Everyone attending Arisia'23 will have to be masked and fully vaccinated for COVID-19, including the bivalent booster, by January 3rd. For details, see the COVID statement page.

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Guests of Honor

Author Guest of Honor: Andrea Hairston
[Andrea Hairston]

Andrea Hairston is a novelist, playwright, and scholar. She grew up thinking she was going to be a physicist but ran away to the theatre after graduating from college. She is a lifelong science fiction fan, reading novels and comic books as a child and watching Twilight Zone and the original Star Trek with her family. Viewings were followed by rigorous discussions—perfect training for conventions! (She attended Star Trek conventions in the late 70’s.)

In 1978 Andrea founded Chrysalis Theatre with a rowdy group of artists in Northampton, MA. Chrysalis is a cross-cultural, multidisciplinary performance ensemble that draws on a range of cultural contexts to develop new music-theatre productions. Chrysalis worked to give voice to people who often do not have access to personal self-expression or public discourse. Chrysalis created over fifty original productions, frequently using performance to explore social issues. Many of her plays were sci-fi carnival jams. Productions toured from New England and New York to the Carolinas and Florida to the West Coast and Hawaii. Andrea has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council for her plays. Her play, Thunderbird at the Next World Theatre, appears in Geek Theater. She has translated plays by Michael Ende and Kaca Celan from German to English.

At Smith College, Andrea is the Louise Wolff Kahn 1931 Professor of Theatre and Africana Studies. She has taught playwriting and screenwriting and a course on speculative theatre and film: Shamans, Shapesifters and the Magic IF. She has given many talks and published numerous critical essays on Octavia Butler, speculative theatre and film, and popular culture. Lonely Stardust, a collection of critical essays and plays was published by Aqueduct Press. In 2011, Andrea received the International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts Distinguished Scholarship Award.

While a guest professor at the Universität Hamburg in Germany, Andrea decided to write science fiction and fantasy novels. She went to Clarion West in Seattle in 1999 and got that dream rolling. Aqueduct Press published her first three novels: Will Do Magic For Small Change, a New York Times Editor’s pick and finalist for the Mythopoeic, Lambda, and Otherwise Awards; Redwood and Wildfire, winner of the Otherwise and Carl Brandon Awards; Mindscape, winner of the Carl Brandon Award. “Griots of the Galaxy,” a short story, appears in So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Visions of the Future. A novelette, “Saltwater Railroad,” was published by Lightspeed Magazine. “Dumb House,” a short story appears in New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color. “Seven Generation Algorithm” is in Trouble the Waters: Tales from the Deep Blue edited by Sheree Renée Thomas, Pan Morigan, and Troy Wiggins. published her most recent novel, Master of Poisons, and it was on Kirkus Review’s Best SF and F list in 2020. has also reissued Redwood and Wildfire and Will Do Magic For Small Change. Her next novel, Archangels of Funk, will be out from in 2023.

Andrea bikes at night year-round, in rain or snow, heat or cold, meeting bears, multi-legged creatures of light and breath, and the occasional shooting star.


Artist Guest of Honor: Reiko Murakami

Reiko Murakami is a U.S. based concept artist and illustrator specializing in surreal fantasy art. With her expressive gesture drawings she focuses on capturing moments filled with unspeakable emotions. In 2013 she started a series called Resonance, a project that depicts complex emotional reactions through metaphorical representation of a figure. Her work has appeared on many science fiction media including:, Pyr, Subterranean Press, Tachyon Publications, DC comics, Wizards of the Coast and Lightpseed Magazine. Her work has been exhibited at Nucleus Portland, Helikon Gallery, Krabjab Studio, Light Grey Art Lab and published in Spectrum, Infected by Art, Exposé, 2D Artist, and many others.

[Reiko Murakami]
Fan Guest of Honor: Elsa Sjunneson
[Elsa Sjunneson]


Hugo, Aurora and BFA winning editor Elsa Sjunneson is a Deafblind hurricane in a vintage dress. Her nonfiction editorial work has appeared at Uncanny Magazine and Fireside Magazine. As an author, her work has appeared at CNN Opinion,, the Boston Globe, and the Nebula nominated Fate Accessibility Toolkit among numerous other venues. She also co-authored Marvel's Jessica Jones: Playing With Fire which was produced by Serial Box. In addition to editorial and authorial pursuits, she destroys structural ableism in her spare time. Her memoir "Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight To End Ableism" came out in 2021 and has been nominated for a Hugo awards. Elsa lives in Seattle, Washington with two cats. Want to know more? Go to!