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Narrative Futures

Better narratives for a better future.

An interactive podcast featuring interviews with leading authors and editors in the speculative genre and writing prompts designed to support the imagination of better futures.

Narrative Futures is the capstone podcast project of the Futures Thinking network at TORCH. Devised, recorded and edited by Chelsea Haith, the Narrative Futures podcast features eight interviews with some of the mosts important authors and editors working in the the speculative genre today. At the end of each interview, novelist and creative writing tutor Louis Greenberg presents two writing prompts which are designed to support engaged thought and creative imagination about the interview and the listener's own creative practice in narrative building.

Interviewed on the podcast are Lauren Beukes, Mohale Mashigo, Sami Shah, Mahvesh Murad, Jared Shurin, EJ Swift, Ken Liu, and Tade Thompson. Each interview explores writing strategies, hopes and fears for the future, opinions on genre fiction and tackles questions such as: How do you conceive of and write time? Why is alien invasion a good metaphor for colonialism? What would a benevolent AI look like? What kind of representation is needed in the speculative genre? Are the old stories of future worlds still relevant? How do we integrate the present pandemic into our future imaginaries?

# Episode Title Description People Date
1 Episode 8 - Telling stories: Psychoanalysis and alien invasion Tade Thompson explores alien invasion as a metaphor for colonialism and discusses the importance of psychoanalysis and self-awareness in the building of personal and group identities. Tade Thompson, Chelsea Haith, Louis Greenberg 30 Nov 2020
2 Episode 7 - National myth: Rewriting America and China Ken Liu discusses the power of myth in the construction of national narratives and the revisionist work that epic fantasy can do to rewrite them, drawing on the weight of time as omnipresent to narrative intent. Ken Liu, Chelsea Haith, Louis Greenberg 23 Nov 2020
3 Episode 6 - Climate fiction: Content dictates form EJ Swift describes her deep time speculative approach to climate fiction and the effect of content on form in speculative nested or fragmented narratives. EJ Swift, Chelsea Haith, Louis Greenberg 19 Nov 2020
4 Episode 5 - Kitschies, indies, and ads: Juggling narrative forms Jared Shurin explores his wide-ranging interests from anthologising speculative shorts to the Kitschies Awards to ethical advertising for revisioning global narratives. Jaren Shurin, Chelsea Haith, Louis Greenberg 12 Nov 2020
5 Episode 4: Short stories are short: Edit for meaning Mahvesh Murad discusses the work of curating and editing anthologies of speculative short fiction, ethically, refusing the word 'diversity' for doing too little, too late. Mahvesh Murad, Chelsea Haith, Louis Greenberg 05 Nov 2020
6 Episode 3 - People like me: Speculation in Pakistan Sami Shah ranges over his radio, comedy and burgeoning literary career, and describes how he has to write himself into the speculative fiction space. Sami Shah, Chelsea Haith, Louis Greenberg 23 Oct 2020
7 Episode 2 - Afrofuturism: For who? Mohale Mashigo describes her relationship with time, imagining a future inflected by apartheid, and her controversial Afrofuturism essay. Mohale Mashigo, The Yearning, afrofuturism, apartheid 22 Oct 2020
8 Episode 1 - Pandemic writing: How close is too close? Lauren Beukes discusses the proximity of her recent novel Afterland to the current pandemic and how collective action and art are the only way through these difficult times. Lauren Beukes, Chelsea Haith, Louis Greenberg 14 Oct 2020
9 Narrative Futures Coming Soon The trailer for the Narrative Futures podcast, devised and produced by Chelsea Haith, featuring interviews with eight authors and editors, and writing prompts by Louis Greenberg. Chelsea Haith, Lauren Beukes, Mohale Mashigo, Sami Shah 28 Sep 2020