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Black Writers Building New Worlds: Speculative Fiction for Radical Imagining | 3-Week Online Writing Workshop

Jasmine Butler Saturdays, November 2-16
1p-3p ET
10a-12p PT
12p-2p CT
3 class sessions

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

Making sense of a world on fire is perhaps the task of our lifetime as writers. This class is designed for writers ready to take that extra step beyond making sense of their present to using their work to explore the worlds of tomorrow. Or perhaps ready to explore the worst possible outcomes if we don’t correct course. Or everything in between.

Together, we will study the craft and techniques of masterful speculative fiction writers to enrich our own writing. By the end of the course, each will walk away with a strong start to one or more short stories.

Each week, we’ll dissect the works of renowned authors like Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson, Bora Chung, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, and more. Through lively discussions and sharing of ideas, we’ll identify effective world-building techniques that you can immediately apply to enhance your individual writing practices. We’ll also explore the real-world implications of speculative writing and the crucial role of writers in today’s society. 

Get ready for an interactive and engaging learning experience. This is a generative writing course, where each session includes a mix of reading and writing exercises designed to challenge you, push the boundaries of your imagination, and bring your wildest ideas to life. You’ll be encouraged to be expansive in your approach and strengthen your speculative writing muscles. Optional writing exercises and opportunities for personalized feedback will further support your development between sessions.

Open to beginner and intermediate writers with knowledge of Speculative Fiction.

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:
Jasmine Butler

Jasmine is a Black queer southern writer, political educator, organizer, and Afrofuturist abolitionist, amongst other things. They’re a lover of Black art and Black resistance, and is growing as a movement educator and arts educator. Their nonfiction writing has been featured in HoodCommunist, TransLash, PS, and multiple nonprofit blogs. Their fiction has appeared on Inherited Podcast, Ebony Tomatoes Collective, and Torch Literary. Jasmine also is an Outreach Editor at Apogee Journal where they publish incarcerated writers. See their work at

Course Takeaways

  • Identify key experimental elements that make up strong speculative writing
  • Embrace speculative fiction as a vehicle for answering questions about the real world and the possibilities that abound when variables change
  • Cultivate a creative community around engaged social and creative practices
  • Analyze masterful works of literature for craft notes and experiment with those elements in your own work

Course Expectations

  • Pre-work will be assigned; readings of selected works will be provided
  • Participants are expected to engage with the readings on their own and come to class prepared to discuss
  • We will read pre-work as examples, with an eye toward structure and experimental elements. Participants are never expected to emulate what we read, only to draw inspiration and connect with novel ideas and possibilities
  • This course does not pretend to be apolitical, as much of the speculative writing we'll read will include themes of colonialism, race, gender, and access. This course will be of particular interest to those interested in blending their social and artistic practice more artfully
  • Participants will actively workshop their ideas and drafts, offering and receiving constructive feedback when requested
  • Generative writing exercises will be made available during and between class sessions.

Course Skeleton

  • Week One: Alternate Histories, Classical Retellings, and Righting Our Wrongs - We’ll begin with a deep dive into powerful short stories and excerpts that put a spin on History, classics, or collective knowledge required to produce profound new worlds. Through in-depth discussion and writing time, we’ll create a strong foundation of creative curiosity
  • Week Two: Technology, Ecology, and Utopia - We’ll study short stories that bend the boundaries of how technology and the natural environment interact. You'll have an opportunity to continue building on an idea from week one or start anew with in-class exercises
  • Week Three: Writing New Worlds - In our final session, we will provide generative feedback, collectively build a common lexicon for world-building, and formalize our position as writer-worldbuilders


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.