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Workshop: Writing Speculative Fiction with Erin Roberts
Workshop: Writing Speculative Fiction with Erin Roberts

Thu, Oct 20



Workshop: Writing Speculative Fiction with Erin Roberts

Time & Location

Oct 20, 2022, 6:00 PM CDT

Vuka, 5540 N Lamar Blvd #39, Austin, TX 78756, USA

About the event

Description: From the work of Octavia Butler to the books of NK Jemisin and folk tales to afrofuturism, speculative fiction is about imagination, but it is also about truth. Fantasy, science fiction, and horror give us the tools to explore the world we know by creating stories in the times, places, and frameworks we choose to explore. Whether you’re interested in writing about a distant post-apocalyptic dystopia, a future that’s 20 minutes away, impossible magic, supernatural threats, or something we’ve all yet to imagine, speculative fiction writing gives you the opportunity to tell stories that are an escape from reality, a reflection of it, or both.

In this workshop, we’ll explore some of the key elements of speculative fiction by collaboratively creating new worlds (or new takes on this one), diving into some of the characters, plots, and themes they inspire, and writing short pieces of fiction that begin to bring them to life. Along the way, we’ll explore many of the tools in the writer’s toolbox, from creating character depth to building story movement, and how they can be used within a speculative fiction story.

Registration: To fulfill TORCH's mission, workshops are open to participants who identify as Black women and women of color. Email contact @ with the subject line "Writing Speculative Fiction" to register. The deadline to register is Oct. 14th.

Max Participants: 10

Cost: Free

Erin Roberts is a speculative fiction and game writer and a Provost’s Early Career Fellow in the English Department at UT-Austin. She primarily writes about worlds that don’t yet (quite) exist – visions of the almost future, sideways glimpses into magic realms, quick trips into the land of the horrifyingly possible. She is also fascinated by people who embody one of my favorite Sondheim lyrics: nice is different than good.

On the gaming and interactive side of things, Erin freelance writes for tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs), including the up-and-coming Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel for Dungeons & Dragons, which includes both an adventure and a new location created as my homage/love letter to the Black experience in the US South, write scripts for long-form audio narrative exergame Zombies, Run!, and create interactive fiction pieces, including a recent piece for the IF anthology Strange Lusts where you get the chance to relive all your MadLibs glory as a sexchat bot trying to pass the Turing test through speed dating.

Erin is a graduate of the Odyssey Writers Workshop and holds an MFA from the University of Southern Maine. She has received the Speculative Literature Foundation’s 2017 Diverse Worlds Grant and Diverse Writers Grant and a 2019 Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, and was one of the Carl Brandon scholars for the 2018 Writing Excuses cruise, and is a 2022 Hedgebrook Writer-in-Residence. Her story “Sour Milk Girls,” was included in the Best Science Fiction of the Year, vol. 4, The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2019, and the Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2019.

Torch Literary Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit established to publish and promote creative writing by Black women. We publish contemporary writing by experienced and emerging writers alike. TORCH has featured work by Toi Derricotte, Tayari Jones, Sharon Bridgforth, Crystal Wilkinson, Patricia Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Elizabeth Alexander, and others. Programs include the Wildfire Reading Series, writing workshops, and retreats.

Help TORCH continue to publish and promote Black women writers by donating today.

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