The Black Speculative Short Story: An Exploration of Narrative World Building | 4-week Writing Workshop

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Sandra Jacobo Wednesdays, May 17-June 7
7pm-9pm ET
4pm-6pm PT
6pm-8pm CT
4 class sessions

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"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns.”
― Octavia E. Butler 

Speculative Fiction is a genre that includes science fiction (“sci-fi”), fantasy, horror, and experimental literature. Speculative Fiction also presents questions about society and plays with elements of history and time.

With this capability of pushing beyond what seems impossible, this genre can be seen as one of resistance and resilience for those who have been historically subjugated. That is why Black women's Speculative Fiction will be the topic of this course; in this course, we will focus on how Black women redefine themselves, tell their stories, and imagine new futures. 

The Black Speculative Short Story: An Exploration of Narrative World Building will explore how Black women create new worlds through their narrative of distant futures and familiar presents that address troubled pasts. This course will examine how Black women create new conversations about societal norms and structures through the craft of the short story.

In four weeks, we will explore the speculative short story by reading Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, Ibi Zoboi, and Helen Oyeyemi. Each session will include free-flow discussions of literary elements, themes, and the power of the narrative. If you want to practice your creative and analytical writing skills, you will have the chance to experiment with both, as we will have time for in-class writing, peer feedback, and more.

Open to beginner and intermediate writers.

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:
Sandra Jacobo

Sandra Jacobo (she/her) is a writer, scholar, instructor, and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kansas. She is currently working on her dissertation titled Femme Futurisms, which examines the ways that femme Caribbean speculative writers have and continue to reshape the genre. Besides her love of the speculative fiction genre, Sandra is a big fan of reality tv, astrology, Stardew Valley, and more.

Course Takeaways

  • Practice close reading
  • Becoming familiar with literary elements and analysis of speculative fiction
  • Group discussion

Course Expectations

  • Reading will take place before class sessions
  • Students will complete, share, and discuss in-class writing activities
  • Students will work on a final writing project 

Course Skeleton

  • Week One: Introduction to literary elements and class discussion of first short story
  • Week Two: Class discussion of the second story; in-class writing
  • Week Three: Class discussion of the last two stories; in-class writing
  • Week Four: In-class workshop; peer review of final paper and discussion   


**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 25% 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.