Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
NK Jemisin has made history a few times already. In 2016 she became the first Black American writer to win a Hugo Award, science fiction’s most prestigious prize, for her novel The Fifth Season. She did it again in 2017 and 2018, when wins for each subsequent installment in her Broken Earth series made her the first author to win a Hugo for every novel in a trilogy. Praised for her inventive stories that weave fantastical elements with modern themes of oppression, and cultural and racial conflict, Jemisin has been rightly described as the “most celebrated science fiction and fantasy writer of her generation.” Her intricately built, epic worlds often imagine radically different futures from those most commonly associated with a genre historically dominated by white men, some of whom have become famous for stories which evince disturbingly racist streaks.
Next Tuesday (June 16), Jemisin will join comedian W. Kamau Bell for a discussion of sci-fi, Afrofuturism, and her most recent novel, The City We Became, presented by the New York Public Library. The novel, which brings her unique brand of speculative fiction a little closer to earth, is set in a version of New York City where the future is threatened by an ancient evil that seeks to divide and destroy its community by capitalizing on its differences (sound familiar?). The City We Became imagines cities as living, sentient organisms that take shape as individual human avatars. New York and its five boroughs are embodied as mainly Black and brown folks (Staten Island and the nefarious Enemy that threatens the city are not insignificantly imagined as white women).
At a moment when New York City is slowly beginning to reopen amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, while simultaneously considering numerous pieces of legislation that could combat pervasive police brutality against Black people, Jemisin’s POC-centered speculations about the future of this city feel especially timely.
Where: Online, via NYPL
When: June 16, 8–9pm EDT
See the NYPL event page for more information.
Note: Jemisin’s 2015 book, The Fifth Season, is available as a free ebook for NYPL library card holders via its e-reader app SimplyE.
Art by Athena LaTocha, Wendy Red Star, Marianne Nicolson, Anita Fields, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith & Neal Ambrose-Smith, and more is on view through January 2022.
Unless you were already familiar with Bey’s documentary work, the horror he refers to might not be recognizable to you.
The intention behind the seemingly bizarre combination was, according to Attie, “to give visual form to the shared American and Brazilian reality of nationalistic divisions that defines our political present.”
Nowhere in the museums’ advertising blitzkrieg for the performance were we told to bring our wildfire-season masks as well as our covid masks, and covid masks don’t prevent smoke inhalation.
View work by over 40 experimental artists and collectives from throughout the Americas who contributed to New York’s art scene during the 1960s and ’70s.
Several members of the 2021 cohort identify as artists and storytellers, utilizing the power that art and narrative have on changing ideas of power.
Made possible by a donation from Amazon stakeholder MacKenzie Scott, the award is the single largest in the Bedstuy-based organization’s history.
A donation of two hundred works includes Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Mapplethorpe, Keith Haring, and Donald Baechler.