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Global Medievalism into Africanfuturism with Nnedi Okorafor, Malik Toms

Date(s): Thursday, October 22, 2020, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location: 
Zoom
Type(s): 
Conversation, Discussion, Talk
Genre and Form(s): African American, Fantasy, Science Fiction, World Literature
Cost: Free

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About this Event

"Africanfuturism is concerned with visions of the future, is interested in technology, leaves the earth, skews optimistic, is centered on and predominantly written by people of African descent (black people) and it is rooted first and foremost in Africa. It's less concerned with "what could have been" and more concerned with "what is and can/will be". It acknowledges, grapples with and carries "what has been"."

—from Nnedi Okorafor's "Africanfuturism Defined"

By engaging the culture, history, and mythology of premodern and contemporary Nigeria, Nnedi Okorafor creates science fiction and fantasy narratives that don't privilege the Western world. Instead, her writing asks, what are the different, more inclusive, futures we can imagine?

Join Nnedi Okorafor and Malik Toms for a conversation on the premodern influences on Okorafor's writing across a variety of media—television, novels, novellas, short stories, graphic novels, and more—at Global Medievalism into Africanfuturism: An Evening with Nnedi Okorafor on Thursday, October 22, 2020 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Zoom.

Presented by the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in partnership with the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University.

About the Author

Photograph of Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American author of Africanfuturism and Africanjujuism for children and adults. Her works include Who Fears Death (in development at HBO into a TV series), the Binti novella trilogy, The Book of Phoenix, the Akata books and Lagoon. She is the winner of Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Locus and Lodestar Awards and her debut novel Zahrah the Windseeker won the prestigious Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature. Her next novel, Ikenga, will be in stores August 2020.

Nnedi has also written comics for Marvel, including Black Panther: Long Live the King and Wakanda Forever (featuring the Dora Milaje) and the Shuri series, an Africanfuturist comic series Laguardia (from Dark Horse) and her short memoir Broken Places and Outer Spaces. Nnedi is also cowriter the adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed with Viola Davis and Kenyan film director Wanuri Kahiu. Nnedi holds a PhD (literature) and two MAs (journalism and literature). She lives with her daughter Anyaugo and family in Illinois.

Malik Toms was born and raised in Harlem, New York, and is a 20+ year veteran of the pen and keyboard. He did his undergraduate work in Sociology at Iowa State University, working as a drug rehabilitation counselor before returning to college to pursue a graduate degree in Creative Writing. He published his first short story at the age 18 after two years of "No thanks." Since then he has worked as a freelance author, which is a bit like being a freelance mercenary minus all the bullets and moral ambiguity. His work has appeared in over thirty publications including multiple anthologies and a stand-alone novella. A graduate of Iowa State’s Creative Writing MFA program, Toms polished his writing skills crafting cyberpunk and steampunk fantasies on the way to multiple Origin and Ennie award nominations including six Ennie wins. Toms also was part of the Shadowrun Returns video game team which won Diehard gameFan’s PC Game of the year in 2013. He is presently hard at work writing his first fantasy thriller. Toms currently lives in Arizona where he is regularly super-smashed by at least one of his three video game obsessed boys. When he isn’t writing, he’s teaching writing and sociology at community colleges throughout the Arizona desert, and maybe watching a lot of TV.