ANNOUNCING! Change to Camp Necon 40 Dais!

Dear Necon Campers,

Unfortunately, Tananarive Due will not be able to attend Necon 40 the summer of 2022 (and let’s face it — with multiple COVID postponements delaying the convention for two years, some scheduling conflicts seemed inevitable). She sends her apologies, and on behalf of the entire Necon Family we’d like to send Tananarive our very best. Naturally, Camp Necon will continue to honor any refund requests we receive from Campers who have already registered.

But out of chaos comes opportunity, and Camp Necon is thrilled to announce that Cassandra Khaw has accepted our invitation to attend Necon 40 as a Writer Guest of Honor!

Cassandra Khaw is an award-winning game writer, and former scriptwriter at Ubisoft Montreal. Khaw’s work can be found in places like Fantasy & Science Fiction, Lightspeed, and Khaw’s first original novella, Hammers on Bone, was a British Fantasy award and Locus award finalist, and their novella, Nothing But Blackened Teeth, is published by Nightfire.

Our sincerest thanks to Cassandra for accepting our invitation, to Tananarive for her continued support, and to all Campers for your understanding. We look forward to seeing you all in July of 2022!

Necon 40 Postponed, Announcing Camp V-Con

Dear Necon Campers,

I’m sure you’re as tired of receiving these type of announcements as we are of making them. That said, I also recognize this is the only smart, safe, and reasonable course of action before us and I doubt this news will come as much of a surprise. Plus, I promise the second half of this announcement will be more fun!

We had a Zoom call with our liaisons at UMass-Lowell, and they delivered the sad news we suspected was coming — due to the ongoing health and safety concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the University will not be allowing overnight guests this summer. Frankly, I think most (if not all) of us could see the handwriting on the wall and had come to the realization that it’s simply not safe, nor logistically feasible, to hold a regular Necon this summer, and I honestly find it reassuring that our partners at UMass-Lowell feel the same way. As such, the University happily rolled our deposit forward and we’ve secured our dates for next year. Necon 40 will now be held July 21st – July 24th, 2022, and we are in the process of reconfirming our Dais of Guests for those dates.

So, stop me if you’ve heard this one before — as the University will be holding our deposit, we need to ask that you all stick with us. While we will honor refund requests, please only do so if you know for certain that you won’t be able to join us for those dates next July.

And now for the fun part I promised! To show our appreciation, and because we’re sure we’re not the only ones jonesing for a Necon fix, we’re planning something special for this summer —

That’s right, we’re planning to hold a blockbuster virtual convention online this July, participation at which will be 100% free for all registered Necon 40 Campers. In fact, we’re putting together something extra special for Sunday the 18th, that has NEVER been done at Necon before, that will be offered exclusively to Necon 40 attendees. Please stay tuned for more announcements regarding V-Con over the next month, ‘cuz I promise we’re gonna knock everyone’s virtual socks off!

As always, thank you all for being a part of the Necon Family. Please stay healthy, well, and safe; I look forward to seeing you all online this July and in person as absolutely soon as the world allows.

– Matt Bechtel
Chairperson, Camp Necon 40

Camp Necon Is Changing Its Venue to UMass-Lowell

New shirt, new venue, same pen; Chairperson Matt Bechtel signing Camp Necon’s contract with UMass-Lowell

Dear Campers,

If it seems like you’ve received this letter from me before, I don’t know what to offer other than the famous Yogi Berra quote — it’s deja vu all over again!

A couple of months ago, I received a call from Deborah Melnick, our contact at Salem State. In a cost-cutting measure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university shuttered its summer events program and fired her entire department. In short, Necon was left searching for a new venue again.

Among all of the proposals we received and considered from potential venues, there was one which blew us away and checked all of our proverbial boxes, maintaining the unique and quirky elements that make Necon, well, Necon. As such, I’m happy to announce that Necon 40 will now be held at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The dates for our convention will remain July 15th – 18th, 2021, our entire dais of Guests has confirmed they still plan to attend, and all 250 Campers will still be housed in apartment-style suites on campus. Beyond that, UMass-Lowell has an on-campus art gallery that they plan to make available to us for our Art Show, and they will designate an outdoor lawn area as a “BYOB After Hours Gathering Spot”  (i.e. no wandering campus with open containers, but we can gather and drink outside as we are used to). The university also owns a waterfront property called The Boathouse, and on Thursday evening they’re going to hold us a “Waterfront Welcome Reception” featuring a buffet of finger foods and small plates, plus a cash bar!

UMass-Lowell provided us with the following pictures, which we hope will whet your appetite for what’s to come this July —

Finally, I’d like to address the elephant in the room, even if it’s a bit like sharing how the sausage gets made — please let me take this opportunity to assure everyone that our contract with UMass-Lowell explicitly states that we can cancel / postpone / reschedule Necon should the COVID-19 pandemic necessitate, and that decision can be made by either party right up until the day before the con. In other words, we are taking NO chances and are prioritizing the safety of everyone involved (i.e. all of our Campers and the students, faculty, and staff of UMass-Lowell) above all else. Personally, I have to say that I became much more optimistic about our odds of convening Necon next July after the results of our election, and the recent news regarding vaccines makes me even more so. Still, we are not blindly assuming all will be well by next summer; it’s just much better for us to have a venue secured and plan for the best-case scenario than to potentially have to scramble come spring.

I recognize how unusual it must be to receive a second “change of venue” notice from us, but I also know you can appreciate that business has been anything but usual this year and this was completely beyond our control.

Thank you so much and please stay safe; I look forward to seeing everyone at UMass-Lowell this summer.

– Matt Bechtel
Chairperson, Camp Necon 40

The Northeastern Writers' Conference, a.k.a. Camp Necon

Necon 40 Postponed Until 2021

Dear Necon Campers,

With profound sadness, we have decided to postpone Necon 40 until 2021.

This decision was made in coordination with our hosts at Salem State University for the health and safety of us all (including their staff), and our excitement about relocating to their university remains unchanged,. But in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we simply cannot ask our Campers to choose between staying home or risking your well-being by attending Necon during these uncertain times. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts remains under lockdown at the time of this writing, and we recognize that many of our attendees fall into the “highly at risk” category. To quote an esteemed Necon-Lifer who expressed concern about holding the convention this summer, if one person gets sick at Necon that’s one person too many.

The details of this postponement are simple — Necon 40 will now take place July 15th through 18th, 2021, and our announced dais of Guests have all confirmed they will join us next summer. All registrations and deposits will automatically be rolled forward, with July 1st, 2021 the new due date for balances to be paid in full. If this date change means you cannot attend Necon 40, please email me at and we’ll work with you towards facilitating a refund; however, as we have already paid Salem State and our payment to them is being rolled forward, we humbly ask all Campers to please roll forward with us and only request a refund if you know you will not be able to attend in 2021.

And now for the “lemonade out of lemons” portion of this announcement — while we are still figuring out the logistics, we plan to produce online content over the coming fifteen months, access to which will be exclusive to registered Necon 40 Campers. We’re thinking readings, webinars, discussion groups, games, contests, etc. While nothing can replace sharing Saugies on the quad, we feel anything we can do to stay connected as a community right now is well worth the effort. Please watch your inbox and all Necon social media accounts for updates and announcements.

Thank you all so much again for your understanding and cooperation. Most importantly, please stay safe and well; I look forward to seeing you all next summer.

All the best,
– Matt Bechtel
Chairperson, Necon 40

P.S. — This probably goes without saying, but seeing as it celebrates the con’s 40th anniversary, the Necon XL anthology will be delayed until 2021 as well. All registered Campers will still receive a special limited edition, to be exclusively distributed at Necon 40 … and the editors plan to expand the project between now and then. Again, please keep an eye on all of our standard communication channels for updates.

The Northeastern Writers' Conference, a.k.a. Camp Necon

Camp Necon’s Official Statement on the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dear Necon Campers,

First and foremost, we hope you and all of yours are healthy and safe.

This morning, I spoke with Deborah Melnick, the Director of Summer Conference & Hospitality Services at Salem State University, about the COVID-19 pandemic. Deborah confirmed that, while the University is following CDC guidelines and have canceled all events for the next two months, its schedule of summer events remains unaffected at this time. As things currently stand, Necon 40 will proceed as planned for July 16h through 19th on SSU’s campus.

Of course, we are living in unprecedented times. July is a long way off, and literally everything in the world is “TBD” at the moment. You have our assurances that the Camp Necon Executive Committee is closely following developments regarding the pandemic, and you have our word that we will be as open, transparent, and timely with our communications as possible should our plans need to change. We will continue working in lock-step with our partners at Salem State, monitoring announcements by all major health agencies and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and move forward with only all of our best interests in mind. Should circumstances require us to cancel or postpone the convention from its announced dates, we will make refund and roll-forward options available to all registered Campers (including walk-ins). Please continue to watch your inbox for announcements like this, and also follow our websiteFacebook, and Twitter accounts.

One small step we can take — and granted, we recognize this is a minor step, especially in light of current events, but we’re still going to take it — is to extend the deadline for Campers who have paid a deposit for Necon 40 to pay their balances. Effective immediately, our announced due date of June 15th is hereby extended to July 1st, 2020. We don’t know if those two weeks will make any difference in the big picture, but damn it, if they could, we want our Campers to have them.

On behalf of the entire Camp Necon Executive Committee, thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we navigate this nearly unthinkable situation. Please feel free to reach out to me at should you have any questions. And again (and we can’t emphasize this enough!), please stay safe and take care of yourselves.

Thank you,
– Matt Bechtel
Chairperson, Camp Necon 40

P.S. — Happy St. Paddy’s Day to one and all; here’s hoping for more than a little luck for all of us over the coming months.

Necon Is Moving to Salem, Increasing Capacity

Necon Is Changing Its Venue to

Salem State University in Salem, MA,

Increasing Capacity to 250 Campers

Dear Necon Campers,

Here’s the TL;DR version of what follows — The Northeastern Writers’ Conference is thrilled to announce that we are changing our venue and increasing our capacity. Beginning this summer at Necon 40 (July 16th – 19th, 2020), the convention will be held at Salem State University in Salem, MA, and can accommodate up to 250 fully registered (i.e. four-day, overnight) Campers.

Before we launch into the full story, you may want to pour yourself a cup of coffee — or, perhaps, two fingers of Maker’s Mark — and get comfy.  🙂

Shortly after Necon 39 concluded, we were informed by Roger Williams University that they were undergoing institutional changes and could not confirm the Baypoint Inn & Conference Center for our announced dates next summer. We immediately began researching other venue options, and we’ll be straight with everyone, the results were not promising. Finding a venue that “checked every box” Necon requires was daunting, and we began to fear we’d have to accept a location that, quite frankly, would have sacrificed much of what makes Necon “Necon” (i.e. the convention would have morphed into a typical “hotel con”).

Then, a too-good-to-be-true opportunity fell into our laps.

But first, a bit of background — forty years ago, Roger Williams University reached out to Bob Booth after he chaired the World Fantasy Convention in Providence. The university had just begun hosting conferences on its campus and asked to pitch themselves to Bob as a potential venue. Bob took the visit, and as he suspected they were way too small to host an event like WFC … but they were the perfect size (and cost) to launch his own small writers conference. And hence, Necon was born.

Much like Bob was approached four decades ago, the director of summer conference and hospitality services at Salem State University reached out to us and asked if we had considered holding Necon in Salem. And truthfully, the answer to that question was no! No matter how perfect it would be to hold a horror/speculative fiction convention in Salem, we never dreamed we could find a suitable venue there!

Emails led to phone calls, which led to a site visit, and we were blown away each step of the way. Not only did Salem State check every box for us, they offered upgraded facilities and accommodations and the ability to increase our capacity. Moreover, they offered us a chance to return to Necon’s roots, housing most of our Campers in four-person, two-double-bedroom suites on a college campus. (Side note: there are also a limited number of suites with single rooms, set up to accommodate as few as three and as many as six people.) Perhaps most importantly, they not only secured our dates for this summer, they offered us a multi-year, fix-priced contract that secures us the third weekend of July every year, affording the convention security and stability going forward. All told, we truly believe that Necon will not have to sacrifice or compromise anything that makes us what we are with this move; in fact, on literally every level, this is a flat-out better option for us.

We’ve put together the following pictures from our site visit to give everyone a taste of what’s in store for us at Salem State. The University, by the way, is only a mile away from Downtown Salem, featuring all of its museums, stores, restaurants, historical sites, etc. And our liaison at the University has graciously offered to hook us up with “Destination Salem” so that Necon will be properly connected with and welcomed into Salem’s rich horror community!

Salem State Campus Map

A map of Salem State’s campuses, with our relevant buildings circled. As you can see, our event space  is two blocks from our dorm and cafeteria. The walk takes about 5 to 7 minutes through a residential neighborhood on a flat sidewalk (no major hills). There is parking available at both locations for Campers who have their own car and wish to drive, and the University has offered to rent us 8-seat golf carts to help shuttle Campers back and forth.

Viking Hall (Our Dorm)

Main lobby, first floor. Note two pool tables (there’s a third upstairs).

Second floor lounge / seating area with T.V. and jacks for gaming counsels.
There’s such a lounge on every floor. And yes, there are elevators!

Starbucks attached to Viking Hall.
Closes at 2:30PM and this space is ours to use as we see fit after they close.

Meeting room attached to Starbucks by retractable wall. Full AV capabilities. Seats 80-ish.

Starbucks outdoor patio seating. Will be available to us all hours.

More patio / courtyard seating (featuring Mike Myers!).

One side of the Viking Hall quad. We have assurances that all of our usual late-night Necon activities, such as talking, singing, hanging out, and everything we’ve typically done outside into the wee hours, will be permitted in these areas.

Main / front quad of Viking Hall. Salem State has a strict smoke-free campus policy, but smoking is allowed just beyond the front sidewalk, approximately 15 to 20 yards from the front door. A follow-up email regarding the University’s no smoking policy, and covering MA state laws regarding marijuana, will be sent at a later date. And FYI, the barn-shaped building across the street is a liquor store.

“Kitchen Lounge” featuring seating area, full fridge, large microwave, etc.
There’s one of these on every floor.

“Quiet Lounge” (i.e. seating area without a T.V., intended for studying).
There’s one of these on every floor, too.

Two-person bedroom (each suite typically has two of these).
The beds will be on the floor so they can be pushed together if desired.

Vanities. The toilet is in a separate room to the left and the shower is in one to the right; that keeps the toilet available while people shower.

“Kitchenette Nook” with mini-fridge and microwave. There’s one of these in every suite.

Marsh Hall (Cafeteria)

The quad between Viking Hall and Marsh Hall.
They’re about 100 yards apart (and we can hang out on this lawn, too).

The dining hall. Seats over 300. Large screen TV and lounge area with couches not pictured. This space will be available to us at all times (including evenings).

Food lines / serving area, first picture (was too big for one shot).

Food lines / serving area, second picture. Refreshments will be available at all times, and there are also vending machines in every building.

Second floor outdoor patio. This space will be available to us at all times (including evenings).

Small breakout conference room. There was another larger one of these as well, and both will be available to us.

Ellison Center (Event Space)

Front courtyard, first picture (was too big for one shot).

Front courtyard, second picture.

Main lobby / lounge area.

“Commuter Lounge,” one floor beneath main lobby. Space will be available to us at all times.

Small conference room off of the “Commuter Lounge.”

Larger meeting room off of the “Commuter Lounge.” Seats 80 to 100-ish and features full AV capabilities.

“The Underground” room (hence the sign on the wall), first picture (was too big for one shot).

“The Underground” room, second picture.

“Martin Luther King, Jr.” room, first picture (was too big for one shot).

“Martin Luther King, Jr.” room, second picture. Includes full AV capabilities.

Main Hall, first picture (was too big for one shot). Our primary programming / entertainment space. Wall on right retracts for a capacity of 250.

Main Hall, second picture (other side of retractable wall). The two flat-screens mirror the main screen, on to which we could project live speakers / panelists.

More about Salem State can be found at

We know that change can be scary and unsettling, and we recognize there are sure to be adjustments for all of us at our new venue. For example, any Campers planning to fly in for Necon should now book their flights to Logan Aiport in Boston rather than T.F. Green (side note: a follow-up email regarding travel arrangements will also be sent as a later date). For our part, we plan to spend the next ten months keeping everyone as informed as possible and (hopefully!) anticipating and addressing issues before they arise. That said, due to this venue change, we will honor any requests for a full refund (deposits included). But we’re not expecting to receive very many, because Necon at Salem State, in the city that’s very much the hub of the New England horror community, is going to be an AMAZING fit!

Thank you all so much; we hope you’re as excited as we are, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to us should you have any questions.

See you this July in Salem!

Registration for Necon 40 NOW OPEN!

Dear Campers,

Short and sweet — registration for Necon 40 is now officially open.

Writer Guests of Honor: Tananarive Due, Victor LaValle & Bracken MacLeod

Artist Guest of Honor: Leila del Duca

Toastmaster: Kasey Lansdale

Necon Legends: Joe R. Lansdale & Kathryn Ptacek

And as if that’s not enough to entice you, the Necon XL anthology (edited by Matt Bechtel, Christopher Golden & Bracken MacLeod, published by Haverhill House Publishing) will be debuting at con … where a SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION will be gifted to every full registrant of the convention.

Please trust us when we say that slots for next year are going to fill fast, so PLEASE CLICK HERE to register today!