Nisi Shawl

Author and editor Nisi Shawl is best known for fiction dealing with gender, race, and colonialism, including the 2016 Nebula Award finalist Everfair, an alternate history of Africa’s Congo region. They’re the co-author of Writing the Other: A Practical Approach, a standard text teaching techniques for inclusive representation in fiction, and a co-founder of the Carl Brandon Society, an inclusivity-focused nonprofit. They’re also a critic and essayist, with work appearing in “Ms. Magazine,” the “Washington Post,” “Uncanny Magazine,” and as the introduction to a volume of the Library of America. They have spoken at Duke University, Spelman College, Sarah Lawrence College, and elsewhere.

Nebula Award Finalist

Shawl has edited and co-edited anthologies including Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler; Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany; and New Suns: Speculative Fiction by People of Color. Their collection Filter House is a co-winner of the Otherwise Award, formerly the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. Additional awards include the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award, the World Fantasy Award, two Locus Awards, and an inaugural 2020 FIYAH Magazine Ignyte Award. They’ve served for over two decades on the board of the Clarion West Writers Workshop.

Read: Nisi’s essay, “A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction.”


Building Inclusive Fictional Histories
Friday, February 11th | 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Though stories of the past can be fascinating, marginalized voices may be excluded from their best known versions. Learn how your alternative histories can fully represent the world’s authentic diversity along the axes of race, age, ability, and other identity categories. Sharing practices drawn from the experience of creating the AfroRetroFuturist Utopia described in Everfair and related sequels, Shawl offers tips for research, and ways to map out the intersections and implications of your authorial choices. Discussions and in-class exercises will help you make the most of this focused, hands-on workshop.