This Week In Fandom

This Week In Fandom, Volume 137

Hello and welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things that are happening! Before we get stuck in, did you see these very cute fandom-themed pregnancy announcements from Florida blogger Grace Navarro? She posted a different one each week throughout her pregnancy! Do you have a favourite? Let us know in the comments!


In an effortless segue from birth to death, the first news item that we have for you guys today is an article from the Atlantic. In ‘How to Murder Harry Potter’, journalist Kaitlyn Tiffany explores something that she calls “deathfic”: ‘the kind of fan fiction in which a beloved character dies, typically in a way that is as painful for the reader as possible.’

Some fan experts questioned the breadth of Tiffany’s working definition:

But however esoteric the categorisation, we did find the article respectful of the works and readers it explores; and in consequence, the conclusions at which Tiffany arrives feel valid. She finds that such stories serve a number of purposes. Some writers use them ‘to give a beloved character the mourning that the commercial narrative didn’t have time for’; others to ‘sort out experiences from their own life’. In the end, she concludes, it comes down to control: deathfic ‘stuns the system and then allows an easy exit’. Sometimes, that’s what we need. Read More

5 Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Five Things Kristina Busse Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today’s post is with Kristina, who volunteers as co-editor of the OTW’s project Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC).

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

Karen Hellekson and I were tasked from the beginning with representing the academic arm of the OTW. We had been discussing the need for an academic fan studies journal around the same time as the first discussions for an archive began, and we started laying the foundations shortly after the OTW was founded. We found an open access platform, defined our policies, picked an editorial board, and put out the first call for papers. We published the first issue of Transformative Works and Cultures a little over a year after in September 2008.

In order to gain and retain our academic credentialing as a journal, we needed the editorial side to be clearly separate from the OTW organization side. Our connection to the OTW is crucial but also fairly specific: our staff are OTW volunteers and we report to the board, but all editorial decisions are made independently by double-blind peer reviewers who are experts in fan studies.

Read More

International Fanworks Day

Thanks for Participating in International Fanworks Day 2020

As you all know by now, February 15, 2020 was the sixth annual International Fanworks Day, which the OTW marked with a series of challenges and activities for fanworks consumers and creators in the preceding week and on the day itself. We wanted to take this opportunity to thank everybody who participated through our social media channels, on our websites or in any other way, and to pick out some highlights of the celebrations. We saw many returning participants and plenty of newcomers to our IFD 2020 activities, and we are grateful and humbled by the growing response this celebration continues to receive.

So, what did we get up to?

Last month, we issued an #IFDrabble challenge with the prompt, ‘characters discovering fanworks about themselves’. We reblogged selected responses across our social media from February 8 – 15, but you can find many more at the tag we created for IFD 2020 on AO3. Read More