It’s the stories that you tell…


No point beating myself up about the fact that I didn’t write that much whilst #kateinportlandia … I was tired when I wasn’t doing things!

But I am annoyed that I didn’t write down more thoughts about some of the speakers that I heard pretty quickly after hearing them. It’s all very well and good being a reflective sort of person, but it’s good to get down those initial thoughts…and I don’t know that my notes capture enough of that.

Anyway…over a week later, I’ll try with the first keynote – G Willow Wilson.

G Willow Wilson is an American woman, a convert to Islam. She is a writer – including graphic novels…and I had never heard of her….

Battling a cold and a bad cough, she was an engaging and interesting speaker. G Willow Wilson wrote a graphic novel last year…Ms Marvel – which features the superhero Kamala Khan- a teenage Pakistani girl living in New Jersey.

G Willow Wilson talked about popular historical narratives, the “narrative wars” ,  and how it seems like very day we find out we have been lied to about something. She gave her own story – her background as an Ohio Lutheran – her family always said that they had Italian heritage. Then through DNA, G Willow Wilson found out that there was no Italian heritage…but some Iberian Jewish background!! So what happens, she asked….when the stories that we have been told aren’t real???

Her point is – we all live on the same earth…but we don’t make the same maps. “The political is personal” and words matter! She also talked about listening. Listening at a time of great change is a great skill.

And she talked about intersectionality – which I hadn’t heard of before…. Intersectionality is “… a concept often used in critical theories to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are interconnected and cannot be examined separately from one another” from Geek Feminism Wiki.

G Willow Wilson  said that librarians should champion the role to carry forth multiple voices into the future…


I enjoyed her story. After her keynote I queued up for around 45 minutes to say hello to her and get a poster signed…

I have ordered Ms Marvel. Apparently when I was in Portland Powell’s City of Books couldn’t keep enough copies in stock!



Writes Ms Marvel – comic about a Pakistani teenager girl living in New Jersey.

Rethinking of narratives, historically marginalised voices coming to the fore

“You never know what people are carrying inside” – think big white Polish guy who has suffered bullying and discrimination…

What happens when the stories we are told from childhood aren’t real? Think GWillowWilson – was told she had Italian heritage, then DNA later showed Iberian Jews!

Read 1491 – life before 1492 in US

The stuff you learn, the stuff you don’t learn, regardless of education.

Gaps in knowledge – the more I know the less I know…

‘Narrative wars’

New civil rights movement – the political is personal, words matter

Listen at a time of great change, listen is its own skill

Intersectionality – more than the sum of parts, identities are complex]



In pursuit of eradicating violence, we commit violence




On perpetuity – papers will go to a uni….Ms Marvel is going to be in the Avengers


How can you play these violent, misogynist online games? Slow change, but there is change, need more female developers, for example ‘raped’ is now ‘surprised by sex’…gaming has grown sideways….

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