Free Writes & Free Workshops
“Utopia or dystopia is up to us,” says Jeanette Winterson, while Ted Chiang maintains, “Science fiction is about using speculative scenarios as a lens to examine the human condition.” Yet, how exactly does speculative fiction (particularly the sub-genre of climate fiction or cli-fi) allow the writer to explore the human condition, if it’s not even real? Join me as we closely read and discuss excerpts from the speculative short fiction of Ken Liu, Ted Chiang, Aliette de Bodard and others. Together, we will analyse and discover elements of the human condition that drive and deepen their ‘what if’ stories, making them not only almost universal but also memorable for their readers. We will write our own ‘what if’ speculative/ cli-fi scenarios that delve deep into our most urgent concerns about human nature: why are we here, what are we here to do, and how much can we do? We will also share and support each other in our writing. After all, if not now, then when…?
Sofia Mariah Ma is a Singaporean writer. She was the Regional winner for Asia for the 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, and placed second in the 2021 Golden Point Award—Short Story Category. She holds an MA in English Literature examining the works of Kazuo Ishiguro and his experimentations with genre, and will be embarking on her PhD in Creative Writing next year. She was recently involved in the Singapore Writers Festival 2022 as a panellist, presenting her new climate fiction that will be published in an anthology next year. Currently, she is working on a young adult novel inspired by her Javanese origins. More about her can be found athttps://sofiamariahma.com.
Fleda Brown’s tenth collection of poems, Flying Through a Hole in the Storm (2021) won the Hollis Summers Prize from Ohio University Press and is an Indie finalist. Earlier poems can be found in The Woods Are On Fire: New & Selected Poems, chosen by Ted Kooser for his University of Nebraska series, 2017. Her work has appeared three times in The Best American Poetry and has won a Pushcart Prize, the Felix Pollak Prize, the Philip Levine Prize, and the Great Lakes Colleges New Writer’s Award, and has twice been a finalist for the National Poetry Series. Her new memoir is Mortality, with Friends (Wayne State University Press, and MIPA finalist, and Midwest Book Award winner in memoir). She is professor emerita at the University of Delaware and was poet laureate of Delaware from 2001-07.