Women in the Black Fantastic

deadline for submissions: 
August 2, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Science Fiction Foundation

Following the success of our conference in 2022, the SFF will be organising a further two-day online event in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University on 7-8 December 2024.

The theme of the conference will be Women in the Black Fantastic and will mark the 40th anniversary of Octavia E. Butler winning both the Hugo Award for Best Short Story and the Nebula Award for Best Novelette.

Keynote Speakers: Nyasha Mugavazi and Elizabeth Ebony Thomas

In the past decade, and especially since the posthumous success of Parable of the Sower (1993), Butler has become a pillar of contemporary science fiction and fantasy. She has been joined by such authors as Malorie Blackman, Nalo Hopkinson, N.K. Jemisin, Nnedi Okorafor, Nisi Shawl and Rivers Solomon. But, under the umbrella of such movements as Afrofuturism, Africanfuturism and Indigenous Futurisms, Black female creators have been innovating speculative fiction in a variety of other media – film, music, comic books and the visual arts. Over the weekend, we want to celebrate the achievements of women working in, what Ekow Eshun has dubbed, ‘the Black fantastic’, and to look critically at the challenges that they face.

We invite 20-minute papers on topics that may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • The legacy of Octavia E. Butler
  • The short story and the short fiction anthology
  • Race and literary awards
  • Utopia and dystopia
  • Speculative fiction and postcolonial theory
  • Hybridity, abjection, borders and the human body
  • The Black cyborg
  • Black sf and YA fiction
  • Gender, sexuality and non-heteronormative identities
  • Race and climate change fiction
  • Migration, exile and displacement
  • Alternate history and time travel
  • Sf and the African Diaspora
  • Legacies of empire and the slave trade
  • Black sf and Astrofuturism
  • The role of editors, publishers and agents

Proposals of up to 250 words with a bionote of 50 words should be sent to Dr Paul March-Russell at paulmarchrussell@gmail.com by 2 August 2024. We also welcome suggestions of panels. A selection of the papers will be published in Foundation in 2025. All proceeds from the conference will help support the Maureen K. Speller Travel Fund for independent scholars.