Award. Her first novel, The Sword Smith, drew upon her reading of Icelandic myth as well as other mythic traditions.

Brian Attebery is a three-time winner of the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Myth and Fantasy Studies. He is the author of The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature from Irving to Le Guin (1980), Strategies of Fantasy (1992), Decoding Gender in Science Fiction (2002), Stories About Stories: Fantasy and the Remaking of Myth (2014), and most recently, Fantasy: How It Works (2012). He has also edited anthologies and the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts.

More complete information about our guests may be found on the Mythcon 53 main page.


The Mythopoeic Society is an international literary and educational organization devoted to the study, discussion, and enjoyment of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and mythopoeic literature. We believe the study of these writers can lead to greater understanding and appreciation of the literary, philosophical, and spiritual traditions which underlie their works, and can engender an interest in the study of myth, legend, and the genre of fantasy. Find out about the Society s activities at:

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