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October 15th Events

Listed are the Live Events that took place during the day on October 15, 2020. 

Scroll down to see information on each of the events and to see recordings if available.


The Magic of Black Arts in Lovecraft Country

10:00-11:00 AM

Monique L. Jones

HBO's Lovecraft Country is the latest television series to redefine how Black Americanness is shown on screen, and a lot of its power comes from the Black art it draws from, such as Gordon Parks' series of photographs depicting segregated life in Life Magazine, or James Baldwin's theorizing on the Black plight in America. 


This talk by Birmingham-based author and blogger Monique L. Jones focused on how Black Americans have used the arts to make their voices heard and issues known even when "mainstream" avenues turned away. Jones included mentions of her 2019 publication The Book of Awesome Black Americans, since Gordon Parks is one of the Black artists featured. She also talked about other Black artists mentioned in the book who pushed America forward. 


Jones included her own part of this "Black art" conversation since she helped push Magic: The Gathering forward by assisting to create the card game's first Black female "Planeswalker" (intergalactic time-traveler) character. 

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Putting Magic in Your Mystery

Keynote Presentation

11:30 AM- 12:30 PM

T.K. Thorne

What happens when you mix a little magic with your murder? T.K. Thorne, retired police captain and award-winning author, shared her life adventures; how a toothbrush and three little words resulted in a trilogy about a Birmingham policewoman who discovers she’s a witch; and tips on how to successfully use magic in your stories. 


More details on Thorne’s Birmingham-based detective / magic novel House of Rose are available on the Pioneer Con booklist page.


“Rookie patrol officer Rose Brighton chases a suspect down an alley. Without warning, her vision wavers, and the lone suspect appears to divide into two men--the real suspect, frozen in time, and a shadow version with a gun. Confused by what she's just seen, but with no time to second guess it's meaning, Rose shoots the real suspect in the back.”



12:30-1:30 PM

Hosted by David McRae

Mirror, mirror on the wall – who’s the cleverest of them all? Participants tested their knowledge of science fiction, fantasy, and speculative stories, movies, and television shows. Prizes were awarded to top-scoring individual competitors.


Creative Writing Workshop:

Answering Your Burning (Writing) Questions

1:00-2:00 PM

T.K. Thorne

T. K. Thorne has written history and historical fiction. She’s blogged about the writing life in Alabama and penned a Birmingham-based thriller that mixes magic and police work. In this writing workshop, she discussed research and worldbuilding, as well as answered participants’ burning writing questions.


Spotlight Drama Club

presents “Sure Thing”

2:00-3:00 PM

Spotlight Drama Club

Ever met someone and immediately known they were the one for you? Ever said the wrong thing? Ever wished you could turn back time to correct your mistakes? Check out the Spotlight Drama Club’s virtual performance of David Ives’ play “Sure Thing.” Two people meet on Halloween and find their way through a conversational minefield as a wizard’s wand resets their false starts, gaffes, and faux pas on the way to finding love. You’ll laugh your way through this magical reimagining of a favorite one-act play by one of America's quirkiest playwrights. 


The Spotlight Drama Club was formed in 2017 with a single student member. Since then, membership has grown to over sixty with participants and events on all four campuses. Students perform in full productions, write and direct original plays, and collaborate with other student organizations on a variety of projects. The club is open to all with an interest in the performing arts. Advisors: Lesley Warren and Kevin Townes


Announcement of Writing Contest Winners

3:00-3:30 PM

Hosted by Katie Boyer

Pioneer Con writing contests launched this year, with cash prizes in three categories:

1.     Essay on Core Text (House of Rose)

2.     Essay on Visual Media

3.     Short Fiction

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