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On Black Joy, Power & Love: Exploring Black Women's Hope Narratives in Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Melissa A. Watkins Saturdays, Oct. 8-29 (9/10 resched)
11a-12:30p ET
8a-9:30a PT
10a-11:30a CT
4 class sessions

By signing up for a class, you agree to our refund policy and code of conduct here.

This is the class to take if you believe in #blackgirlmagic, space-traveling futures, and alien utopias and want to put all of those things in your own writing like the pros do.

On Black Joy, Power & Love: Exploring Black Women's Hope Narratives in Fantasy & Sci-fi is a four-week discussion-based course providing an overview of Black women writers and characters in speculative fiction, specifically focusing on narratives of hope, love, and power.

Students will ideally be readers of fantasy and science fiction looking to broaden their knowledge of Black women in those genres, interested in narratives that are not trauma-focused.

We'll look at works by Octavia Butler, N.K. Jemisin, Nalo Hopkinson, and Tananarive Due as well as newer writers like Jordan Ifueko, Kaylynn Bayron, and Bethany C Morrow, and a few unappreciated writers from the past.

All class meetings will be held via Zoom. The link to join your Zoom classroom will be provided on the morning of your class. Please check spam folders if you do not receive an email confirmation upon registration. For more information on how to download or use Zoom, please click here.

Meet Your Instructor:
Melissa A. Watkins

Melissa A. Watkins is a new writer, an old teacher, and a lifelong fan of fantasy, sci-fi and speculative fiction. She's surprised every time Luke Skywalker finds out who his real father is, fights the air whenever Rue dies in The Hunger Games, and wonders out loud why Frodo never met a Black elf. The search for Black women in speculative fiction takes up a lot of her free time and she's looking forward to sharing it with everyone through this course. Melissa studied at Western Colorado University (B.A. Communications and Theatre) and the University of Manchester, UK (M.A. General Theology). You can find her non-fiction writing in the anthologies Trailblasian: Black Women in East Asia and Black In Asia: A SpillStories Anthology. Her fiction has been published in midnight & indigo and Flash In A Flash. 

Course Takeaways

  • Who the major and up-and-coming Black women speculative fiction writers are
  • The most hopeful, magical, future-loving narratives about Black women in fantasy and science fiction
  • The way that Black women's narratives shape speculative fiction--and the way we are shaped by them
  • Tropes and foundations to include in your own writing
  • Books you can read when you're sick of beards and orcs and endless wars but still want to live your best Black fantasy adventure life

Course Expectations

  • Come ready to think, discuss, and enjoy! We will read a few short stories (publicly accessible) and you are more than welcome to introduce us all to your favorite works in discussion
  • There is no writing as a part of this course--however, there will be opportunities to discuss your own writing and talk through applications of our course discussion for your work.

Course Skeleton

  • Week 1: The OG's--Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, and What They Knew About Right Now
  • Week 2: The New School--Raybearer, Emergency Skin and Other Stories of Unusual Justice
  • Week 3: The Romantics: Black Women As Romantic Leads in Spec-Fic Stories
  • Week 4: Black Girl Magic: How We Use Our Powers in (Fantasy) Books and Beyond

We offer full refunds for cancellation with written notice up until 7 days before your class start date. From 6 days to more than 24 hours before class begins, we offer a 50% refund. If you drop a class less than 24 hours before the class begins or after it has started, you are ineligible for a refund.