Lively Touches of the Favorite Author

Bellairs also gave some of his time to speaking at science fiction and fantasy conferences. In the early 1980s he was a speaker at two Boskone conferences, a regional Science Fiction convention held in Boston.

In 1987, the Mythopoeic Society honored Bellairs by naming him a guest of honor at their annual Mythcon conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Author Wayne Hammond was on hand and remembers that while Bellairs was welcomed and enjoyed by all, he had to compete for time against Christopher Tolkien, in attendance to mark the fiftieth anniversary of The Hobbit. Georgie Schnobrich, Peter S. Beagle, and John D. Rateliff presented "The Oeuvre of John Bellairs," a panel discussion of his work, and Bellairs later discussed and read from his books for what Hammond described as "a very entertaining hour." John also sat in and listened to some of the conferences; Hammond says most of the time, though, Bellairs hung out with Peter Beagle. He recalls hearing they were often found frequenting an old-fashioned diner-type eatery in near Marquette University when not at the discussion.

The 1987 conference was also the debut The Not-Ready-for-Mythcon Players, a group of society members who would in the subsequent years act out scenes from the writings of that year’s honoree. Eleanor M. Farrell, writing in 2003, explains that the tradition started with what was probably the first – and only – stage adaptation of Bellairs’ work: “Debby Jones and I decided to stage a condensed version of [The Pedant and the Shuffly]..... In this tale, an unpleasant wizard (the Pedant) changes people he doesn't like into creatures called "Flimsies" -- which look like dinner napkins soiled with gravy and cranberry sauce. Not having such condiments available in the Marquette cafeteria, we covered Eric Rauscher and Sherwood Smith with sheets coated with chocolate sauce and cherry jam, and put on our little play. Bellairs professed himself charmed, and gave me his permission to distribute Xerox copies of his story."