Black authors have been at the vanguard of speculative fiction and fantasy for the past few decades, and today we have three talented practitioners to introduce us to the breadth and scope of the genre. Author and activist Lucinda Roy is perhaps best known for her poetry, essays, and literary fiction, but her new novel The Freedom Race is Roy’s first foray into speculative fiction, imagining a near-future Second Civil War, the reinstitution of slavery, and a high-stakes race where first prize equals freedom. In Shallow Waters, debut novelist Anita Kopacz imagines a mystical antebellum past, one where a powerful Orisha, a deity from Africa’s Yoruba people, travels to America in 1849 and, in the guise of a young Black woman, interacts with figures both historical and imagined. In A Master of Djinn, his first full-length novel following several successful novellas, P. Djèlí Clark also sets up an alternate history, this one set in 1912 in Egypt, whose people have embraced magical beings who both inspired innovation and also drove away the colonial powers. But all is not perfect in Cairo, as an investigation into a mysterious murder makes all too clear. Our guide on this journey through time and space is Quentin Lucas, a storyteller, Emerson MFA candidate, and GrubStreet writing instructor.
P. Djèlí Clark is the award-winning and Hugo and Sturgeon nominated author of the novel A Master of Djinn and the novellas The Black God’s Drums and The Haunting of Tram Car 015. His writings have appeared in online venues such as Tor.com, Lightspeed, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. His short story “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Negro Teeth of Washington” and his novella Ring Shout has earned him both Nebula and Locus awards. He is also a founding member of FIYAH Literary Magazine and an infrequent reviewer at Strange Horizons.
Anita Kopacz is an award-winning writer and spiritual advisor. She is the former editor-in-chief of Heart & Soul Magazine and managing editor of BeautyCents Magazine. When she is not writing, you can find her on the dance floor or traveling the world with her children. She lives in New York City with her family. The "riveting and heartbreaking" (Publishers Weekly) Shallow Waters is her debut novel.
Lucinda Roy is an award-winning novelist, poet, and memoirist, and a lifelong advocate for diversity and inclusion. She has lived and taught on three continents and is recognized for her keynotes on race and gender, creative writing, and education reform. Her awards include a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, an honorary doctorate, and the Eighth Mountain Poetry Prize. Her commentaries and poetry have been published in numerous newspapers and journals, including USA Today, the Guardian, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the New York Times. She lives in Blacksburg, Virginia, where, as a distinguished professor, she teaches creative writing at Virginia Tech. For The Freedom Race, her third novel, she relocated to speculative fiction because it allows her to imagine what would happen if the dangerous racial and cultural divisions we're experiencing today continue to deepen.
Quentin Lucas is a Germany-born, Boston-raised bookworm. After meandering through college on his way to a degree in business management, he then adventured his way through the US Army and discovered a need to follow his passion for writing. As a freelancer, copywriter, and essayist, Lucas has worked on projects with MIT and Vistaprint and has written for publications like the Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, Blerds Online, and Fourth River Literary Magazine. Lucas is pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing at Emerson College, crafting the second novel of his fantasy trilogy, and considering a memoir about his military days.