In the last three months I’ve done a few video readings, interviews, and podcasts either supporting literary nonprofits or discussing pandemic-related literary issues. Here’s a sample.
Fight For Our Lives
Ruth Joffre at Fight For Our Lives asked me to contribute a video reading in support of a mission-driven nonprofit organisation of my choice. “Fight for Our Lives is a performance series advocating for communities targeted by divisive politics and systemic oppression (queer, trans, incarcerated, migrants, womxn, people of colour). By showcasing local artists, writers, and performers, this series also connects nonprofit opportunities to audiences and artists across the Puget Sound area. Fight for Our Lives is grassroots-led and time-limited until January 20, 2021—Inauguration Day.”
I chose to read a short story, “Glimmer“—which I realised as I looked it over before reading is less a short story than a science-fictional prose poem about hope is a kind of prose-poem about hope—in support of Clarion West. “Clarion West supports emerging and underrepresented voices by providing writers with world-class instruction to empower their creation of wild and amazing worlds.” Through conversation and public engagement, they bring those voices to an ever-expanding community. Over the years CW has done an excellent job of improving their outreach to and support for women and BIPOC and queer folk. For years I’ve been agitating publicly and behind the scenes for CW to make their prestigious 6-week summer workshop open and accessible to disabled writers—and now it is finally happening! Yay! I’m thrilled and delighted—and determined to help raise the money to make it possible. Hence this video. If you, too, want to help make it possible for disabled writers to attend the best SFF writing workshop in the world, please go give something, anything, to the general fund.
Once the reality of the pandemic set it, many people rediscovered my first novel, Ammonite—which is set on a planet many generations after a first-wave pandemic utterly transformed the world, and simultaneously five years after a second-wave pandemic. In my book, no one turned to cannibalism or weird religions but just tried to do their best in circumstances no one could have anticipated. VICE News did a segment in which me and Marc Forster (World War Z), Peng Shepherd (The Book of M), Nicole Kassell (The Leftovers), Scott Z Burns (Contagion) and Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend) talk about the difference between fictional pandemics and real ones.
King County Library System
I was scheduled to be part of the King County Library Foundation’s big spring fundraiser this March. This was cancelled for obvious reasons. Instead I did a video reading, which includes a paean to libraries and a very short, heavily-edited reading from Ammonite. I’m having trouble embedding the video, but here is a link to the KCLS Facebook page:
Link to video on KCLS FB Page.
I’m sorry to say this is not captioned. Also the sound and video are bizarrely out of sync (it was recorded over Zoom). If I have time in the next week or so I’ll download the video and try to fix the synchronisation and add captions. Meanwhile, here’s a draft of what i meant to say to stand in for a transcript until I have time:
Link to transcript: KCLS
Coode Street: 10 Minutes With…
Here I have a lovely 15-minute chat with Gary Wolfe for a new series related to the Coode St podcast he and Jonathan Strahan have been doing for years. Want to know what I think Sigrid Undset and Joss Whedon have in common? What is so brilliant about Butler’s treatment of oppression in Kindred? Or what my brand new, secret and sudden and short now book is about, and why I’m am just beside myself with anticipation, bursting for people to read it? Then have a listen:
Or go directly to the podcast with all the lovely info about the books we talked about: Episode 442: Ten minutes with Nicola Griffith
This is old-fashioned text, a long read by Brian Merchant, “Reading the Blueprints for Our Future After the Virus: Works from the Bible to ‘Epidemics and Society’ to ‘The Age of Surveillance Capitalism’ help predict our post-pandemic future.” Merchant looks at ways in which writers from Albert Camus to Connie Willis, Ling Ma to Mary Shelley, Shoshana Zuboff to Stephen King, and Rebecca Solnit to me have approached post-catastrophe, how we monitor our changes, heed the warnings of the past, and build transparent, accountable, and democratic structures to weather the chaos.
For now, it has invaded us, and we are responding. It’s all we can do. After all, as Nicola Griffith said, “Viruses are integral to the existence of the human organism; viruses are a major driving force in human evolution at the cellular level. Viruses make us who we are. And we are constantly changing.”
There are other things but honestly I haven’t kept track of everything, and some of them are less interesting. So this will do for now.