CY: Convention season—and by extension, awards season—is in full swing! We had a great time participating in the Flights of Foundry convention online, and the Nebula Awards weekend is just around the corner.
AS: As we write this, the shortlist for FIYAHCON’s Ignyte Awards were just announced. One of the things I’m really enjoying about genre awards this year is the fact that the people getting recognized represent a broader range of perspectives and experiences than in years and decades past. There’s room in genre for all kinds of great stories, and we are seeing great stories told by a beautiful array of voices. Christie, you’ve been something of an activist for diversity/inclusion for a while. Your groundbreaking Women Destroy Science Fiction issue, back in 2014, and the issues that came after, created a wave of awareness and action.
CY: And you’ve been doing the same behind the scenes for years! You’ve been an integral part of the push for inclusion at every magazine you’ve contributed to, including our sister magazines, Lightspeed and Nightmare, making sure that we’re aware of the many new, up-and-coming BIPOC authors out there.
AS: I feel like the steps many folks have been taking are beginning to pay off. Each editor, publisher, and market that creates positive change is helping to reshape our culture. Like Fireside and FIYAH running the #BlackSpecFic reports starting in 2015, Uncanny’s Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction, books like Glitter + Ashes and the Dominion anthology. And of course some people have been in this for a long time, like Nalo, Sheree, Nisi, Bill Campbell, and more.
CY: It’s been encouraging to see the many changes that professional organizations are making along those lines as well. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) began waiving membership dues for Black authors last year, and offered scholarships to the annual Nebula Awards weekend for Black writers and Asian diaspora writers through two different initiatives. There is real work that goes into bridging the gap between equality and equity, and I’m so glad that we’re part of this community at a time when that work is being done.
AS: Me too! I feel grateful, actually. I take my role as editor very seriously. I take it as a responsibility, as well as a wonderful opportunity. It blows my mind that we are a part of the cultural fabric of genre. I try to read submissions thoughtfully, keeping all these things in mind. And of course, I’m incredibly proud of the issues we’ve put out so far. Finding work in slush that speaks to you really is a wonderful experience. I can’t wait for readers to see what we have in store!
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In this issue we have original fiction by J.L. Jones (“The Sweetest Source”) and Anya Leigh Josephs (“By Our Own Hands”); flash fiction by Izzy Wasserstein (“Like Birdsong, the Memory of Your Touch”) and P.H. Low (“Disenchantment”); poetry by Louisa Muniz (“Self-Portrait as Wolf”) and Kim Whysall-Hammond (“Visitor”); and an interview with Tasha Suri.
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