Ignyte Interview Series 2021: Writing the Other
The Ignyte Community Award celebrates outstanding efforts in service of inclusion and equitable practice in Genre. We’re thrilled to welcome back for their second nomination, Writing the Other. As an organization Writing the Other is an invaluable SFF community resource that includes a textbook, online website, classes, workshops, retreats, and seminars that teach writers how to write characters very different from them sensitively and convincingly. We are honored to once again count Writing the Other among our finalists and have interviewed them here to catch up on whats changed this year. K. Tempest Bradford, Nisi Shawl, and Cynthia Ward spearhead Writing the Other.
How does it feel to be nominated again? What does it mean to you?
Nisi: This second nomination is affirmation that I’m doing the right thing for my community. It means we’re connected!
Tempest: It is THRILLING. It’s always been important to me to spread Nisi and Cynthia’s knowledge as far and wide as possible. And it’s personally fulfilling to see the impact the book and the classes have had on our students and on the conversations around representation in the culture. As Nisi said, it’s a sign we’re doing the right thing for the community!
What have you been doing since we spoke to you last year, just before the awards?
Nisi: I’ve been working on my novel, Kinning, a sequel to Everfair–with very brief interruptions to revise a Middle Grade novel, Speculation, and to write three short stories: “Fourth and Most Important,” “I Being Young and Foolish,” and “2043…A Merman I Should Turn to Be.” “Fourth” is one of my series of stories on The Five Petals of Thought, an imaginary philosophical movement. “Foolish” is a re-envisioning of the European legend of Merlin and Nimue, with the sorceress now an albino traveling from Uganda. “Merman” is a near-future look at how reparations for Black people could actually play out.
Tempest: 10,000 things in all different directions! Other than planning and running classes, I’ve also been working on the edits for my middle grade debut novel coming out next year. And we’re planning to make WtO a non-profit entity, which requires much planning and paperwork.
It’s been 16 years since the book, “Writing the Other” was published. Are there any plans to update it or expand it?
Nisi: We have plans to update it, and to issue a complementary volume. But everyone is so busy!
Tempest: This is the biggest problem we face as a group! Finding the time to do everything we need and want to do. It’s definitely in the works.
Any upcoming events that you’d like to promote?
Tempest and I are doing a host of Writing the Other-derived classes and retreats, which folks can explore at writingtheother.com.
Anything else that you’d like to share?
Nisi: You are all fantastic! Keep on keepin on!
Tempest: We’re so honored by these nominations and the support from the community and our students. Y’all are the best!
You can read more about Writing the Other in our interview with them last year, posted here.