140. Meet the next generation of Black SFF writers! (Also: Wanuri Kahiu gush!)

140. Meet the next generation of Black SFF writers! (Also: Wanuri Kahiu gush!)



and I am in the room that we were in to listen to four people read from their contributions to the new Sons anthology which is a anthology of people of color who are writing speculative fiction edited by Niecy Shaw and it's really awesome and so at the end when we were all like fan peopling about what we heard I met these two awesome folks for the very first time and it's really cool because I wasn't able to go to the panel that you were speaking on but I really wanted to because they were both writing great stuff as a part of Purdue it's the is it a writing program they are any we're in the Purdue University and that they program and creative writing okay and so there was another panel but it's at the same time as one that I was going to and something that I've interviewed I guess like a couple of hours ago so that she was really excited to go to your panel because she and met all of y'all and so I was really excited and then I found out that I couldn't go so now I have you to myself because have to be even better so be patient so who are you what are you writing let's just start with that yeah like Who am I as a writer or like a little yeah yeah yeah I found would be great yeah so I'm Tam Roger a pronounced a them there's and most of the writing that I do secondary world fantasy pretty much all of my characters are queer women or they're non-binary and because they exist in a secondary world I really enjoy the world building that I get to do around gender I'm ace a lot of my characters I think just like intuitively because that's the way I think one of my characters are ace and like I said in a secondary world there's not really language for that so they generally like exists in the world generally the way that they exist is the norm I like on one of the panels here with that I went to about queer protagonists we were talking about like normalizing and escapism and I think that's a really cool thing especially for like marginalized communities like ours to be able to read a book where like that like we are like the default and so I really enjoy doing that in my work and I kind of just do it intuitively yeah mostly I'm a novel writer I've been challenging myself to do short stories because that's like a totally separate skill set and really difficult for me actually because my ideas sprawl I feel you tell the truth oh yeah I'm I'm a poet too because I I'm just going to explore all the things I guess and I'm still finding the words to describe my poetry it is speculative mostly fantasy but a lot of my poetry currently is dealing with like experiences with mental illness and like my body and all those things they're like a speculative ones so yeah I am Johnny I do mahal i I never saw in the beginning I was earning I never gave my spine ever positioned myself in a specific genre because I don't want to be labeled honey what you put in a specific section of a library or bookstore also I go by she/her/hers pronouns I'm straight I'm just going through everything that you think so um sorry but like my fiction and thanks to Tamara they gave me like a term I could use like it's just the one we were creating her proposal for the panel and everything contemporary or fantasy may be the best way to describe the ways I'm writing right now because when I first started with my name is daryun undergrad I would write about me two little characters because I am so sick of the trope of them being pretending civilians they are people who have their own lives their own desires our own goals they're bringing to this wire differently than ours and that fascinated me especially having don t like depression and having a family member who may or may not also head into homes to show you so thinking I'm working on right now but I said this contemporary fantasy and my kind of sang with a timur mentioned about what the default setting focusing on you know people who look like those people who think it had like we do I'm using this work to touch on topics that affect me I don't want to call it America and that's my community back home in Louisiana and I'm sure that I can I don't want to give too much material more questions than I can okay so the story is that the present-day and it focuses and for a long time I was still unsure about putting it in Louisiana because I'm like maybe I should just make something that it's summer it's Louisiana but not it's just the same what it is but then I realize like now I can't do that I have to just up front about what I'm talking about and where this takes place so it focuses on an all black community who chose to ostracize themselves from the rest of the world and some of the some of the residents in Sweden have supernatural abilities something don't and it focuses like it focuses on an ensemble cast and I'm using this book to just highlight on top or so about police brutality how much sexuality in terms of how it like conflicts with like Christian beliefs colorism what it was like family dynamics I'll give you so many things that I have just come across or that I just thought about like this needs to be in fiction because honestly and like the answer question you dancers hurdler hear about my County would start for like the longest time like I stated during the new stones panel like I wasn't aware of like black people writing fiction like in my undergrad we only read like you know deputy wvpt boys Lara nice and Frederick Douglass Zora Neale Hurston you know you meet the classes you never been out into the contemporary world and definitely not speculative because every enough you know the comment yeah I got it as an e-book okay so yeah like and then also like going to go to wall you know if I've got a longing for a book or like if I go to write a novel to me and I would never know what to look for right especially considering if you go to the tick to Walmart book section and the only time we see black characters around like romance novels yeah or it's bourbon fiction yeah and I'm like we there's so much more than this yeah there there has to be so much more than this which is really great that I met Tamra during the visiting Purdue because then you heard you were mentioning writers innocent who are these people and then we that mothers Lit class together and have supposed octavia but was done and the rest was history like I am udemy was like looking for any in every book writer and they're like you know whatever you know binary I'm a peg whatever just so I because I needed to expand my library and that's why I'm writing this book for like the other people of color out there who don't know what to look for who don't see themselves or and just like well I guess I'm only labeled as one thing so I guess I'll just write this urban fiction or like oh yeah whatever so yeah it's my white why didn't you write yeah I think I so like just like naming a specific place when I was like yes I was a writer then it's really difficult I feel like I've always been a writer and I've always been writing fantasy of some kind and I think I I started reading you know for escapism I was my family a military family Air Force moved around a lot I had like started experiencing like symptoms of the you know very sleek and until illnesses that I deal with then I didn't have words for them I remember being just like crushingly sad and not having any resources not knowing what to do not know how to talk about it whether her to talk about it and so I escaped into fantasy literature and I at the same time writing and so I feel like both of those things were an escape for me and like a place where I could feel joy I didn't feel like I had a lot of joy so or any friends and so yeah just like I don't know the disruption of like being a military kid constantly being uprooted going to all these places and then moving year after year so basically every year was in a different school for a while and so I think I I write started writing for the same reason that I read which is just to feel joy I liked the reaction of like when I would give my friends stories that I'd read and they were excited to receive them and I think a lot of the literature of course I mean when I was a kid more so than now it was very very white and so the fantasy I was reading was like Eragon you know yeah and you know like white boys sometimes girls get to go on adventures and do cool stuff and know stories that I read that I can remember like as a kid where fantasy also had any protagonists of color and any clear protagonist and so yeah I think a lot of my fantasy is like the characters are rooted and like the person who I am and my and just like wanting to like also see myself in these cool settings and like have fun yeah yeah so I think my right I mean we're in an MFA and I feel like a lot of the time it's like see something complex I'm like mind-blowing about the human condition but actually I think I write just it gives me joy like I want to be happy and I want to have fun and I think that's really valuable also as black writers because so often I feel like readers expect like pain and let's look at our pain and trauma yeah so I I think it's important to you also just like right things are fine and cool yeah have you heard of bubble gum No so so I I'm gonna mess up her last name but her first name is one Mary and she did a TED talk called afro bubble gum and she was talking about how revolutionary it is for African cultural creators including writers to do stuff for the sole purpose of having fun hmm by pure of bubble gum art and if she said that like this whole idea that stories coming out of the continent or out of that I asked for us but she's small T talking about the continent mm-hmm being like you know politically complex and about like survival and apocalypse and then like flying to different planets and she's like can we just be cute like can't we just like have fun isn't it okay for us to focus on like joy happiness wellness and that just being with a purpose though it doesn't mean to be anything other than that and that that in itself is actually revolutionary because you know if there is a lot of pressure to always have to be in life that deep and come back said that you know that minute so you should check out or TED talk I think oh you will get really loved it she's also stunning and we're something close okay and has some really she she makes a lot of references to African art she's Kenyan and she recently directed produced and directed the first lesbian lesbian romance would be filmed in Kenya way visit due to I had heard of this movie yes it called I don't remember because I didn't it like man yeah they tried to shut it down they won they were able to screen it in Kenya and then they screened it I can't and it's like one all of these different awards so she did poem see so Posey is a short science fiction movie that's available online as well and and and she's I think that's where I first found out about her and it was a really really good really good short I mean cuz I look uh I just heard something like not too great of another thing but like I had been seeing on tweets about movies made my room no color they were not being screened so like literally like you know it's like do you do like boy you it's not really known about there's another one that came out keeping the title but it isn't hi I be the indeed and I literally it was released like I don't know like last year but it was not in theaters at all like every state supposed to be like and hateful but it was not showing it wasn't advertised but um but shadow prep what is her name like shadow or a on Twitter it talks about it there are the whole posted on their shadow an act yes yeah thank okay yeah I forget names all the time like even like my friends is but but they'll think about YouTube is that we there's like a space work we can do the research yeah actual real names yeah so you guys can find it yeah um so I want to keep y'all too long I mean do you want to keep it all along so I guess like what can we wear can book too and anyone watching this find your your published work that's available now if you have any available now and where can they go to follow your work so that they can be the first to read it one yeah so um like I said um I write poetry right now I have one poem and strange horizons titled in the cult of nearly lost dreams so you can find that there I have a couple of short stories on submission now that are looking promising like I've gotten stuck back that's like hey you're in the second round so maybe hopefully I will be announcing that in the coming months on my Twitter at tambaran ta ma RA je r ee i am still working my way around putting my fiction out there but I do write fanfiction IQ Tom my username is trying to change that is tr why ing the number 2 CH a in g3 and where Kennedy where should we be if we want to find out thank your awesome it is done I have a Twitter also at Hall a Kol Johnny Joh na Y on one thing I also have an Instagram again my first name Johnny underscore ID Ella IDE telly so whatever I expected you know I'm hoping for for June to put my to send a submission to Luna station cordially and I'm looking into the night wait productions or I mean I'm looking at it's just about getting my fitting into that format of short stories right again as soon as I do that and it's out there you will definitely get Twitter updates and Instagram updates cool well is there anything else you want to share with those folks home ago I'm sort of an editor I know I guess I'm I still feel like it's a little bit unreal I'm like responsible for picking stories for magazines but yeah I'm the fiction editor at Sycamore review which is anything Purdue's national literary magazine so like if you have speculative stories than them – because I want to see them also I'm an editor at Ueno station quarterly which is a magazine for emerging women writers who write speculative works so yes send cool stories if you're also a writer I'm ready I just want to say like you know don't let anybody hold you back but literally if you think if you have an idea for like whatever started reckon our play movie and you want it you know like I mean like you just got to put yourself out there yes it's hard it's terrifying it's so tear it's so terrifying no but you're gonna do it it'll it'll pay off in the long run like literally I mean who would have thought we'd have NK jemisin is how long so blood future mothers if you know right now yeah good who would have thought that there are we releasing Octavia Butler's terrible series with ink idioms an introduction in it yeah I mean the new suns people of color anthology like yes it's terrifying yes it gives me anxiety but it needs to be done because who else is going to do it and only you can represent yourself the worry should be represented and we're done by

4 Comments

  • Mollie's Reading says:

    I love this video. I loved the shout out to Wanuri Kahiu because Rafiki was one of the most moving films I've seen in a long time and the whole journey of it winning its case and being allowed to play in Nairobi is surreal. Also the conversation about Black art not necessarily having to be world-shifting or hugely profound but just joyful reminded me of Audre Lorde saying how self-care is an act of political warfare, for people of color and Black people in particular. adrienne maree brown's new book Pleasure Activism apparently delves into the same idea, though to be honest I haven't gotten to it yet! Much to think about, and two new novelists I can follow! Thank you 🙂

  • Afro Lit says:

    Loved this.

  • 2013Fangirl says:

    Fast Color was the name of the movie Shadow and Act tweeted about. It's about three generations of women of color with supernatural abilities.

  • Tomee Elizabeth Sojourner-Campbell says:

    Another great vlog Njeri. Thank you for posting.

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