Why We Started the Podcast

I’m not sure I ever told you folks WHY I decided to do a podcast with

Benjamin Rosenbaum. Ben and I tell one story, about our car ride up to WisCon every year, and the book tour road trip that didn’t happen because of the pandemic, and that’s a true story. But I think that wouldn’t have been enough to push us to podcast, not without the Portolan Project at the SLF.

That project started with the interviews I was doing for the SLF. My original idea was that I’d build out something like Khan Academy, but for creative writing, and I’d start with two kinds of interviews:

a) interviews with master writers, like George R.R. Martin (that was our first one), and those would be short, maybe 15-20 minutes, so it wouldn’t be too onerous for them to do, and so we could create little digestible chunks of writing craft instruction. We’d talk to them about specific things (George, epic fantasy; Paolo Bacigalupi, message fiction; Kate Elliott (world building), etc.

b) more in-depth interviews with up-and-coming writers, often highlighting writers of color, queer writers, women, and other marginalized voices, helping to bring them front and center in the conversation — that why we interviewed Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Vida Cruz, Minal Hajratwala, Nalo Hopkinson, Ajit George and Divya Srinivasan Breed — you can listen to all of those interviews on the SLF site.

But once I started recording, I realized I wanted to talk to other people too.

Scott Woods, for example.

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Listen or read here: http://speculativeliterature.org/…/interviews/scott-woods/

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Scott is a writer himself, certainly, a fabulous poet who also commits fiction, and we could have just spoken about that. But he’s also been central to revitalizing Columbus’s art scene, with a focus on making sure Black writers have their voices heard. It’s similar to the work @L.D. Lewis has been doing with FIYAH (and L.D. is a force of nature, having now also taken over as Grants Administrator for us at the SLF), and that Audrey T. Williams and Jasmine H. Wade have been doing with Ancestral Futures Press. (The two of them joined with Becca Gomez Farrell to create the SLF’s Bay Area chapter, and are already humming with activity.)

So none of that fits neatly into ‘interviewing writers,’ though they are all writers, of course. I want to talk to editors too, and agents, and heck, librarians and teachers and everyone involved in this business of cultural literary production, of shaping the world through the stories we tell. We need diverse futures, and inclusive ones. We need these people to help us imagine the possible, so we can get started building it.

I think it’s so important, to get those stories out there. In many ways, that’s become my life’s work. And talking to Ben about all this is a sheer joy — it makes the important work a pleasure and delight.

If you think that’s worthwhile, I hope you’ll contribute to our little Kickstarter. We need $1500 for pay for the first season’s audio and video editing, and we’re almost at $400 now. If you can spare a dollar or two, we’d love your support.

And if you can support us by liking / commenting / sharing, that’s super-valuable too. (Save me from having to pay Facebook ad money to boost these posts! It’s a little counter-productive when you’re running a fundraiser.)

Thanks, folks!

Join us: https://www.kickstarter.com/…/slf-podcast-mohanraj-and…/

SLF Interviews mentioned above: http://speculativeliterature.org/portolan…/interviews/

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